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02 October 2023

Children's book about Zimbabwe among Costa winners

By Reuters

A children's story about a British boy who encounters racism and bullying in the classroom after emigrating to Zimbabwe in the early 1980s was among the Costa Book Award winners announced on Tuesday.

"Out of Shadows," set during Robert Mugabe's early years in power, is Jason Wallace's first novel, and is based in part on his own experiences as a child when he moved to Zimbabwe with his family at the age of 12.

"For us, this extraordinary debut novel was a unanimous winner," the panel of judges said in a statement. "This compelling portrayal of a nation in crisis gripped us from start to finish and has stayed with us since."

Out of Shadows was one of five category winners at the annual book awards, which honor writers based in the UK and Ireland.

Each category winner receives 5,000 pounds ($8,000) and has a chance to claim the overall Costa Book of the Year Award worth a further 30,000 pounds. It will be announced in London on January 25.

Kishwar Desai picked up the first novel award for "Witness the Night," centering around social worker Simran Singh's investigation into the murders of 13 people.

The judges praised Desai for having "fearlessly blown the lid on the problems that simmer under the surface of modern-day India."

Following is the list of 2010 Costa Book Award category winners:

- Costa Novel Award: The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell

- Costa First Novel Award: Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai

- Costa Biography Award: The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal

- Costa Poetry Award: Of Mutability by Jo Shapcott

- Costa Children's Book Award: Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace.