Bath Spa University lecturer wins Costa Book of the Year Award

By Anita Jaynes on 17 March, 2014

Bath Spa University Creative Writing graduate and lecturer has won the 2013 Costa Book of the Year Award for his novel The Shock of the Fall.

Nathan was named winner of the £30,000 prize at an award ceremony in London on 28 January.

Nathan beat best-selling novelist Kate Atkinson, whose novel Life After Life was the bookmakers’ favourite to win the overall prize. He is only the fifth winner of the first novel category since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985 to beat the other four categories (novel, biography, children’s and poetry) and take the overall prize.

Nathan graduated from the MA in Creative Writing course at Bath Spa in 2010 and is a registered mental health nurse. The Shock of the Fall is Nathan’s debut novel and was published in May 2013 by Harper Collins.

The book is an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness after witnessing his brother’s death in a holiday park in Dorset. It is a brave and ground-breaking novel and Nathan has been acclaimed as one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.

Commenting on the University’s delight in Nathan’s achievement, Dean of the School of Humanities and Cultural Industries, Professor Steve May said: “Nathan embodies the kind of writer our courses produce – innovative, individual, and grounded in the world outside literature. We are indeed fortunate that he is now helping extend this tradition in his teaching of current students.”

The Creative Writing course at Bath Spa has produced many successful graduates during its 20 year history. Course tutors are themselves respected writers and their links with the publishing industry are invaluable to graduates. Since 2012, the University has appointed a number of new Professors of Creative Writing including Naomi Alderman, David Almond, Aminatta Forna, Tessa Hadley, Philip Hensher, Kate Pullinger and Fay Weldon CBE.

This is the third year running that Bath Spa has seen success in these awards. Former lecturer in Creative Writing, Andrew Miller won both the 2011 Costa Book Best Novel Award and the overall Costa Book of the Year Award for his novel Pure.

In 2012 the prize went to Bring Up the Bodies by Bath Spa Honorary Graduate Hilary Mantel. It was the first book to be named as Costa Book of the Year and win the Man Booker Prize in the same year.

This year’s Costa Book Awards attracted 617 entries – the highest number of entries ever received in one year.