A decision not to cash in on her uncle’s farm in 2004 looks to have paid literary dividends for Irish writer Selina Guinness. The author’s memoir, The Crocodile by the Door, details her complicated inheritance of Tibradden, a Victorian farmhouse in the Dublin Mountains, which could have achieved a sizeable sum had it been sold.
Instead, Selina and her husband Colin decided to try farming and bring the business and buildings into the 21st century. The memoir has now been shortlisted in the biography section of the Costa Book Awards 2012.
Guinness says she is “thrilled and a bit chuffed”, adding she has struggled to keep the news to herself since she was told about it several days ago. A decision on the category winners is due on January 2nd and each will go forward for consideration for the £30,000 Costa Book of the Year on January 29th.
“You always hope as a writer you’re on to a story that can chime with other people,” Guinness says. “The book is an exploration of place and what it means to live on, work in and farm a place, at a time when these are unprofitable activities and the land we were farming was worth millions.” The memoir is also shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards as newcomer of the year. The winners of that award will be announced in the RDS tonight.