Sebastian Barry’s novel Days Without End has been named as the Costa Book of the Year, chosen from 20 books short-listed in the Costa Book Awards.
This is the second time the Irish novelist has picked up the prestigious literary prize, winning previously in 2008 for his fourth novel The Secret Scripture.
Announced at a ceremony in London on 31st January, Barry admitted how happy he was to have received the award, saying “I do want to thank the judges – you’ve made me crazy happy from the top of my head to my toes, in a way that is a little bit improper at 61.”
The author was up against a host of dazzling books competing for the prize, such as Kaggie Carew’s Dadland and Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill. But in the end, the judging panel, including Graham Norton and broadcast journalist Sian Williams, agreed Barry’s novel was most deserving. Chair of the final judges Professor Kate Williams said, “We all loved this magnificent, searing, thrilling book – brutal, terrifying yet with moments of light and beauty.”
Five category winners for the Costa Book Awards were previously announced, for the categories – Children’s Book, Biography, Novel, Poetry and First Novel.
The five winners, who each received
£5,000, were selected from 596 original entries and a 20-strong shortlist. The Costa Book Awards is the only major literary prize open solely to authors living in the UK and Ireland.
So read on to discover Costa’s pick of the best books of 2016…
Costa Book of the Year and Costa Novel Award Winner: Days Without End, Sebastian Barry
author Barry scoops the acclaimed Novel award, and the final Book of the Year prize for the second time
around with his seventh novel, which tells the story of two young boys
battling in the wars of 1850’s America.
Costa Children’s Book Award Winner: The Bombs That Brought Us Together, Brian Conaghan
Conaghan received 217 rejections before finding a publisher for his first book – but he’s now won the award for the best children’s book, for his story of a boy called Charlie Law, and what happens when he meets Pavel Duda and suddenly, all the rules begin to be broken…
Costa Poetry Award Winner: Falling Awake, Alice Oswald
An anthology of poems written to read aloud, Oswald wins the poetry category with her tales about life’s struggle with nature, inspired by the West Country landscape.
Costa Biography Award Winner: Dadland, Keggie Carew
Carew’s first work of non-fiction portrays her own race to discover the truth about her father’s life in the Second World War, as he slowly slips into dementia.
Costa First Novel Award Winner: Golden Hill, Frances Spufford
Described by the judging panel as “dazzlingly original”, Spufford, famed for his non-fiction, bags the prize for the novel category with his first fiction book, all about a mysterious man in eighteenth-century New York.