Irish author Toibin tipped to win Costa award

Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:20am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Irish writer Colm Toibin is favorite to win the Costa Book of the Year award on Tuesday for "Brooklyn," the story of Irish woman Eilis Lacey who travels to New York in the 1950s in search of a job.

Toibin beat Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel's acclaimed "Wolf Hall" to win the Costa novel category earlier this month, and is up against four other category winners at the London awards ceremony.

The Costa debut novel award was won by Raphael Selbourne for "Beauty," about a Bangladeshi woman on the run from her family, while the biography section went to Graham Farmelo for "The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius."

Christopher Reid, nominated twice previously for a Costa prize, picked up the poetry award for "A Scattering," a tribute to his wife following her death in 2005.

And Patrick Ness won the children's book award for "The Ask and the Answer," second installment in the "Chaos Walking" trilogy which the Costa judges described as "a major achievement in the making."

The category winners receive 5,000 pounds ($8,000) each and are eligible for the overall 2009 Costa Book of the Year, which comes with a cheque for 25,000 pounds.

The awards honor the most enjoyable book in each category, and works published in the last year by writers based in the United Kingdom and Ireland qualify.

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

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)