Sebastian Barry has been awarded the 2016 Costa Award for fiction for his book Days Without End, reviewed in our December edition. The award is made in five categories: Novel, First Novel, Poetry, Biography and Children’s. The first prize is worth just over $AU10 000 and the five winners are in line for the overall Book of the Year award, to be chosen on January 31; the prizemoney in this case is three times bigger, though the effect on sales is thought to be even higher.
The awards are made every year to outstanding books by UK or Irish writers. Barry won it in 2008 for The Secret Scripture; other Irish writers who have won include Colm Toibin, Maggie O’Farrell, Jennifer Johnston, Christopher Nolan, Maurice Leitch and William Trevor (twice). The poetry award has gone to Paul Durcan, Michael Longley and on three occasions to Seamus Heaney.
We take this opportunity to urge our readers to check our Who Are Your Favourite Irish Novelists (December post) and to add your opinion to those already posted.