Atkinson's "Life After Life" wins British literary award

LONDON Mon Jan 6, 2014 1:30pm EST

LONDON Jan 6 (Reuters) - Kate Atkinson, author of award-winning "Behind the Scenes at the Museum", won the best novel of the year in the Costa Book Awards on Monday with her new book "Life After Life", about a woman who gets a second chance to live.

Lucy Hallett-Hughes's "The Pike", about Italian poet, serial seducer and proto-fascist warmonger Gabriele D'Annunzio, got the nod for best biography while Michael Symmons Roberts' latest collection of poems, "Drysalter", won the poetry award.

Writer, lecturer and mental health nurse Nathan Filer won the Costa First Novel Award for "The Shock of the Fall", about a man's descent into madness as he becomes aware of his role in the boyhood death of his older brother.

Political cartoonist Chris Riddell took the children's book award for "Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse", in which the girl of the title and a mouse named Ishmael team up to investigate the surprising secrets of the spooky mansion where she lives.

The Costa awards go to writers based in Britain or Ireland for a work published in the last year. They were established in 1971 by Whitbread but were renamed after Costa Coffee took over the sponsorship.

Each of the winners receives a prize of 5,000 pounds ($8,200) and is eligible for the Costa Book of the Year Award, which will be announced later this month.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year Award in 1985, it has been won 11 times by a novel, four times by a first novel, five times by a biography, seven times by a collection of poetry and once by a children's book.

Atkinson herself won it in 1995 for "Behind the Scenes at the Museum". The 2012 winner was Hilary Mantel's historical novel "Bring Up the Bodies". ($1 = 0.6083 British pounds) (Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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