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Victoria Kennefick Shortlisted for Costa Poetry Award

Wednesday, 24 Nov 2021

Shortlisted books for Costa Award in a pile We're overjoyed to share the news that Victoria Kennefick has been shortlisted for the 2021 Costa Poetry Award with her debut collection Eat or We Both Starve! The judges (Rishi Dastidar, Ian Duhig and Maya Jaggi) said the collection is “Harrowing and hilarious, this book explores all aspects of the body in language that is both visceral and vivid.”

Judges on this year’s panels included the authors, novelists and writers Burton, Andrew Wilson and Smriti Halls; novelist, memoirist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo; journalists including Shaffi; poets Rishi Dastidar and Ian Duhig; podcaster Manveen Rana; and booksellers from Waterstones, Blackwell’s, The Book Hive and The Little Ripon Bookshop.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on 4th January 2022. The overall winner of the 2021 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and will be announced at a ceremony on 1st February 2022. The winner of the Costa Short Story Award, voted for by the public, will also be announced at February’s ceremony. The three shortlisted stories for the Costa Short Story Award, now in its 10th year, will be revealed on the Costa Book Awards website.

Jill McDonald, c.e.o. of Costa Coffee, said: “We are delighted to celebrate these 20 brilliant books as we mark a milestone 50th anniversary year for both Costa Coffee and the Costa Book Awards. My thanks to the judges for putting together such outstanding lists – there’s so much here for readers to explore, enjoy, recommend and share – and my congratulations to all of this year’s shortlisted authors.”

This year's Costa Book Awards shortlists were announced last evening (19.30, Tuesday November 23rd) on BBC Radio 4 Front Row. You can listen here, from 18:25. The news was also announced in The Bookseller, BookBrunch, and Ireland's RTE Radio 1 included the news here.
Cover image of Eat or We Both Starve by Victoria Kennefick Victoria Kennefick's daring first book, Eat or We Both Starve, draws readers into seemingly recognisable set-pieces - the family home, the shared meal, the rituals of historical occasions, desire - but Kennefick forges this material into new shapes, making them viable again for exploring what it is to live with the past - and not to be consumed by it.

Rebecca Goss writes: 'Victoria Kennefick writes with a fresh urgency, giving us poems that are honest and fearless. She once said: "Poetry has saved my life, made my life. Reading and writing it have taught me bravery and discipline." Kennefick is unafraid to explore bereavement, sex and the female body in her poetry. She writes with a visceral originality. Her poems are rich with physical sensations. She is able to find beauty in the big subjects like sorrow and desire, offering us the finest, most startling details. Her identity as a young Irish woman is hugely important to her, something she explores with intelligence and candour. I have always felt there is nothing Victoria could not tackle. The scope in her work is exhilarating.'

The book is also currently shortlisted for the 2021 T.S. Eliot Prize. You can buy a copy here

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