Not one, but two graduates of UEA’s prestigious Creative Writing Programme have won Costa Book Awards. Paedriatric nurse Christie Watson took home the Costa First Novel Award for her book Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, which the judges described as a “vibrant gem of a novel.” Christie said: “I’m shocked and delighted at the news – and my children were jumping up and down in the kitchen last night listening to the radio announcement!”

Meanwhile, Andrew Miller won Best Novel with Pure, “a gripping story, beautifully written and emotionally satisfying”.

The two graduates each received £5,000 and are among the five winners from which the overall Costa Book of the Year will be selected. Creative writing graduate Martyn Bedford was also shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award with Flip.

Professor Jean Boase-Beier, head of the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, said: “It is wonderful when our graduates receive recognition. We know that they are brilliant, but awards like these are such an honour. Congratulations to Christie, Andrew and Martyn.”