I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.



Five out of five for women writers (well, four and a half, perhaps) in the Costa Book Awards announced on Wednesday.

Two-time Booker winner Hilary Mantel won the novel ward for Bring up the Bodies, a sequel to Wolf Hall. Bryan and Mary Talbot won in biography for the graphic novel Dotter of her Father’s Eyes, a biography of James Joyce’s daughter, Lucia, interwoven with a memoir of the author’s own difficult relationship with her father, the Joycean scholar James S Atherton. Bryan Talbot is a veteran illustrator of underground comics and superhero stories.

Francesca Segal, a daughter of Love Story author Eric, won in the first novel category for The Innocents, set in the Jewish community in northwest London and modelled on Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.

Kathleen Jamie won the poetry prize for her collection The Overhaul, and writer/illustrator and dyslexia campaigner (she was herself once written off as unteachable) Sally Gardner won in the children’s category with Maggot Moon.

Each of the category winners gets £5,000. The overall winner, to be announced on January 29th, will win £30,000.


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