Francis Spufford Wins Costa First Novel Award for Golden Hill


Francis Spufford has won the prestigious Costa first novel award for Golden Hill, a “dazzlingly original tale” set in 18th-century New York. Read more about his brilliant novel and the other winners here.

Golden Hill was also named Sunday Times Novel of the Year.

Selected praise for Golden Hill:

“A cunningly crafted narrative that, right up to its tour de force conclusion, is alive with tantalising twists and turns … This is a dazzlingly written novel. Little brilliancies of metaphor and phrasing gleam everywhere … In his memoir, The Child That Books Built (2002), Spufford declared himself a fiction addict, greedy for all its pleasures and stimulations. With his terrific first novel he supplies them.” Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

“Like a newly discovered novel by Henry Fielding with extra material by Martin Scorsese. Why it works so well is largely down to Spufford’s superb re-creation of New York … his writing is thick with the town’s sounds and smells and is rippled with subtle reminders that everyone shares the same dream of growing rich … His writing crackles with energy and glee, and when Smith’s secret is finally revealed it is hugely satisfying on every level. For its payoff alone Golden Hill deserves a big shiny star.’ Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Times

“Splendidly entertaining and ingenious … Throughout Golden Hill, Spufford creates vivid, painterly scenes of street and salon life, yet one never feels as though a historical detail has been inserted just because he knew about it. Here is deep research worn refreshingly lightly … a first-class period entertainment.” Steven Poole, Guardian

Golden Hill is a novel of gloriously capacious humanity, thick-woven with life in all its oddness and familiarity, a novel of such joy it leaves you beaming, and such seriousness that it asks to be read again and again … this novel is verifiable gold.’ Alexandra Harris, Sunday Telegraph