Friday, January 29, 2010

Poet Chosen Over Toibin in Literary Prize Shocker
By Dave Itzkoff writing in The New York Times

Left - Colm Toibin

It was supposed to be the literary prize that Colm Toibin was going to win in a walk — the one for which his novel “Brooklyn” was named the “runaway favorite” by one British newspaper, for which one British bookmaker gave 6-to-4 odds in the author’s favor and another declared it dead even.

Instead, Mr. Toibin has gone home a runner-up in the Costa book of the year competition, having lost to a poet. The Guardian reported that Christopher Reid was named the winner of the Costa award for his collection “A Scattering,” about his wife, Lucinda Gane, who died in 2005. Mr. Reid became only the fourth poet to win the prestigious British literary award — and its prize of about $48,000 — following Douglas Dunn, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney (who was the most recent poet to claim victory, in 1999).

Josephine Hart, one of the prize’s 11 jurors, told The Guardian, “It is a devastating piece of work and all of us on the jury felt it was a book we would wish everybody to read.” In addition to “Brooklyn,” other finalists for the award included Patrick Ness’s children’s book “The Ask and the Answer”; Raphael Selbourne’s first novel, “Beauty”; and Graham Farmelo’s biography of the quantum physicist Paul Dirac, “The Strangest Man.”

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