Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Costa Book of the Year

Author Sebastian Barry has won the Costa Book of the Year Award for The Secret Scripture. Chairman of the judges Matthew Parris said the decision was an "extraordinarily close finish" with poet Adam Foulds' The Broken Word. Of the nine judges, five were for The Secret Scripture and four for The Broken Word, and one of the five for The Secret Scripture wavered.

Both books were featured as "Books of the Week" last year. Barry just missed out on the Man Booker Prize, so this success is particularly merited. It is very difficult to compare two such very different books - both are of very high quality, and both come from writers who are successful as poets and novellists. However, if forced to choose my Irish bias would have come to the fore, so I think that the judges got it right.

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