The five category winners of the annual Whitbread Book Awards have been announced for 2004, cranking up the publicity ahead of the brewing company's headline award, the Whitbread Book of the Year, which will be announced on January 25th.
The Whitbread Book Awards are divided into five categories, with the winners of each receiving a prize of £5,000. The categories are: Best Novel; First Novel; Children's Fiction; Biography; and Poetry. The winner of each category also goes forward to the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, which carries prize money of £25,000.
The winner of the 2004 Whitbread Best Novel Award was Andrea Levy for 'Small Island'. This book also won the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction and is hotly tipped to win the overall Whitbread Book of the Year Award. The Whitbread Children's Fiction Award was won for the third time by Geraldine McCaughrean, this time for 'Not the End of the World'. The best First Novel Award went to Susan Fletcher for Eve Green, while in the biography category the prize went to John Guy for his 'The Life of Mary Queen of Scots'. In the poetry section the winner was Michael Symmons Roberts for his fourth collection of poems.
The Whitbread Book Awards were launched in 1971 and have established themselves as one of the UK's premier book awards. By dividing the awards into two announcements - the category winners, and then the overall Book of the Year winner - they ensure maximum coverage and publicity for these awards. So for long service, and clever scheduling ... we salute the Whitbread Book Awards!