Sebastian Barry wins Costa award for ‘Secret Scripture’
BOOK OF YEAR WICKLOW-BASED AUTHOR SCOOPS PRESTIGIOUS LITERARY PRIZE
SEBASTIAN Barry was named the winner of the prestigious Costa Book of the Year award for ‘The Secret Scripture.’
The 53 year old, who lives with his family in a restored rectory in the countryside of South Wicklow, picks up the main prize of €25,000 having just failed last year to land the Booker Prize for the same novel.
His Costa win proved to be a tightly contested affair as the nine strong judging panel decided between ‘The Secret Scripture’ and ‘The Broken Word’ by Adam Foulds.
The chair of the judges Matthew Parris said there was very little to chosen between the two writers, with another three also short-listed for contention.
‘It was an extraordinarily close finish among the judges. There was huge support for both. The feeling with the judges is that there was a lot wrong with ‘The Secret Scripture’. It was flawed in many ways and almost no one liked the ending. But there was a feeling among the judges that many great works of literacy are also flawed.’
‘The Secret Scripture’ tells the story of an elderly woman named Roseanne McNulty who faces an uncertain future as she nears her 100th birthday. She has been confined to Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital for more than four decades but now the hospital is set to be demolished.
She remains in regular contact with her psychiatrist, Dr. Greene. Both he and Roseanne keep journals unbeknownst to one another, and through these journals the reader is given a real insight into one woman’s fateful descent into so-called madness and the unlikely secrets she retains.
While he currently resides in Wicklow with his wife and three children, Mr. Barry was born in Dublin to parents Frank, an architect, and Joan O’Hara, the late actress of ‘Fair City’ fame.
Author Sebastian Barry.