Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree has become just the second children’s novel in half a century to win the prestigious Costa Book of the Year.
The Lie Tree, Hardinge’s seventh novel, tells the story of Faith Sunderly whose family have left England for a remote island to escape a scandal.
When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she sets out to uncover the truth and discovers a strange tree that feeds off whispered lies.
James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical, this is a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension.”
Receiving the award, Hardinge said: “It is a fantastic time to be writing children’s fiction and YA fiction.
“For those people who might be hearing this who think that children’s and YA fiction is not their thing please do come and explore – there’s a beautiful jungle out there.”
2015 COSTA CATEGORY AWARD WINNERS
Costa Book of the Year: Frances Hardinge – The Lie Tree
Costa First Novel Award: Andrew Michael Hurley – The Loney
Costa Novel Award: Kate Atkinson – A God in Ruins
Costa Biography Award: Andrea Wulf – The Invention of Nature
Costa Poetry Award: Don Paterson – 40 Sonnets
Costa Children’s Book Award: Frances Hardinge – The Lie Tree
The Costa prize honours outstanding books by authors based in the UK and Ireland and was previously known as the Whitbread award.
Last year’s Costa book of the year went to Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk.
by Frances Hardinge
Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree.
The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.
The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community.
But as the tree bears more and more fruit, she discovers something terrifying – that her lies were closer to the truth than she could ever have imagined…
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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