Described as ‘utterly magnificent’ by the judges, Atkinson’s award makes her the first author to win a Costa category prize three times. Her debut novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the First Novel prize and then went on to win the overall Book of the Year prize back in 1995 when it was known as the Whitbread Prize.
A God in Ruins beat off competition from a shortlist including Anne Enright's The Green Road, Patrick Gale's A Place Called Winter and Melissa Harrison's At Hawthorn Time and will now go forward to compete for the overall Costa book of the year prize, which Kate won in 1995.
The book will be up against fellow winners, Andrew Michael Hurley, whose gothic debut, The Loney, took the first novel prize, biography award winner Andrea Wulf's The Invention of Nature, poetry prize winner Don Paterson's 40 Sonnets and Frances Hardinge, who took the children’s award for her Victorian murder mystery, The Lie Tree.
Judges chaired by James Heneage and including Katy Brand, Janet Ellis, Matt Haig and Jane Asher will announce their winner on 26 January.