COSTA POETRY AWARD 2020: THE HISTORIANS BY EAVAN BOLAND (CARCANET)
The late Eavan Boland, who died last April, aged 75, has been posthumously awarded this year’s Costa Prize for poetry for her collection, The Historians. Up to her death, Boland was professor of English and humanities, and director of the creative writing programme at Stanford University, California. The Costa Book Award is the only major book prize open solely to authors resident in Britain and Ireland. The Costa Book of the Year, chosen from the five category winners, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on 26 January. The 2019 Costa Book of the Year was The Volunteer: the true story of the Resistance hero who infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather.
The Costa judges praised The Historians as “an extraordinary book of lyrical power that has some of the finest lines of poetry written this century”. Throughout her nearly 60-year career, Eavan Boland came to be known for her ability to weave myth, history, and the life of ordinary women into captivating poetry. She was an essential voice in both feminist and Irish literature, praised for her precision, sympathy and warmth alongside an unsettling sense of history. The Historians explores the ways in which the hidden, sometimes all-but-erased stories of women’s lives can powerfully influence our sense of the past.