A vividly told story of life in pre-revolutionary Paris on Tuesday won the 2011 Costa book award in what turned out to be a bitterly fought two-way tussle between fact and fiction.
Andrew Miller was given one of the UK's most prestigious literary prizes – and a £30,000 cheque – at a ceremony in London for his sixth novel, Pure.
The chairman of the judges, Geordie Greig, said "there really was a fierce debate" during the 90-minute judging discussion. "There was quite bitter dissent and argument to find the winner. The debate was prolonged with passionate views over two books." The books were Pure and Now All Roads Lead to France, Matthew Hollis's gripping and moving biography of the war poet Edward Thomas.
A video of Miller can be downloaded here.