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Kent author makes Costa Book Award shortlist for novel The Crossing about Dover Channel crossing crisis


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A Kent author is in the running for a prestigious literary prize for her children's book touching on the Channel crossing crisis.

Manjeet Mann, from Folkestone, has made the 2021 Costa Book Awards shortlist for her book The Crossing.

Manjeet Mann from Folkestone is in the running for a prestigious literary prize for her children's book The Crossing
Manjeet Mann from Folkestone is in the running for a prestigious literary prize for her children's book The Crossing

Set in Dover, it tells the story of "two teenagers from opposite worlds" and is described as "a profound story of hope, grief, and the very real tragedies of the refugee crisis, written in verse".

It follows Natalie, who has lost her mum and brother and "marches the streets of Dover full of hate and anger", swimming "her only refuge"; and Sammy, who fled his home and family in Eritrea for the chance of a new life in Europe.

Costa Book Award judges have praised The Crossing, which is published by Penguin, as "powerful, intelligent and emotive".

They said: "It demonstrates in its very fabric just how little truly separates us."

Manjeet Mann is an actor, playwright, screenwriter and director.

The cover of Mann's book The Crossing, set in Dover
The cover of Mann's book The Crossing, set in Dover

She is also the founder of Run the World - an organisation that works with women and girls from marginalised backgrounds, helping to empower them through sport and storytelling.

She is one of 20 people to have made the Costa Book Awards shortlist, which was announced this evening (November 23).

The annual awards are the only major UK book prize open solely to authors living in the UK and Ireland.

They recognise books published in the last year across five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - with a winner in each category receiving a £5,000 prize.

This year marks the 50th year of the awards, which attracted 934 entries for 2021 - the highest number received in a single year to date.

Winners in each category will be announced on January 4.

The overall winner of the 2021 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000, and will be announced at a ceremony on February 1.

For more information, visit the Costa Book Awards website.

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