Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Costa Book Awards' shortlist 2008

Shortlist for the Costa Book Award, a popular prize here in the UK (it used to be called Whitbread, I think). I'm not particularly thrilled by this shortlist, apart from maybe Sebastian Barry and Sadie Jones.

Novel Award Shortlist
  • The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry: an alternative history of Ireland told through the journals of an old woman and her psychiatrist. Already shortlisted for the Booker Prize;
  • The Other Hand by Chris Cleave: the intertwined stories of an African girl and a British magazine editor
  • A Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernières: about the friendship between a man trapped in a loveless marriage and the Yugoslavian he mistakes for a hooker
  • Trauma by Patrick McGrath: the story of a conflicted New York psychiatrist

First Novel Award Shortlist
  • The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams: about the secrets that separate two sisters
  • The Outcast by Sadie Jones: set in the 1950s, about a 19-year-old boy just out of jail
  • Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith: a thriller set in Stalinist Russia
  • Inside the Whale by Jennie Rooney: the story of two characters separated by the second world war


  1. omg! i know none of this books... but Patrick McGrath's one should not be bad. he is the same author of "The Hours", isn't he?

  2. That's why I wasn't particularly thrilled. I've heard 2 or 3 names but that's all. Clauds, "The hours" is by Michael Cunningham, I had to look it up because I was not sure. I saw the movie but didn't read the novel, isn't it terribly depressing? The film was!
    I don't even know who Michael McGrath is honestly.
    I suspect that this shortlist "avoided" some important writers, but I can't find a good reason for that. It's fairly obvious that among this selection Sebastian Barry will win, if not only for the Booker Prize nomination.

  3. yep, Stefania: you are right! i don't know why i am always confused between McGrath (Spider) and Cunningham (The Hours)!
    maybe they "avoided" the important writers 'cause they want to give Barry a prize since his book didn't win the Booker Prize?