Flip on Costa shortlist

Apart from the fact that Mark Lawson, on Radio 4’s Front Row, referred to my novel as Flip-Flip, I couldn’t be more chuffed that Flip has made it on to the shortlist for the 2011 Costa Book Awards. I grumbled to my wife about his slip-up and, not unreasonably, she said: “You got a mention on Radio 4 for bleep’s sake!”

I’m especially pleased with the judges’ comments: “Flip swept us all along. Thanks to Martyn Bedford’s masterly balance of tension and wit, this unique fusion of the surreal and the everyday proved utterly convincing.”

I haven’t read the other three titles shortlisted in the children’s books category – The Unforgotten Coat, by fellow Walker author Frank Cottrell Boyce; Small Change for Stuart, by Lissa Evans; and Blood Red Road, by Moira Young – but I aim to read them all before the announcement of the winner on January 4th. Blood Red Road comes highly recommended by a couple of writer friends and, from the blurb, sounds right up my street.

Given that only one children’s book (The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman) has won the overall Costa prize in the 26 years since it was awarded, I don’t imagine any of us harbour realistic notions of challenging the likes of Julian Barnes, Claire Tomalin, Carol Ann Duffy and Sean O’Brien for Book of the Year! But, as a teen/YA debutant, it’s great just to see Flip mixing in that kind of company.

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