Books

Sally Rooney just became the youngest person ever to win this major literary award

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Moya Crockett
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The 27-year-old’s second novel Normal People is the winner of this year’s Costa Novel Award. 

The Irish writer Sally Rooney has scooped another prestigious award for her second novel, Normal People.

The 27-year-old has been named as the winner of the Costa Novel Award, making her the youngest person ever to receive the prize since it was launched in 1971.

Normal People was critically acclaimed upon its publication in 2018 for its portrayal of the complex relationship between two young Irish people following the financial downturn of the late 2010s.

Over the course of the novel, which follows middle-class Marianne and working-class Connell as they move from secondary school in a small town to university in Dublin, we see the pair fall in love, grapple with issues of family, class, sex and mental health, and slowly move towards adulthood.  

This is not the first time that Normal People has been recognised with a major literary award. In November, it was voted as the 2018 Waterstone’s Book of the Year. 

Normal People was also longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize (which eventually went to Milkman, the third novel by Northern Irish author Anna Burns).

Rooney, whose debut novel Conversations with Friends was also critically acclaimed, will receive £5,000 for winning the Costa Novel Award. Normal People is now eligible for the overall 2018 Costa Book of the Year prize.

The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland. Uniquely in literary awards, it honours books for how enjoyable they are. Based on the rate at which Normal People was devoured by people in the Stylist office, we can vouch for it being a thoroughly gratifying read

In December, Rooney was named one of Stylist’s women of the year in our final issue of 2018. 

“In 2018, Sally Rooney established herself as the most exciting and important literary voice of the year,” wrote Stylist’s digital commissioning editor Sarah Biddlecombe.

Normal People is an unconventional love story that blurs the boundaries between friendship and romance, and Rooney captures the quieter moments of love among my generation in a way no other writer has quite managed.”

Thrillingly, Rooney is now working on a TV adaptation of Normal People for the BBC. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming must-watch series.

Images: Getty Images 

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women’s Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. As well as writing about inspiring women and feminism, she also covers subjects including careers, podcasts and politics. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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