Irish novelist and playwright Sebastian Barry has won the Costa Novel Award for the second time for his book Days Without End, while non-fiction writer Francis Spufford has won the First Novel Award for his debut work of fiction Golden Hill.
Barry’s work, set in the wars of 1850s America, has been hailed by judges as a “miracle of a book”, while Spufford’s historical novel set in New York in the winter of 1746, was called “captivating and dazzlingly original”.
Barry’s fourth book, The Secret Scripture, won the Costa Book of the Year in 2008.
Debut non-fiction writer Keggie Carew has won the Costa Biography Award for Dadland, her attempt to learn about her father’s past as he slips into dementia, while Alice Oswald has been named winner of the Costa Poetry Award for Falling Awake, a collection of poems written to be read aloud.
Brian Conaghan has taken the Costa Children’s Book Award for The Bombs That Brought Us Together.
The five winning authors, chosen from 596 entries, will each receive £5,000 and will now compete for the 2016 Costa Book of the Year.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster Penny Smith at Quaglino’s in London on January 31.
The winning book willl be chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Professor Kate Williams and comprising authors and category judges Nicci Gerrard, Charlotte Heathcote, Matthew Dennison, Kate Kellaway and Cressida Cowell, joined by Graham Norton, Sian Williams and Robert Bathurst.
Dominic Paul, managing director of Costa, said: “We’re very proud and excited to be announcing this year’s Costa Award Winners, a collection of terrific books.
“Five wonderful reads and something here for all readers’ tastes – just what the Costa Book Awards are all about.”
The winner of the Costa Short Story Award – voted for by the general public – will also be announced at the awards ceremony.
The 2015 Costa Book of the Year was The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge.