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Christopher Reid Wins 2009 Costa Book of the Year

by Sue Williams
26 January 2010

Poet Christopher Reid has won the 2009 Costa Book of the Year award for his collection, A Scattering, a tribute to his wife Lucinda Gane following her death in 2005. The announcement was made Tuesday 26th January at an awards ceremony held at Quaglino’s in central London.

The Costa Book Awards recognise the most enjoyable books of the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland. Originally established by Whitbread PLC in 1971, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK’s prestigious and popular book prize in 2006.

Reid beat odds-on favourite Colm Tóibίn for Brooklyn, debut biographer Graham Farmelo for The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius, first-time novelist Raphael Selbourne for Beauty and children’s author Patrick Ness for The Ask and the Answer, to win the overall prize and a cheque for £30,000 at the awards ceremony.

Following the judging, Josephine Hart, chair of the final judges, said: “Out of a personal tragedy, Christopher Reid has written a master work which has universal power. Austere, beautiful and moving – we all felt this is a book we would want everyone to read.  Packed full of unforgettable lines, A Scattering is a remarkable piece.”

A Scattering, published by Arete Books, is the sixth collection of poetry to take the overall prize. Seamus Heaney was the last poet to win the Book of the Year with a collection of poetry, taking the prize in 1999 for Beowulf.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won nine times by a novel, four times by a first novel, five times by a biography, five times by a collection of poetry and once by a children’s book.

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