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Thursday 23 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
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Irish author Sebastian Barry scoops major Book of the Year prize
The Costa Book of the Year was formerly known as the Whitbread prize.

PastedImage-76511 Twitter / CostaBookAwards Twitter / CostaBookAwards / CostaBookAwards

IRISH AUTHOR SEBASTIAN Barry has won the 2016 Costa Book of the Year for his novel Days Without End.

The win was announced this evening and is the second time Dublin-born Barry has won the award after picking it up for The Secret Scripture in 2008.

The award was launched in 1971 and was previously known as the Whitbread Book Award. It recognises authors based in the UK and Ireland.

There are five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – with one of the five winners chosen as Book of the Year.

Barry’s winning book is set in the mid-19th century United States and is about two brothers-in-arms who fight in the Indian wars and ultimately the Civil War.

Despite the horrors they face, the book also deals with happiness, courage and love.

Britain Book Awards Alastair Grant / AP Author Sebastian Barry holds up his winning book at the awards in London. Alastair Grant / AP / AP

The Costa Book of the Year Judges described Days Without End as:

A miracle of a book – both epic and intimate – that manages to create spaces for love and safety in the noise and chaos of history.

A resident of Co. Wicklow, Barry has also won the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize and the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year.

The Arts Council this evening congratulated Barry on his win.

“Sebastian Barry is a writer of tremendous talent. Days Without End is as compelling as it is moving, as lyrical as it is inventive,” said Arts Council Chair Sheila Pratschke.

“Barry’s commitment to the craft of writing has long been recognised in Ireland and abroad, and it is a thrill to see his latest novel win such acclaim.”

Pratschke also noted that there was other Irish success at the awards:

The Arts Council was also delighted to see Irish writers Jess Kidd and Billy O’Callaghan taking first and second place in the Costa Short Story Competition, and Irish-based author Brian Conaghan winning the 2016 Costa Children’s Book Award.

“All further proof, as if it were needed, of the wealth of contemporary Irish writing talent.”

Read: 13 mood-boosting books to get you through the dark winter nights >

Read: Here are the books, films and TV shows to watch out for in 2017 >

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