The debut novel of the former male nurse Nathan FilerThe Shock of the Fall was named the British Book of the Year, it is about the attempt of a teenager in dealing with the death of an older brother and his slow descent into madness.

It is partly inspired by the authors own experience in working with patients at a mental care ward, Filers novel about loss, the sense of guilt and mental illness has been graded as “surprisingly well based” for a debut novel, Rose Tremain, the president of the judges, stated at the formal announcement of the winner of the award Costa Book of the Year on Tuesday night in London.

The novel follows the experience of a 19 year old Matthewa Holmes, haunted by the memory of the death of a brother. “It is not just a novel about Schizophrenia, it is a novel about sadness” Tremain said.

Nathan Filer, a former male nurse and now an author and professor of creative writing at the University of Bath Spa, won a monetary award of 30 thousand pounds, and the publishing rights for the book were soon bought by the publishers HarperCollins for a six figure paycheck, so the book should be available in 12 countries soon.

Receiving this award, visibly shocked, Filer thanked the jury and his wife Emily, with whom he is married since last week.

Tough competition

His novel won the Costa Book of the Year award in a very competitive environment where he faced the popular author Kate Atkinson, her novel ‘Life After Life‘ – a story about never ending resurrection – which was the clear favorite.

Also, in the competition you could see Lucy Hughes-Hallet with a biographical book about the life of the Italian poet Gabriel D’Annunzia ‘The Pike‘, the poet Michael Symmons Roberts with his sixth collection of poems ‘Drysalter‘, and the author, illustrator and caricaturist Chris Riddel with his children’s book ‘Goth Girl And The Ghost Of A Mouse‘.

Tremain admitted that the decision of the judges was not unanimous, stating that there “was no bad blood”. “That book stands out in very good competition. The voice the author uses to tell the story perfectly blends with the theme and is greatly preserved to the very end. The book is very striking and it is not sentimental“, said Tremain, adding that she has high hopes for this author in the future.

About Costa award

Since the category Book of the year has been introduced in 1985, ‘The Shock of the Fall‘ is the fifth debut novel who won that prize. Eleven times it was handed to a novel, five times each to poetry collections and biographies, and only one time to a children’s book.

The literary award Costa, once the Whitbread award, is handed to authors in Great Britain and Ireland and is one of the most prestigious and popular British book awards. It is unique because of the fact that it equally acknowledges achievements in the field of children’s as well as adults literature.

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By Milan Budimkic

Milan Budimkic is a passionate blogger with special affection for traveling, books and sport. He enjoys sharing his tips on these topics. Currently he is helping Chandeliers Depot in filling their site with writing content.