LONDON Debut author and mental health nurse Nathan Filer's novel "The Shock of the Fall", about a schizophrenic young man dealing with guilt, was named as the winner of the Costa Book Award for 2013 on Tuesday.
Filer beat novelist and bookmakers' favorite Kate Atkinson, for "Life After Life", biographer Lucy Hughes-Hallett for "The Pike", poet Michael Symmons Roberts for "Drysalter" and author and political cartoonist, Chris Riddell, for "Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse", to win the honor and prize money of 30,000 pounds at the awards ceremony in London.
"This book stood out in a very good list," Rose Tremain, chair of the judges panel, said in a statement.
"The voice in which the author has chosen to tell his story is perfectly aligned with the subject matter and very well sustained to the end."
The Costa Book Awards, named after a coffee shop chain, is the only major British book prize open solely to authors resident in the United Kingdom and Ireland and recognizes books across five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book - published in the last year.
Filer, 32, is a writer and lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. He is a qualified mental health nurse and for many years worked for the mental health service in Bristol where he still lives.
(Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by David Evans)