Costa Book Awards: Monique Roffey wins for ‘classic in the making’ novel Mermaid of Black Conch

Jacob Stolworthy
·1-min read
 (Marcus Bastel)
(Marcus Bastel)

The winner at this year’s Costa Book Awards has been announced.

Writer and memoirist Monique Roffey has been named the recipient of the £30,000 prize for her sixth novel, The Mermaid of Black Conch.

The book, based on a Taino legend, follows the dark love story between a fisherman and a mermaid from sea.

Judges described it as “a classic in the making” and hailed Roffey as “a writer at the height of her powers”.

Roffey beat the bookie’s favourite – Lee Lawrence for his memoir The Louder I Will Sing: A story of racism, riots and redemption.

The author said she was “delighted” and “proud” to win, adding: “This prestigious prize is a vote for so many things: Caribbean literature, experimental form, magical realism, independent presses, and of course, mermaids.

“A huge thank you to the judges for exposing my book to a wide readership. I’ll be pinching myself for weeks to come.”

Screenwriter and director Tessa Sheridan won the 2020 Costa Short Story Award, which was decided by a public vote. She has received £3,500 for her story, The Person Who Serves, Serves Again.

The winners were announced during a virtual ceremony hosted by Penny Smith.

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