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Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson 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 2013 novel Life After Life won the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize, and voted Book of the Year for the independent booksellers associations on both sides of the Atlantic. It also won the Costa Novel Award, as did her subsequent novel A God in Ruins (2015).


‘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


2015 - Costa Book Awards Winner (Novel of the Year) - A God in Ruins

Visit the Costa Book Awards website

View: A God in Ruins

2014 - South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature Winner - Life After Life

Visit the South Bank Sky Arts Awards website

View: Life After Life

2014 - Independent Booksellers Book of the Year Winner (UK) - Life After Life

Visit the Independent Booksellers Week website

View: Life After Life

2014 - Indies Choice Book of the Year Winner - ABA (USA) - Life After Life

Visit the American Booksellers Association website

View: Life After Life

2013 - Costa Book Awards Winner (Novel of the Year) - Life After Life

Visit the Costa Book Awards website

2013 - Specsavers National Book Awards Winner - Waterstones Author of the Year

Visit the National Book Awards website

2011 - Awarded MBE for Services to Literature

Read more about the honours system

2009 - Richard & Judy Book Club Winner  - When Will There Be Good News?

Visit the Richard & Judy Book Club website

2004 - Saltire Book of the Year Prize and Prix Westminster - Case Histories

Visit the National Library of Scotland website

View: Case Histories

1995 - Whitbread (now Costa) Award Winner (Book of the Year) - Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Visit the Costa Book Awards website


Chatelaine: Q&A, Part 2: Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life

Chatelaine: Q&A, Part 1: Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life

'Life After Life,' The Many Deaths And Do-Overs Of Ursula Todd

Sydney Morning Herald - The Interview: Kate Atkinson

Nick Higham speaks to Kate Atkinson about her new novel Life After Life.

Genevieve Fox interviews Kate Atkinson, author of Started Early, Took My Dog, for the first week of the Telegraph Book Club.

Kate talks to The Scotsman about Started Early, Took My Dog.

Kate Atkinson on the origins of Behind the Scenes at the Museum.

Kate joins Jenni Murray to discuss When Will There Be Good News?

Kate being interviewed about One Good Turn on the Bat Segundo Show.

Kate talks about her novel, One Good Turn, and how starting her career later in life has had an impact.

Kate Atkinson’s Rescue Operation - an interview with Georgie Lewis on

A writer's life: Kate Atkinson - an interview with Helen Brown.


The story One Good Turn unfolds during the Edinburgh Festival - was this an intentional setting?

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.

You use adages [sayings] quite a lot in your books. In this instance it’s 'one good turn deserves another '. How important are these for you as a writer? Are they are unifying part, something that pulls the book together?

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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