Booker winner, poet laureate vie for Costa


LONDON–Julian Barnes, who won this year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s poet laureate, were among the nominees for the 2011 Costa Book Awards announced on Tuesday. English author Barnes is one of four short-listed for the best novel category for “The Sense of an Ending,” the work that won him the coveted Booker award last month at the fourth time of asking. Scottish writer Duffy, who was made the nation’s poet in 2009, has been short-listed in the poetry section for “The Bees. ”The winner of each of the five categories — novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children’s book — will be revealed on Jan. 4, 2012 and the overall Costa Book of the Year winner on Jan. 24. Barnes is up against John Burnside for “A Summer of Drowning,” Andrew Miller for “Pure” and Louisa Young for “My Dear I Wanted to Tell You” in the novel category. Duffy takes on poets David Harsent for “Night,” Jackie Kay for “Fiere” and Sean O’Brien for “November.” The 2010 Costa Book of the Year also went to a work of poetry — “Of Mutability” by Jo Shapcott. Since 1985 the award, open to books first published in the United Kingdom or Ireland, has been won nine times by a novel, four times by a debut novel, five times by a biography, seven times by a collection of poetry and once by a children’s book. In the biography section, journalist Patrick Cockburn and his son Henry co-authored an account of the latter’s struggles with paranoid schizophrenia in “Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia — A Father and Son’s Story.”

Also in the category is Claire Tomalin’s account of Charles Dickens, who is expected to be the subject of a raft of books in the run-up to the bicentenary of his birth next February. The winner of each category receives 5,000 pounds (US$7,950) and the overall winner a further 30,000 pounds.

The awards, formerly the Whitbread Book Awards, are sponsored by the Costa coffee shop chain.