Monday 19 February 2018

Sebastian Barry's 'miracle of a book' earns him another Costa Novel Award

Novelist and playwright Sebastian Barry. Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images
Novelist and playwright Sebastian Barry. Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images

Laura Harding

Novelist and playwright Sebastian Barry has won the Costa Novel Award for the second time for his book 'Days Without End'.

Barry's work, set in the wars of 1850s America, has been hailed by judges as a "miracle of a book".

It marks a second success at the awards for Barry whose fourth book, 'The Secret Scripture', won the Costa Book of the Year in 2008.

However, at this stage Barry is among five winning authors, chosen from 596 entries, who will each receive £5,000 and will now compete for the 2016 Costa Book of the Year.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster Penny Smith at Quaglino's in London on January 31.

Barry, who lives in the Wicklow hills, recently wrote of his searching for the ideal writing day - because he had lost so many to "my main job of the last 20 years, taxi driver to my three kids".

He also said he temporarily "took to the drink" while he penned the tale of emigrant Thomas McNulty.

Meanwhile, non-fiction writer Francis Spufford won the First Novel Award for his debut work of fiction 'Golden Hill'.

Spufford's historical novel set in New York in the winter of 1746 was called "captivating and dazzlingly original".

Debut non-fiction writer Keggie Carew has won the Costa Biography Award for 'Dadland', her attempt to learn about her father's past as he slips into dementia, while Alice Oswald has been named winner of the Costa Poetry Award for 'Falling Awake', a collection written to be read aloud.

Brian Conaghan has taken the Costa Children's Book Award for 'The Bombs That Brought Us Together'.

The Costa Book of the Year will be chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Professor Kate Williams and comprising authors and category judges Nicci Gerrard, Charlotte Heathcote, Matthew Dennison, Kate Kellaway and Cressida Cowell, joined by Graham Norton, Sian Williams and Robert Bathurst.

Dominic Paul, managing director of Costa, said: "We're very proud and excited to be announcing this year's Costa Award winners, a collection of terrific books.

"Five wonderful reads and something here for all readers' tastes - just what the Costa Book Awards are all about."

The 2015 Costa Book of the Year was 'The Lie Tree' by Francis Hardinge.

Irish Independent

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