Edinburgh-based author Kate Atkinson is again in the running to win the prestigious Costa Novel Award – two years after she last scooped the title.
The 64-year-old, who won the Costa Novel Award last year for Life After Life, as well as in 1995 for the bestselling Behind The Scenes At The Museum when it was sponsored Whitbread, made this year’s shortlist for latest novel, A God In Ruins, earning her the opportunity to become a three-time winner of the prize.
Atkinson, whose four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC TV series Case Histories, has said readers don’t have to read Life After Life to read A God Ruins.
“Right from when I started Life After Life, I knew I was going to write A God in Ruins, which is why Teddy doesn’t really appear very much on the page in Life After Life, because I knew he had his own book,” she said. “I mean you don’t have to have read Life After Life to read A God in Ruins but I think it gives it a whole different layer. … I would love to just keep writing them as kind of a soap opera almost.”
Another Scot in the running for one of Britain’s top literary awards is Dundee-born poet Don Paterson, who made the Costa Poetry Award shortlist for his 40 Sonnets collection.
Paterson, who is also a composer and musician, won the Whitbread Poetry Award in 2003 for his book Landing Light.
The Costa Book Awards are only open to authors based in the UK and Ireland, and date back to 1971.
This year they attracted 638 entries across the five categories, which also include best first novel, best biography and best children’s book.
All five winners will be announced in January, and will then go on to compete for the honour of Costa Book of the Year, which comes with a £30,000 winner’s cheque.
Costa Novel Award
Kate Atkinson for A God in Ruins (Doubleday)
Anne Enright The Green Road (Jonathan Cape)
Patrick Gale for A Place Called Winter (Tinder Press)
Melissa Harrison for At Hawthorn Time (Bloomsbury)
Costa First Novel Award
Sara Baume for Spill Simmer Falter Wither (Windmill Books)
Kate Hamer for The Girl in the Red Coat (Faber & Faber)
Andrew Michael Hurley for The Loney (John Murray)
Tasha Kavanagh for Things We Have in Common (Canongate)
Costa Biography Award
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst for The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland (Harvill Secker)
Thomas Harding for The House by the Lake (William Heinemann)
Ruth Scurr for John Aubrey: My Own Life (Chatto & Windus)
Andrea Wulf for The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science (John Murray)
Costa Poetry Award
Andrew McMillan for Physical (Jonathan Cape)
Kate Miller for The Observances (Carcanet)
Don Paterson for 40 Sonnets (Faber & Faber)
Neil Rollinson for Talking Dead (Jonathan Cape)
Costa Children’s Book Award
Frances Hardinge for The Lie Tree (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Hayley Long for Sophie Someone (Hot Key Books)
Sally Nicholls for An Island of Our Own (Scholastic)
Andrew Norriss for Jessica’s Ghost (David Fickling Books)