New accolade for Sally Rooney as she takes Costa Novel award

News - Prizes Tuesday, 08 January 2019

Will compete with Stuart Turton, Hilary McKay, Bart van Es, J O Morgan


Sally Rooney, whose novel Normal People (Faber) was in many people's eyes a surprise omission from the Man Booker Prize shortlist, has won the Costa Novel award. Normal People is a current hardback bestseller, and was the most widely chosen title in the books of the year round-ups. Rooney's debut, Conversations with Friends, is on the paperback bestseller lists.

Rooney wins £5,000, and goes forward to compete for the Costa Book of the Year, worth a further £30,000, with the winners of the four other Costa categories. They include Stuart Turton with The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, which was among Alison Hennessey's first buys for the Raven Books crime list at Bloomsbury, and which has been sold in 20 territories as well as being optioned for TV (agent Harry Illingworth at DHH Literary Agency).

The five winners are:

Biography
The Cut Out Girl, Bart van Es (Fig Tree)

Children's Novel
The Skylarks' War, Hilary McKay (Macmillan)

First Novel
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton (Raven Books)

Novel
Normal People, Sally Rooney (Faber)

Poetry
Assurances, J.O. Morgan (Cape)

The Book of the Year judging panel is chaired by BBC presenter and journalist Sophie Raworth, and includes category judges Rachel Joyce, Sathnam Sanghera, Mimi Khalvati, Anita Sethi and Rick O'Shea, with actor Simon Williams, writer and broadcaster Kate Humble, and cook and author Prue Leith. The awards ceremony, hosted by presenter and broadcaster Penny Smith, will be at Quaglino's in central London on Tuesday 29 January.

The winner of the Costa Short Story Award will also be announced at the ceremony. Voting is open until Friday 11 January, after which the identities of the three shortlisted authors will be revealed.

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