Monday, 9 February 2009

Costa Book of the Year winner

Sebastian BarrySebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture has won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2008. Chairman of the judges Matthew Parris said the decision was an "extraordinarily close finish" with Adam Foulds' book of poetry entitled The Broken Word. Barry’s novel had also been shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize for Fiction which was won by Aravind Adiga for his novel The White Tiger. The Costa Book of the Year, which has a £25,000 (€27,000) prize, recognises the most enjoyable books of the past year by writers in the UK and Ireland. The Secret Scripture centres on Rosanne McNulty, nearing her 100th birthday, who faces an uncertain future as the hospital where she has spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to the upheaval, she often talks to her psychiatrist Dr Grene. The two begin writing parallel accounts of their meetings, each of which becomes a secret scripture of their lives. Sebastian Barry based his book on the true story of his great-aunt who was banished to a Roscommon psychiatric hospital for transgressing Catholic codes of behaviour. In Roseanne he has created one of the most memorable narrators in recent fiction.

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