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WORD: Costa Book Awards 2008 shortlists announced
Edited Press Release

The Costa Book Awards announced that novelists Sebastian, Chris Cleave, Louis de Bernières and Patrick McGrath were among those shortlisted for its 2008 awards. The Costa Book Awards recognize the most enjoyable books in five categories -- First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book -- published in the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.

This year's Costa Book Awards attracted 616 entries, the highest-ever number of submissions in one year. Judges on this year's panels (three per category) included author Lisa Jewell; actress and writer Pauline McLynn; journalist, writer and broadcaster Michael Buerk; poet and broadcaster Roger McGough CBE; and writer Victoria Hislop. Three young judges, selected by a competition run in UK Costa stores and online at www.costabookawards.com, joined the Children's Book Award panel.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Tuesday 6th January 2009. The overall winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2008 will receive £25,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 27th January 2009.

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. The 2007 Costa Book of the Year was won by A L Kennedy for Day.

To be eligible for the 2008 Costa Book Awards, books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland between 1 November 2007 and 31 October 2008. Originally established in 1971 by Whitbread Plc, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK's most prestigious book prize in 2006.

2008 Costa Novel Award shortlist
Sebastian Barry for The Secret Scripture (Faber and Faber)
Chris Cleave for The Other Hand (Sceptre)
Louis de Bernières for A Partisan's Daughter (Harvill Secker)
Patrick McGrath for Trauma (Bloomsbury)
2008 Costa First Novel Award shortlist
Poppy Adams for The Behaviour of Moths (Virago)
Sadie Jones for The Outcast (Chatto & Windus)
Jennie Rooney for Inside the Whale (Chatto & Windus)
Tom Rob Smith for Child 44 (Simon & Schuster)
2008 Costa Biography Award shortlist
Diana Athill for Somewhere Towards the End (Granta)
Judith Mackrell for Bloomsbury Ballerina (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Sathnam Sanghera for If You Don't Know Me By Now (Viking)
Jackie Wullschlager for Chagall (Allen Lane)
2008 Costa Poetry Award shortlist
Ciaran Carson for For All We Know (Gallery Books)
Adam Foulds for The Broken Word (Jonathan Cape)
Kathryn Simmonds for Sunday at the Skin Launderette (Seren)
Greta Stoddart for Salvation Jane (Anvil Press)
2008 Costa Children's Book Award shortlist
Keith Gray for Ostrich Boys (Definitions)
Saci Lloyd for The Carbon Diaries 2015 (Hodder Children?s Books)
Michelle Magorian for Just Henry (Egmont Press)
Jenny Valentine for Broken Soup (HarperCollins Children?s Books)

Shortlist for the 2008 Costa Novel Award -- Highlights

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Faber and Faber)

Roseanne McNulty, perhaps nearing her 100th birthday -- no one is quite sure -- faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital where she's spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr Grene. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne's story becomes an alternative, secret, history of Ireland.

Sebastian Barry is a playwright and novelist who was born in Dublin in 1955. His novels include The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), Annie Dunne (2002) and A Long Long Way (2005), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Dublin International Impac Prize. He has won many awards including the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Prize, the London Critics Circle Award and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize. Barry lives in Wicklow with his wife and three children.

Judges: "A heartbreaking and lyrical tale of loss, betrayal and redemption."

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (Sceptre)

Little Bee is a 16-year-old African girl; Sarah is a magazine editor living in Kingston-upon-Thames; Charlie is her 4-year-old son but will only answer to "Batman." The Other Hand tells how their lives intertwine and was inspired by the author's early childhood in West Africa and a visit to a detention centre in Essex.

Chris Cleave's debut novel Incendiary was an international bestseller in 20 countries, winning critical acclaim around the world and prizes including the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, the United States Book-of-the-Month Club's First Fiction award 2005 and the Prix Special du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007. Its subject matter, a terrorist attack on London, proved all too prescient when it was published in the UK on 7th July 2005. It will be released later this year as a major motion picture. He is married with two children, and lives in London.

Judges: "A richly original novel full of shocks and wonders."

A Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernières (Harvill Secker)

Chris is bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. In his forties, he's a stranger to the 1970s youth culture of London, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a hooker into his car. Roza is Yugoslavian, recently moved to London, the daughter of one of Tito's partisans. She's in her twenties, but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And though she's not a hooker, when she's propositioned by Chris, she gets into his car anyway. Over the next few months Roza tells Chris the stories of her past. But is Roza telling the truth? Does Chris hear the stories through the filter of his own need? Does it even matter?

Louis de Bernières was selected as one of the Granta Twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, his fourth novel, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Best Book, 1995, selling 2.8 million copies. Since then he's published two more novels, Red Dog (2001) and Birds Without Wings which was shortlisted for the 2004 Whitbread Novel Award.

Judges: "An elegant love story about the lies we tell ourselves and why we have to."

Trauma by Patrick McGrath (Bloomsbury)

Charlie Weir is a man who tackles other people's demons for a living. He has seen every kind of trauma during his years as a psychiatrist in New York City, and yet hasn't found a way to resolve the conflicts within his own family. And he has never overcome the terrible blunder seven years before which lost him his wife and daughter, leaving him prone to corrosive loneliness and restless anger. When Walt introduces Charlie to Nora Chiara, they fall for each other quickly but their bliss is short-lived. Her vulnerability, once so irresistible, begins to sour their life together. As he probes at the source of her distress, a half-memory from deep in his own unconscious mind begins to arouse a horrifying suspicion...

Patrick McGrath is the author of a short story collection, and six previous novels including Asylum, Martha Peake, Port Mungo and Spider which was made into a film in 2002 by acclaimed director David Cronenberg. His most recent book was Ghost Town, a volume of novellas about New York. Patrick McGrath lives in London and New York.

Judges: "A riveting story about what makes us who we are by a truly accomplished novelist."


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