LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Irish writer Colm Toibin won the Costa Book Awards best novel category on Monday for “Brooklyn,” beating Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel’s acclaimed “Wolf Hall.”
In Brooklyn, Booker-nominated Toibin tells the story of Irish woman Eilis Lacey, who travels to New York in the 1950s on the invitation of a priest who offers to help her find work.
The Costa debut novel award went to Raphael Selbourne for “Beauty,” about a Bangladeshi woman on the run from her family, while the biography section was won by 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.
Patrick Ness won the children’s book award for “The Ask and the Answer,” second instalment in the “Chaos Walking” trilogy which the Costa judges described as “a major achievement in the making.”
The five Costa Book Award winners receive 5,000 pounds ($8,000) each and are eligible for the overall 2009 Costa Book of the Year award which will be announced on January 26 and comes with a check 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