The Kids, based on the former teacher’s experiences, was described by chair Reeta Chakrabarti as ‘a book to fall in love with’, as Lowe receives £30,000 prize

Hannah Lowe, a former London teacher, has won the £30,000 Costa book of the year for The Kids, a book of sonnets drawing on her experiences teaching in an inner-city sixth form.

After what judges called “a long and passionate discussion”, Lowe’s poetry collection beat the bookies’ favourite, Claire Fuller’s novel Unsettled Ground, to the Costa award for the year’s “most enjoyable” book. The prize pits the winners of five categories – first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children’s book – against each other, with Lowe also emerging ahead of Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut novel Open Water, John Preston’s biography of Robert Maxwell, Fall, and Manjeet Mann’s young adult verse novel The Crossing.

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