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Tuesday 3 October 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# critical acclaim
Sally Rooney and Donal Ryan have been shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Novel Award
Both of the authors were also longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize.

NORMAL PEOPLE BY Mayo writer Sally Rooney and From A Low and Quiet Sea by Tipperary man Donal Ryan have been shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Novel Award.

The awards are the only major book prize open solely to authors resident in Ireland and the UK. The winner will take home a £5,000 cheque as well as being in the running for the Costa Book of the Year award, whose winner will scoop £30,000.

Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls and The Italian Teacher by journalist Tom Rachman fill out the nominees in the Novel category.

Ryan’s book follows three men from vastly different backgrounds who are each trying to overcome their past to find some version of home. Rooney’s Normal People details the life-changing relationship between Connell and Marianne who grow up in a small town in rural Ireland.

The category will be judged by The Guardian’s Fiction Editor Justine Jordan, author Rachel Joyce and Zool Verjee of the bookseller Blackwell’s Oxford.

They described Ryan’s novel as “compassionate, profound and masterfully written” and Rooney’s as “bold, fresh and intensely modern”.

Both of the books also made it on to the longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize, which was won by Belfast author Anna Burns for her novel Milkman.  

The two authors have garnered numerous prizes and nominations in their careers to date. Rooney is the youngest-ever winner of the Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. Ryan’s first novel The Spinning Heart was recently voted Irish Book of the Decade.

This is the 47th year of the book awards which were known as the Whitbread awards until 2006.

As well as Novel there are also First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book categories. The winners of each of the categories will be announced on January 7 while the Costa Book of the Year will be revealed at a ceremony at the end of January.

RTÉ broadcaster Rick O’Shea is one of the judges for the children’s book award.

Here’s all of the nominees in all of the categories:

Novel Award shortlist

Pat Barker The Silence of the Girls Hamish Hamilton
Tom Rachman The Italian Teacher riverrun
Sally Rooney Normal People Faber & Faber
Donal Ryan From a Low and Quiet Sea Doubleday


First Novel Award shortlist

Natalie Hart Pieces of Me Legend Press
Elisa Lodato An Unremarkable Body Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Stuart Turton The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Raven Books
Anne Youngson Meet Me at the Museum Doubleday


Biography Award shortlist

Viv Albertine To Throw Away Unopened Faber & Faber
Bart van Es The Cut Out Girl Fig Tree
Raynor Winn The Salt Path Michael Joseph
Benjamin Zephaniah The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah: The Autobiography Scribner


Poetry Award shortlist

Zaffar Kunial Us Faber & Faber
J. O. Morgan Assurances Jonathan Cape
Richard Scott Soho Faber & Faber
Hannah Sullivan Three Poems Faber & Faber


Children’s Book Award shortlist

David Almond The Colour of the Sun Hodder Children’s Books
Candy Gourlay Bone Talk David Fickling Books
Matt Killeen Orphan Monster Spy Usborne
Hilary McKay The Skylarks’ War Macmillan Children’s Books

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