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Which books will win the 2012 Costa prizes?


It's the Costa category prizes tonight. Will a comic beat Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies as novel of the year? And who should win the biography and poetry awards?

Scarcely have the first-footers been shooed out of the back door than the first awards of the new book year stomp in through the front.

Tonight's Costa category awards will bring 2012 to a close by naming books of the year in five categories – fiction, first novels, biography, poetry and children's fiction.

It will pit Hilary Mantel's multi-award-winning Bring Up the Bodies against James Meek's The Heart Broke In; Stephen May's aptly titled Life! Death! Prizes! and Days of the Bagnold Summer, a debut work from Joff Winterhart, and one of two comics in contention for the awards.

Mary and Bryan Talbot's Dotter of Her Father's Eyes - a graphic biography-cum-memoir which sets James Joyce's relationship with his daughter Lucia against Mary Talbot's with her own father – will vie for the biography prize against the more conventional works by Artemis Cooper, Selina Guinness and Kate Hubbard.

In poetry, Kathleen Jamie will slug it out with Julia Copus, Selima Hill and a poetry debut from Sean Borodale.

The four works up for the children's award are Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner; The Seeing by Diana Hendry; What's Up with Jody Barton? by Hayley Long; and A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton.

The contest for best first novel is between The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder by JW Ironmonger; Snake Ropes by Jess Richards; The Innocents by Francesca Segal; and The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood.

So will it be out with the old and in with the new? We know what we're rooting for, but how about you? Place your bets here, and we'll send a free book to anyone who gets all five right before the announcement at 7.30pm.

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