Author Andrew Hurley really has something to write home about after his debut book won a major literary prize.
The librarian triumphed in the First Novel section of the Costa Book Awards to cap an “amazing” year as a full-time writer.
The Loney, a slow-burn Gothic horror story set in the Lancashire countryside – bestseller Stephen King hailed it as “an amazing piece of fiction” – beat four other shortlisted works to take the title.
It now goes forward for the overall Costa Book of the Year prize at an awards ceremony in three weeks’ time.
“Just to be on the shortlist was an amazing achievement for me,” said Andrew, who worked for five years at Kirkham Library.
“But to win the Costa First Novel prize and be up for the big one is beyond my wildest dreams.
The past 12 months have been exciting and surreal
“The past 12 months have been exciting and surreal and this really is the icing on the cake.”
The Loney has taken the publishing world by storm in the past year. It has been released in 11 countries and the film rights have now been sold. The Costa judges described it as: “As close to the perfect first novel as you can get.”
“Obviously it will help put my name out there a little bit more,” said Andrew.
“But I don’t know if it makes the next one harder to write. I’ll be under a bit of pressure now.”
Andrew’s second novel is a work in progress, although he has no idea yet when it will be ready for release.
“I don’t want to rush it. Novels take as long as they take. I just want to make it as good as I possibly can,” he said. “But I don’t judge success on the numbers sold – obviously that’s very nice – but it’s when people come up and say how much they liked it that matters to me.”