Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reid's "masterwork" wins Costa 2009

27.01.10 Tom Tivnan and Catherine Neilan in The Bookseller

Christopher Reid
has won the 2009 Costa Book of the Year Award for his collection of poems entitled A Scattering (Arete), beating off competition from front runner Colm Toibin.

Chair of the panel, novelist Josephine Hart, said A Scattering - an elegy to Reid's wife who died in 2005 - had won by "a substantial majority". She described the title as "a masterwork", which "took a very personal tragedy and made the emotions universal".
She added: "It speaks of the truth of love before and after death. It's a reverberating piece of work, something we want everyone to read, from adolescence to old age."

As well as beating competition from Toibin, who won the Novel award for Brooklyn (Viking), Reid also saw off First Novel winner Raphael Selbourne for Beauty (Tindal Street Press), Biography winner The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius (Faber) by Graham Farmelo and Children's winner Patrick Ness for The Ask and The Answer (Walker). The prize money totalled £30,000.

Reid's work was the least commercially successful of the five, having racked up just 972 sales since it was published just over a year ago, to 23rd January 2010. The most successful title, Brooklyn, has sold nearly 34,000 titles across all editions, according to Nielsen BookScan.

This is the fifth time the Costa has been awarded to a poetry book. The last, in 1999, went to Seamus Heaney for Beowulf.

The Bookman notes that in addition to winning the Costa Poetry Prize with A Scattering (Areté Books), it was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize and is currently on the T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist.

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.

Further footnote:
Bill Manhire from Victoria University of Wellington has reminded me that they brought Christopher Reid to the IIML last year to lead a masterclass with our MA students. He also gave a public presentation at Te Papa (in our Writers on Mondays session) and a seminar on the editing of Ted Hughes's letters. Plus he contributed several poems to our e-journal Turbine, which went on-line late in 2009:

(This year they are getting Glyn Maxwell to run the annual poetry masterclass for our students.)
And another footnote:
Listen here to hear Christopher Reid in conversation with Kim Hill.

No comments: