Christopher Reid Wins 2009 Costa Book of the Year
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Christopher Reid Wins 2009 Costa Book of the Year

January 27, 2010 // // London - 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 this evening (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 masterwork 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.

Notes for Editors:

  • The Costa Book Awards, formerly the Whitbread Book Awards, were established in 1971 to encourage, promote and celebrate the best contemporary British writing.
  • The total prize fund for the Costa Book Awards stands at £55,000.
  • The award winners from the five categories - Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book - each receive £5,000.
  • The overall Costa Book of the Year is selected from the five category Award winners with the winner receiving a further £30,000.
  • To be eligible for the 2009 awards, books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland between 1 November 2008 and 31 October 2009.
  • The 2009 Costa Book of the Year was The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Faber and Faber).
  • Since being announced as the Book of the Year, The Secret Scripture has gone on to sell over 300,000 copies and has become the fastest-selling book in the history of Faber and Faber.

About Costa:

  • Costa was founded by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971.
  • Costa Coffee was the first UK coffee shop chain to commit sourcing beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
  • Costa's in-store baristas are all coached in the art of coffee making at the company's unique Costa Coffee Academy based at its own roastery in Lambeth, London.
  • The Costa Foundation was set up in 2006 to give something back to the communities within the countries from which Costa sources its coffee beans. The Costa Foundation works with an independent charity partner, Charities Trust, and is operating under the auspices of Charities Trust's registered charity number 327489.
  • Costa is part of the Whitbread family of brands.



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