The panels have been announced for the 2019 Costa Book Awards and Costa Short Story Award. See below for more details.

2019 Costa Book Awards: Final Judging Panel

Costa Book Awards logoThe final nine-member panel that selects the overall Costa Book of the Year is made up of a Chairman, a judge from each category panel and three other well-known people in the public eye – and who are outside of the publishing world - who love reading.

Check below to see this year's final judges and click here to view the full panel of 2019 category judges.

Sian Williams

Broadcast Journalist and Author, Chair

Sian has spent more than thirty years in broadcast journalism, as a producer, reporter and presenter. Most of that time was at the BBC where she made Radio 4 current affairs shows before moving to TV and hosting BBC Breakfast for more than a decade. She’s now a news anchor at C5/ITN and makes prime-time programmes for ITV and C5. Sian is also in her second year of a Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, works in two psychology practices and has written a book about surviving and thriving after trauma.

John Boyne

Novelist - representing the Costa Novel Award

John Boyne is the author of 11 novels for adults, six for young readers and a collection of short stories, including the international bestsellers The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Heart’s Invisible Furies and A Ladder to the Sky. His books are published in over 50 languages.

Jade Cuttle

Poet, songwriter and critic - representing the Costa Poetry Award

Jade graduated from Cambridge with First-Class Honours before completing an MA in Creative Writing at UEA. She works at The Poetry Society and is Deputy Poetry Editor at Ambit. As poet and plant-whisperer, she’s written for Radio 3, the Proms and its Contains Strong Language Festival, whilst her prose has been selected for various prizes and awards. An album of her poem-songs will be released this year.

Professor Suzannah Lipscomb

Historian, Author and Broadcaster - representing the Costa Biography Award

Professor Suzannah Lipscomb is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. Professor of History at the University of Roehampton and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, she holds a MA, MSt, and DPhil from Lincoln and Balliol Colleges, Oxford. She’s written five books and presented 13 TV history documentary series.

Clare Mackintosh

Author - representing the Costa First Novel Award

Clare is the multi-award-winning author of I Let You Go, the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. All four of her novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers and three have been selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club. Together, Clare’s books have been published in more than 40 countries and sold more than two million copies worldwide.

Ben Miller

Actor, Comedian and Author

Ben Miller is an actor, director, comedian and author, perhaps best known for his role as Bough in the Johnny English feature films alongside Rowan Atkinson, BBC’s The Armstrong and Miller Show with Alexander Armstrong and BBC’s Death in Paradise. He is the author of two children’s books The Night I Met Father Christmas and The Boy Who Made The World Disappear.

Hugh Quarshie


Graduating from Christ Church, Oxford, Hugh is perhaps most well-known for his appearances on Holby City as Dr Ric Griffin. He has also had star turns in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Absentia, Doctor Who and Red Sparrow, as well as a celebrated run in Othello for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Bali Rai

Writer - Representing the Costa Children's Book Award

Bali is the multi-award-winning author of over forty YA, teen and children's books. A passionate advocate for reading and literacy, he has worked with the Agency’s Reading Ahead project, the BBC’s Love to Read campaign, and the National Literacy Trust, Booktrust, RNIB and British Library.

Anneka Rice


Anneka Rice is an award-winning broadcaster. She started her career in Hong Kong as a journalist and newsreader but is known in the UK for Channel 4’s Treasure Hunt and Challenge Anneka which she devised for BBC1. Radio work includes the Saturday Breakfast Show, The Arts Show, The Clemmie Hart Years and My Teenage Diary. Recent TV work includes Strictly Come Dancing, Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year and C4’s Celebrity Hunted. She is a regular columnist for the Independent and keen painter.


Previous judges

Download the PDF below to view a complete list of all past Costa Book Awards judges from 1971 to present.

Check here for full terms and conditions for the Costa Book Awards and Costa Short Story Award.