Frontlist | Lee Lawrence’s memoir of his mother wins Costa award
The Louder I Will Sing wins best biography, with other prizes including best novel for Monique Roffey and posthumous poetry honour for Eavan Boland
Debut author Lee Lawrence has won the Costa biography award for a memoir about his lengthy quest to find justice for his mother, who was left paralysed after being shot by London police in 1985.
Lawrence saw off competition from authors including Booker winner Julian Barnes to win the £5,000 biography category for The Louder I Will Sing. Judges for the Costa prize called it “a revelatory book and a terrific story” which is “acutely timely and exceptionally important”.
The memoir tells of how his mother Cherry Croce was shot by police looking for Lawrence’s brother in her Brixton home on 28 September 1985, when Lawrence was 11 years old. “In the middle of that hot pot of boiling-over rage, terror, confusion and noise, I realised they were police officers. The man who’d shot my mum was a policeman,” he writes. “Mum was wheezing on the floor, her face creased with pain, with worry. I can’t breathe, she kept saying. I think I’m going to die. I can’t feel my legs.”