Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is an award winning author of 10 best selling novels.  She has won the Costa Prize for Novel of the year 3 times for Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995), Life after Life (2013) and A God in Ruins (2015).  She no longer allows her books to be put forward for prizes. She states that “the whole thing is slightly distasteful… I’d rather remove myself from the whole process than find myself annoyed for not being on a list.” (Kate Atkinson speaking in the I newspaper 2019) 

She was born in York and has a Masters degree from Dundee University. In 2011 she was appointed an MBE for services to literature. 
Big Sky started life as a screenplay about a female detective and was written for Victoria Wood. Atkinson put the script aside after Wood’s death in 2016. She eventually decided that it would work for her popular character Jackson Brodie.   

Big Sky is the fifth in Brodie series.  The others are Case Histories (2004), One Good Turn (2006), When Will There Be Good News (2008) and Started Early, Took My Dog (2010) She says that she has an “imaginary sense of smell” which helps with her writing as the past has a different smell to the present. 

Atkinson is also a playwright.  Her plays Nice (1996) and Abandonment (2000) were both written for the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. 

In the end, it is my belief, words are the only things
that can construct a world that makes sense.

Kate Atkinson, Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Behind The Scenes At The Museum

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Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster telling a woman in an emerald dress and a D-cup that he wasn’t married. Bunty had never wanted to marry George, but here she was, stuck in a flat above the pet shop in an ancient street beneath York Minster, with sensible and sardonic Patrica aged five, greedy cross-patch Gillian who refused to be ignored, and Ruby…Ruby tells the story of The Family, from the day at the end of the nineteenth century when a travelling French photographer catches frail beautiful Alice and her children, like flowers in amber, to the startling, witty, and memorable events of Ruby’s own life.

Human Croquet

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Written by the Whitbread prizewinner Kate Atkinson, Human Croquet is an exhilarating and witty novel which provides an audacious blend of history, Shakespeare, and a hilariously dysfunctional family of eccentrics.

Emotionally Weird

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Third novel by the bestselling author of When Will There Be Good News? – the ultimate (hilarious) 1970s campus novel.On a peat and heather island off the west coast of Scotland, Effie and her mother Nora take refuge in the large mouldering house of their ancestors and tell each other stories.Nora, at first, recounts nothing that Effie really wants to hear, like who her father was – variously Jimmy, Jack, or Ernie.Effie tells of her life at college in Dundee, the land of cakes and William Wallace, where she lives in a lethargic relationship with Bob, a student who never goes to lectures, seldom gets out of bed, and to whom the Klingons are as real as the French and the Germans (more real than the Luxemburgers).But strange things are happening. Why is Effie being followed? Is someone killing the old people? And where is the mysterious yellow dog?

Not the end of the world

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Playful and profound, this collection of stories explores the world we think we know while offering a vision of another world which lurks beneath the surface of our consciousness, a world where the myths we have banished from our lives are startingly present & where imagination has the power to transform reality.

The Flea Palace 

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Full of suspense and heartbreak, ‘Case Histories’ is a feat of bravura storytelling that conveys the mysteries of life, its inanities and its hilarities. Jackson is 45 but feels much older. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life is brought sharply into focus.

One Good Turn

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It is summer, it is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident – a near-homicidal attack which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander – until he becomes a murder suspect. As the body count mounts, each member of the teeming Dickensian cast’s story contains a kernel of the next, like a set of nesting Russian dolls. They are all looking for love or money or redemption or escape: but what each actually discovers is their own true self.

When will there be good news?

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In a quiet corner of rural Devon, a six-year-old girl witnesses an appalling crime. 30 years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison.In Edinburgh, 16-year-old Reggie, wise beyond her years, works as a nanny for a GP. But her employer has disappeared with her baby and Reggie seems to be the only person who is worried. Across town, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is also looking for a missing person, unaware that hurtling towards her is a man from her past – former detective Jackson Brodie – himself on a journey that is about to be fatally interrupted.

Started early, took my dog

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A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a purchase she hadn’t bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy’s humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn. Witnesses to Tracy’s Faustian exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else’s roots. All three characters learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished.

Life after Life

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Kate Atkinson’s ‘Life After Life’ explored the possibility of infinite chances, as Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In ‘A God in Ruins’, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

A god in ruins

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Written to be read over a long commute or a short journey, they are original and exclusively in digital form. This is Elif Shafak’s examination of national identity.”You know, I never understand. How come their children are so quiet and well disciplined?””Yeah,” said the distressed father, his voice suddenly softer. “Blond children never cry, do they?”As Elif Shafak stands in line at the airport, she overhears a Turkish father expressing to a friend his bewilderment at the cultural differences he’s experienced since immigrating to northern Europe. Is it true, she wonders, that the citizens of these countries are genuinely happier? Why do people leave their homes for other countries? And what lessons can we all learn, for the creation of truly harmonious societies, from the experiences of immigrants?In the light of the recent backlash against multiculturalism and the influx of millions of Muslims into Europe from the east, this powerful and personal essay uses the lived experience of immigrants to examine this most hotly debated subject.

Transcription

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In 1940, 18-year-old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathisers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realise that there is no action without consequence.Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of this country’s most exceptional writers.

Big Sky

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The return of Jackson Brodie, ex-military, ex-Cambridge Constabulary, now private investigator, ‘a hero for men and women alike’. Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son Nathan and ageing Labrador Dido, both at the discretion of his former partner Julia. It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, seems straightforward, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network – and back into the path of his old friend Reggie.

The world inside his head was so much better than the world outside his head.

Kate Atkinson, One Good Turn

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