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WORD: Ireland's Sebastian Barry wins 2008 Costa Book of the Year
Edited Press Release

Irish author Sebastian Barry has won the 2008 Costa Book of the Year award for "The Secret Scripture" (Faber and Faber), a moving account of one woman's stolen life and her journey to reclaim the past.  The announcement was made Tuesday evening (January 27) at an awards ceremony held at the InterContinental Hotel in central London.

Barry, the bookmakers' odds-on favourite, won against one of the most acclaimed collections of finalists in the Book Awards history beating four other finalists including 91 year-old author Diana Athill for her memoir "Somewhere Towards the End," bestselling first-time novelist Sadie Jones for "The Outcast," poet and writer Adam Foulds for "The Broken Word" and popular children's writer Michelle Magorian for "Just Henry," to win the overall prize and a check for £25,000 (about $40,000) at the glittering awards ceremony.

"Sebastian Barry has created one of the great narrative voices in contemporary fiction in The Secret Scripture. It is a book of great brilliance, powerfully and beautifully written." said Matthew Parris, chair of the final judges, in a press release the judging.

The Secret Scripture, published by Faber and Faber, is the ninth novel to take the overall prize. A. L. Kennedy was the last author to win the Book of the Year with a novel taking the prize in 2007 for Day.

The Costa Book Awards recognize the most enjoyable books of the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.  Originally established by Whitbread PLC in 1971, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK's prestigious and popular book prize in 2006.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won eight times by a novel, four times by a first novel, five times by a biography, five times by a collection of poetry and once by a children's book.

For more information please visit www.costabookawards.com.


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