The winner of the prestigious Costa Book of the Year Award has been named as Days Without End by Irish author Sebastian Barry.
The awards were given out at a ceremony in London on Tuesday evening. Barry’s win means that he is the first novelist to ever win Book of the Year twice: he first scooped the award in 2008, for his novel The Secret Scripture.
Historical novel Days Without End tells the story of a man fleeing Ireland during the Great Famine and making his way to America as part of the US Cavalry.
“We all loved this magnificent, searing, thrilling book – brutal, terrifying yet with moments of light and beauty,” said Professor Kate Williams, chair of the final judges.
“Brilliant writing that takes you to the depths and the heights of humanity, and a voice you simply can’t forget.”
Debut novelist Jess Kidd, meanwhile, won the publicly-voted Costa Short Story Award for her story Dirty Little Fishes. You can download her winning short story, Dirty Little Fishes, here.
The shortlist for the Costa Book of the Year Award was announced in early January, with five books named as winners in individual categories before going head-to-head for the £30,000 overall prize.
Barry was up against four other writers, including nonfiction writer Keggie Carew (who secured the Costa Biography Award last month) and poet Alice Oswald, who won the Poetry Award.
The longlist for the awards, meanwhile, was dominated by women, with nominees including south London rapper Kate Tempest and Stylist contributor Maggie O’Farrell.
We suggest that you don’t just flick through Days Without End, as the other shortlisted books make for a stellar reading list to get stuck into this February.
From a captivating historical epic set in 18th century New York to the moving real-life account of a woman’s attempt to unravel her father’s past, there are some meaty reads here to see you through a cold winter’s night.
Scroll through to see the Stylist.co.uk summary of each of the shortlisted works.
Images: iStock, Rex Features