Nathan Filer wins 2013 Costa Book of the Year

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Wednesday 29th January 2014

Nathan FilerNathan Filer pulled off an amazing feat last night by winning the 2013 Costa Book of the Year prize with his very first novel.

The Shock of the Fall, is, as I said in my recent Daily Express review, an “extraordinary” book. It describes teenager Matthew’s guilt about his older brother’s death and his own descent into madness. The story is told in the first person and is poignant, funny and harrowing – often all at once.

Novelist Rose Tremain, chair of the final Costa judging panel, was unequivocal in her praise for Filer’s writing.

“This book stood out in a very good list,” she said. “The voice in which the author has chosen to tell the story is perfectly aligned with the subject matter and very well sustained to the end.

“The book is exceptionally moving without being sentimental – we’re very much hoping there will be more from this writer.”

Filer, who lectures in creative writing at Bath Spa University as well as working as a mental health nurse and performance poet, is only the fifth debut novelist to scoop the overall Costa prize. Ironically a previous writer to achieve this was Kate Atkinson, who won the Costa in 1995 with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and whose latest book, Life After Life, was shortlisted for last night’s award.

If I’m honest, I was rooting for Kate Atkinson to win. I adore her novels and Life After Life, set against the backdrop of some of the 20th century’s most turbulent events, is stylish, inventive and beautifully written.

But if you haven’t read Nathan Filer’s book yet it’s a must-read. He’s a quite unique writer and as well as being “enjoyable,” one of the Costa Book Award’s key criteria, The Shock of the Fall is engaging and thought provoking too.

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (The Borough Press, £7.99)

PS. Nathan Filer wrote the first draft of The Shock of the Fall while he was doing an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa – proof yet again that creative writing courses really do work!

4 comments so far

  • Oh, decisions, decision, which would I have picked….. Right now I’d go for The Shock of the Fall, but probably because I’ve read it in the last couple of weeks and read Life After Life ages ago. Ask me in a couple of years, and I’ll see which has stood the test of time 🙂

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