Hilary Mantel has won this year's Costa Book Award for her novel Bring Up The Bodies which the judges described as "head and shoulders" above the other books.

The writer won the Man Booker Prize last year for the same novel which is the second in a planned trilogy about King Henry VIII's adviser Thomas Cromwell.

Broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray, who chaired the judging panel, said: "This is a very difficult prize to judge because there are five categories and they are so different - poetry, children's, biography, first novel and novel - so it's not an easy prize to judge but I have to say today one book simply stood head and shoulders, more than head and shoulders - on stilts - above the rest."

The novel was up against a comic-style graphic memoir about James Joyce's daughter, Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes, by husband and wife team Mary and Bryan Talbot, and children's book Maggot Moon by dyslexic writer Sally Gardner.

The shortlist was completed by poet Kathleen Jamie's collection The Overhaul and Francesca Segal's first novel, The Innocents.

All five shortlisted writers receive £5,000 each with the overall winner picking up a main prize of £30,000.

Dame Jenni, who said it was "a real joy" to see five women's names on the shortlist, said Mantel was a unanimous winner.

Speaking at the awards in central London, she said: "I said, 'Ok let's have a vote, Bring Up The Bodies' and every hand went up."

She said the judge's discussion, which lasted around an hour, had considered that Mantel had already won the Booker but ultimately disregarded it. She said: "We couldn't allow the number of times it has already been lauded to affect our decision, it was quite simply the best book".

Accepting her prize, Mantel said she was "not going to apologise" for winning another one. She said: "I'm not sorry, I'm happy and I shall make it my business to try to write more books that will be worth more prizes".