University of East Anglia graduate Andrew Miller wins Costa Book of the Year Award

A graduate of the University of East Anglia has tonight been named the winner of the Costa Book of Year.

A graduate of the University of East Anglia has tonight been named the winner of the Costa Book of Year.

Andrew Miller was named the overall winner at a ceremony in London this evening, three weeks after winning the best novel category prize for his sixth novel, Pure.

It means that Mr Miller wins a further �30,000 and can expect a significant surge in sales.

He saw off competition from the four other category winners, including Norwich's Matthew Hollis, who won the biography prize for Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas, and Christie Watson, a fellow graduate of the UEA's creative writing programme, who won the first novel category for Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, set in the Niger Delta.

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Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who won the poetry category for The Bees, and Moira Young, whose Blood Red Road won the children's book category, were the other shortlisted finalists.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Miller described his emotions as 'pure joy'.

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He added: 'It's strange - you spend three years in a room on your own and then this... It's a little bit unsettling, but deeply pleasurable.'

Pure is set in pre-revolutionary Paris in 1785, and follows Jean-Baptiste Baratte, an ambitious young engineer who is assigned the task of emptying the overflowing Parisian cemetery of Les Innocents, and demolishing its church.

Andrew Cowan, director of creative writing at the University of East Anglia, said: 'It's the 40th anniversary of the creative writing programme at UEA and we couldn't have been more proud when three of our alumni were shortlisted for the Costa Awards – Martyn Bedford in the children's book category, Christie Watson in the first novel category, and Andrew Miller for the novel award.

'It's tremendous news that Andrew has gone on to win the main award. He's won numerous awards in the past, of course, and deservedly so, but this is the pinnacle.

'Pure is a remarkable novel, and Andrew a remarkable novelist – he's one of the most accomplished and most adventurous writers of his generation.'

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