Hannah Lowe wins 2021 Costa Book of the Year for The Kids
‘Hannah Lowe’s The Kids is a book to fall in love with - it’s joyous, it’s warm and it’s completely universal. It’s crafted and skilful but also accessible... You will love it!’ - Reeta Chakrabarti, Chair of Judges, 2021 Costa Book of the Year
Hannah Lowe's third collection The Kids, a book of sonnets about teaching, learning, growing up and parenthood, has won the 2021 Costa Book of the Year. The announcement was made at an in person and live-streamed ceremony at Pan Pacific London on 1 February 2022. All five Costa category winners were in contention for the £30,000 Book of the Year Award.
This is the second time that Bloodaxe Books has won the overall prize. Four years ago the 2017 Costa Book of the Year was awarded posthumously to Helen Dunmore for her final collection Inside the Wave. The Costa/Whitbread Book of the Year has now been awarded to the poetry category winner nine times in 37 years – seven times by a Faber poet, and now twice by Bloodaxe poets.
The judges for the 2021 Costa Poetry Award were Rishi Dastidar, Ian Duhig and Maya Jaggi. They commented:
'The Kids is the real deal. A page turner about the experience of teaching and being taught, it made us want to punch the air with joy... A contemporary book that buzzes with life while re-energising the sonnet that Shakespeare would recognise. All readers will find something of themselves here.'
Hannah Lowe's third collection The Kids was published by Bloodaxe in September 2021. It won the 2021 Costa Poetry Award and went on to be named overall Costa Book of the Year. It was the Poetry Book Society's Choice for Autumn 2021 and was shortlisted for the 2021 T S Eliot Prize. Hannah has been published by Bloodaxe since her debut collection Chick (2014), winner of the 2015 Michael Murphy Prize.
Hannah taught for a decade in an inner-city London sixth form. At the heart of this book of compassionate and energetic sonnets are fictionalised portraits of ‘The Kids’, the students she nurtured. But the poems go further, meeting her own child self as she comes of age in the riotous 80s and 90s, later bearing witness to her small son learning to negotiate contemporary London. Across these deeply felt poems, Lowe interrogates the acts of teaching and learning with empathy and humour.
Full details of the category winners and shortlisted titles are on the Costa Book Awards website here.
Due to high demand following the Costa Book of the Year announcement, The Kids was reprinted again - copies now in stock at Bloodaxe.
Hannah Lowe talks about The Kids before the announcement of Costa Book of the Year
Hannah Lowe was filmed for Costa Book Awards talking about her collection The Kids, winner of the Costa Poetry Award, before the announcement that it had been named 2021 Costa Book of the Year. This film was shown at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on 1 February.
Highlights from the Costa Book Awards Ceremony held in London on 1 February 2022
Scroll down to see a video of the full ceremony, which includes Hannah Lowe's acceptance speech.
Hannah was interviewed live from the Costa Book Awards ceremony on BBC Radio 4's Front Row on 1 February 2022. She spoke to Samira Ahmed about her response to winning the overall Costa Book of the Year. Listen here (Hannah features from 18:48)
Hannah was interviewed on Times Radio for a second time on 1 February, having previously been on the programme after winning the Costa Poetry Award on 4 January. Hannah was speaking to Phil Williams down the line from the Costa Book Awards. Natalie Jamieson (co-host of the Bestsellers podcast) introduced Hannah with a review of The Kids. Both Natalie and Phil read sonnets from the book. Listen here (from 01:05:35).
Hannah was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's The Today Programme on 2 February. Listen here (Hannah spoke to Mishal Husain from 2:21:38)
TV interview with Hannah on the BBC News Channel's News at 9 on 2 February. She was talking to Victoria Derbyshire. No longer available to watch.
Hannah Lowe was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland’s The Afternoon Show on 2 February. She was speaking to presenter Janice Forsyth about the sonnet, her mixed race background and her connections to Scotland. Hannah featured from 1.40pm. Listen here.
An interview with Hannah Lowe went out live on BBC One’s regional television evening news programme BBC London on 2 February. Watch here (London region only). Hannah was interviewed at 6.40pm
Report by Alison Flood in The Guardian here. ‘Uplifting’ book of sonnets by Hannah Lowe wins Costa book of the year. An interview with Hannah ran in the news pages of the The Guardian on 5 February. Online now here. The piece links to Mary Jean Chan's earier review of The Kids in The Guardian.
Hannah was interviewed for a feature piece on the BBC News website here.
News feature in The Bookseller. Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley contributed to this piece. Read here.
Costa Book Awards ceremony, London, 1 February 2022 (with films featuring all five category winners)
Hannah was interviewed on Times Radio on 4 January 2022 following the announcement that her third collection The Kids had won the Costa Poetry Award. She spoke to Darryl Morris (standing in for Phil Williams) and Natalie Jamieson (co-host of the Bestsellers podcast) about her response to winning this prestigious award, and about her time spent teaching in an inner-city London sixth form college. She read her poem ‘The Art of Teaching II’. Listen here (from 1:07:10)
All five category winners of the Costa Book Awards were reviewed on Louise Savidge Muses ahead of the announcement of the winner of the overall Costa Book of the Year on 1 February. Vlogger (and teacher) Louise Savidge spoke very warmly about The Kids, winner of the poetry category. The Kids is discussed from 4:37. Watch here.
‘It’s a really human and for me very realistic and honest portrayal of the importance and the complexity of our relationship with education throughout our lives... a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting read.’ – Louise Savidge, LouiseSavidgeMuses, on The Kids
Details of forthcoming readings and videos of recent events with Hannah Lowe are here.
[01 February 2022]