Andrew Miller novel Pure wins Costa Book of the Year 2012

Pure is the story of a young engineer sent to Paris on the orders of the king to demolish an ancient cemetery that is overflowing with the dead. Mr Miller, 51, saw off the challenge of bookies’ favourite Matthew Hollis and was praised by the judges as portraying a “vivid rendition of pre-revolutionary France.”

Speaking to reporters, Millar said he would spend his prize money on “living”.

“It’s not as if writers tend to be particularly wealthy people. I certainly have no private income. What money we raise through events like this we pay the mortgage I’m afraid, we live off it. There may be a little frivolity, some nice shoes or something, but basically you live off it”.

Miller said he was not sure if his next novel would have a historical setting and he would follow the “curious path of my own obsessions”.

“Writing is a kind of organised dreaming. So we do, we sit in a room and dream up strange places and strange people and set them running.”

The other books in the running were Christie Watson’s debut novel Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, Carol Ann Duffy’s collection of verse, The Bees, and Blood Red Road by children’s author Moira Young.

Mr Miller, who has written five other novels and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2001, was announced as the winner at an awards ceremony in central London tonight.

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