Restless by William Boyd has been named novel of the year in the Costa Book Awards, formerly the Whitbread Prize.
Boyd's other novels include Any Human Heart and Brazzaville Beach
The novel, about a Russian woman spy during World War II, now faces four other works for the overall book of the year prize, being announced next month.
Stef Penney's The Tenderness Of Wolves won for first novel, while John Haynes' Letter to Patience won for poetry.
Brian Thompson's Keeping Mum won for biography, and Linda Newbery won the children's book award for Set in Stone.
Restless beat David Mitchell's Black Swan Green, A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon and Neil Griffiths' Saving Caravaggio to the novel prize.
Boyd's success comes 25 years after he won the Whitbread First Novel Award for A Good Man in Africa.
Stef Penney's debut novel follows a 19th Century couple who leave Scotland as part of the Highland Clearances and emigrate to a remote part of Canada.
The London-based writer, who was born in Edinburgh, never visited Canada for the project, researching the book entirely in the British Library.
"When it was first published my first hope was that the Canadian people wouldn't shoot me," she said.
"But it was picked up by Penguin Canada, and the publisher who read it there said, 'I can't believe she has never been to Canada.'"
The Costa Book Awards judges said: "We felt enveloped by the snowy landscape and gripped by the beautiful writing and effortless storytelling.
"It is a story of love, suspense and beauty. We couldn't put it down."
Seventy-one-year-old Thompson's Keeping Mum: A Wartime Childhood recalls his upbringing by working class parents in 1940s Cambridge and London.
The judges called it "a perfect antidote to the 'misery memoir'".
Haynes' poetry triumph denied Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney an unprecedented third win.
Former teacher Newbery's Set in Stone follows an artist who uncovers a dangerous family mystery while tutoring two young girls.
The Costa Book of the Year will be announced at a ceremony in London on 7 February.
Last year's overall winner was Hilary Spurling, who collected the £25,000 main prize for her biography Matisse the Master.