“And the winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award is…”
Sebastian Barry has won the Costa Book of the Year Award after narrowly losing out in October’s Man Booker prize. The Irish novelist was announced as the winner at a ceremony in London on Thursday 27 January.
The winning book, The Secret Scripture, has been described as a moving account of a woman’s stolen life and her efforts to reclaim the past.
The judges heralded the book as an “exquisitely written love story that takes you on an unforgettable journey – you won’t read a better book this year.”
Barry was the bookmaker’s favourite to take the £25,000 prize beating what many considered to be the most acclaimed shortlist in the prize’s history. Sebastian wasn’t the only winner first time bestselling novelist Sadie Jones and her book The Outcast won the first book award whilst 91 years old Diana Athill became the oldest short listed winner for her historical memoires Somewhere Before The End.
Following the judging, Matthew Parris, chair of the final judges, said: “Sebastian Barry has created one of the great narrative voices in contemporary fiction in The Secret Scripture. It is a book of great brilliance, powerfully and beautifully written.”
The winners in each category are as followed:
- Novel of the Year Award: Sebastian Barry – The Secret Scripture
- First Time Novel of the Year: Sadie Jones – The Outcast
- Historical Book of the Year: Diana Athill – Somewhere Before the End
- Poetry Book of the Year: Adam Foulds – The Broken Word
- Children’s Book of the Year: Michelle Magorian – Just Henry
Each shortlisted winner will take home £5,000 whilst the Sebastian Barry took home £25,000.
Watch Sebastian Barry talk about contemporary Irish voices below:
Has anyone read The Secret Scripture? What is it about Irish writers that makes them stand apart from some of their English counterparts?
Words: Seamus Swords