By any measure the response to Normal People has been remarkable. Described as “the literary phenomenon of the decade” by the Guardian, Rooney has already found herself on the Booker Prize longlist as well as winning the Waterstones’ book of the year and the international author of the year prize at the Specsavers national book awards.
Each year Costa recognises achievement in multiple categories, with the winners competing for the overall Book of the Year. Rooney is the youngest author to ever win the Novel of the Year category.
“As Perfect a Novel as You Could Ever Want to Read”
Second favourite, at 5/2, is Hilary McKay for The Skylark’s War. According to the judges, it is “as perfect a novel as you could ever want to read,” and describes the experiences of a family of children in Cornwall during the First World War.
The 4/1 third favourite is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, winner of the first novel award. J. O. Morgan’s war poem, Assurances, is the comparative longshot at 7/1.
Known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2006, the Costa Book Awards celebrate the best books written in English from writers based in Britain and Ireland. Previous winners include Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes, Andrea Levy’s Small Island and Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.