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Joseph O’Connor shortlisted for Costa Books Award Novel of the Year

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By Writing.ie

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Having recently won the Eason Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards, Joseph O’connor’s Shadowplay has now been shortlisted for the Costa Books Award Novel of the Year.

The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and also, uniquely, recognises some of the most enjoyable books published in the last year across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Monday 6th January 2020. The overall winner of the 2019 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 28th January 2020.

Costa Book Award shortlists 2019

First novel
Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston (Picador)
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Trapeze)
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Viking)
The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen (The Borough Press)

Middle England by Jonathan Coe (Viking)
Confession With Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach (Head of Zeus)
Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Sceptre)
Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker)

On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming (Chatto & Windus)
The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather (WH Allen)
In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum (Chatto & Windus)
The Making of Poetry: Coleridge, the Wordsworths and Their Year of Marvels by Adam Nicolson (William Collins)

Surge by Jay Bernard (Chatto & Windus)
Flèche by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber)
The Mizzy by Paul Farley (Picador)
Reckless Paper Birds by John McCullough (Penned in the Margins)

Children’s books
Asha & the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan (Chicken House)
Crossfire by Malorie Blackman (Penguin)
In the Shadow of Heroes by Nicholas Bowling (Chicken House)
Furious Thing by Jenny Downham (David Fickling)

About Shadowplay:


1878: The Lyceum Theatre, London. Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another. Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker.

Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager’s devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen.

This exceptional novel explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.

‘A hugely entertaining book about the grand scope of friendship and love, it is also, movingly – at times, astonishingly – a story of transience, loss and true loyalty.’ Guardian

Order your copy online here.

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