Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh.
She won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her last novel, Life After Life, was the winner of the Costa Novel Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize. It was also voted Book of the Year for the independent booksellers associations on both sides of the Atlantic. Her new novel, A God in Ruins, is a companion to Life After Life, although the two novels can be read independently.
She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.
‘A voice that is both idiosyncratic and wise, one that sees the world in a distinctive, dark, but oddly consoling way…Atkinson is often compared in terms of her complex plots and multifaceted characters to Charles Dickens. But the novelist Life After Life most conjures is her heroine Jane Austen, whose writing is also full of a sense of might-have-been’
'It doesn't really matter in which genre Atkinson chooses to write. Her subject is always the irrecoverable loss of love and how best to continue living once you have glumly recognised that "That was what the world was like, things improved but they didn't get better". Her gift is presenting this unnerving and subversive philosophy as a dazzling form of entertainment'
The Sunday Times
2014 - South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature Winner - Life After Life
2013 - Costa Book Awards Winner (Novel of the Year) - Life After Life
2013 - Specsavers National Book Awards Winner - Waterstones Author of the Year
2014 - Independent Booksellers Book of the Year Winner (UK) - Life After Life
2014 - Indies Choice Book of the Year Winner - ABA (USA) - Life After Life
2011 - Awarded MBE for Services to Literature
2009 - Richard & Judy Book Club Winner - When Will There Be Good News?
2004 - Saltire Book of the Year Prize and Prix Westminster - Case Histories
1995 - Whitbread (now Costa) Award Winner (Book of the Year) - Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Interview date: 27th Apr 2013
Interview date: 20th Apr 2013
Interview date: 28th Mar 2013
Interview date: 16th Mar 2013
Interview date: 14th Mar 2013
Interview date: 30th Jun 2011
Interview date: 13th Aug 2010
Interview date: 1st Nov 2008
Interview date: 12th Aug 2008
Interview date: 21st Dec 2006
Interview date: 18th Nov 2006
Interview date: 26th Oct 2006
Interview date: 29th Aug 2004
I set the book during the Edinburgh Festival because I needed a reason for Julia to come to Edinburgh, so it was very practical reason. The festival then opened up all sorts of opportunities in the book, certainly for a much richer background and also to increase Jackson’s alienation. In the books he’s a stranger to Edinburgh and in One Good Turn he comes to it at a point in its annual life when it’s not really itself. I think the absurdity of a lot of the stuff he’s encountering makes it quite alienating for him.
I don’t know about using adages. I don’t think of myself as someone who uses adages particularly, except that they are part of a much bigger linguistic pattern. I do use proverbs and biblical language and I also use a lot of quotations from literature. I quote constantly from other sources and I try to make them a fairly seamless part of the text. I think it’s interesting to turn to phrases and proverbs and adages that are very familiar and then to re-use them and look at them in a different way.
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