Sebastian Barry took home the Costa Book of the Year award last week for Days Without End, making him the first ever novelist to win this £30,000 prize twice (previously winning in 2008; the prize has been won twice by poets, however). The book follows a man named Thomas, who escapes to America from Ireland during the famine of the mid-nineteenth century.

In other book news:

George R R Martin’s next story, The Sons of the Dragon, is due out this October, as part of a fantasy anthology book: The Book of Swords. This will be a companion tale to his main Song of Ice and Fire series which will focus on the ancient Targaryen bloodline and the impact on Westerosi history of some of the most intriguing rulers to have sat on the Iron Throne. The sixth book of the series is still in progress.

Colm Tóibín, the best-selling Irish author of Brooklyn and other novels, has been appointed Chancellor or the University of Liverpool. Although this role is granted on a ceremonial basis rather than as an official post, the position involves being a spokesperson for the university on the international stage.

George Orwell’s 1984 surged to the top of book charts in the US last week, following increasing momentum of the anti-Trump protests and backlash since the new president took office. Moreover, the novel is now being adapted for a Broadway play in New York beginning this June.