Saboteur Spotlight: Best Reviewer of Literature 2021, Isabel Costello

Congratulations on your recent win at the Saboteur Awards Festival 2021! How did you feel when you found out that you’d been shortlisted this year?

Thanks, I was really delighted – I’d been shortlisted and commended in previous years which is an honour in its own right. I never expected to win!

Do you feel the pandemic has impacted your work at all; made it harder, or perhaps even easier, to reach people and to promote what you’re doing?

I’ve had several periods of finding it very difficult to concentrate on reading which has never happened before; quite a challenge when your whole life revolves around books! As I wasn’t the only one with this issue, I switched to doing shorter reading round-ups of four books at a time which proved popular. My second novel Scent (Muswell Press) was released in April 2021, fortunately just as bookshops were about to reopen. Like many, I’ve ended up embracing online book events, podcasts etc; they’re a great way to reach more people. That said, I can’t wait for in person events to restart.

Are you working on anything at the moment that you might be able to tell us a little about?

Earlier this month I released my Summer Reads selection which is going down well and am already thinking about what titles might work for the shorter follow-up in July. I’ve had an idea for my next novel which is getting bigger and brighter by the day and am hoping to unplug over the summer to make a start on the writing. 

Of course, one of the real shortfalls of not being able to run a live awards show is that people miss out on the opportunity to share an acceptance speech. While you’ve got the platform to, is there anything you’d like to share with readers about your win?

As I don’t review anywhere else, winning Best Reviewer of Literature is effectively a fantastic validation of my Literary Sofa blog in the run-up to its 10th anniversary in September. Sharing my love of books and supporting other writers – and independent publishers in particular – has been the one constants of the past decade for me. It’s been good for my career and a joy that has made me many real-life friends. Bloggers now play a vital part in book promotion, especially for titles which don’t have a big marketing budget, and doing my bit to up their visibility is very rewarding.  I’d like to thank my guest authors, everyone whose support and appreciation means so much to me, those who voted for me in this year’s Saboteur Awards and you for organising them.

Once again, a huge congratulations to Isabel from all of us here at Sabotage Reviews for winning the Best Reviewer of Literature category for 2021; a fantastic and deserved achievement. You can keep up to date with Isabel’s work by following her on Twitter – @isabelcostello – and by keeping an eye on her website, available here.

Make sure you keep an eye on the website next Wednesday (June 30) for the next in the spotlight series.