Kate Atkinson

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Kate Atkinson
Atkinson signing books at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (August 2007)
Atkinson signing books at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (August 2007)
Born (1951-12-20) 20 December 1951 (age 67)
York, England, United Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of Dundee
GenreCrime fiction
ChildrenEve Worden

Kate Atkinson, MBE (born 20 December 1951) is an English writer. She won the Whitbread Book of the Year prize in 1995 and, under its new name the Costa Book Awards, in 2013 and 2015 in the Novels category.


The daughter of a shopkeeper, Atkinson was born in York, the scene of several of her books.[1] She studied English literature at the University of Dundee, gaining her master's degree in 1974. Atkinson subsequently studied for a doctorate in American literature, entitled "The post-modern American short story in its historical context".[1] She failed at the viva (oral examination) stage. After leaving the university, she took on a variety of jobs from home help to legal secretary and teacher.

Atkinson has been married twice: while a student, to the father of her first daughter Eve, and subsequently to the father of her second daughter Helen.[1] She lives in Edinburgh.[2]

Writing career[edit]

Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year and went on to be a Sunday Times bestseller. Since then, she has published another nine novels, one play, and one collection of short stories. A series of four novels, starting with Case Histories, has featured the character of Jackson Brodie as a private investigator and former police inspector.[3]

Her work is often celebrated[by whom?] for its wit, wisdom and subtle characterisation, and the surprising twists and plot turns[citation needed]. She has frequently criticised the media's coverage of her work – when she won the Whitbread award, for example, it was the fact that she was a "single mother" who lived outside London that received the most attention.[4] Now retired she lives alone in Stoke-on-Trent with her dog. In a recent interview she declared that she did not spend time in great literary parties or the London high life.[4]

In 2009, she donated the short story "Lucky We Live Now" to Oxfam's Ox-Tales project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Atkinson's story was published in the Earth collection.[5] In March 2010, Atkinson appeared at the York Literature Festival, giving a world-premier reading from an early chapter from her novel Started Early, Took My Dog (2010), which is set mainly in the English city of Leeds.

Atkinson was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to literature.[6] On 30 November 2018 she was the guest on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs.[4]

Published works[edit]


Novels featuring Jackson Brodie[edit]



Story collections[edit]

Television adaptations[edit]

The four Jackson Brodie novels have been adapted by other writers for the BBC under the series titled Case Histories, featuring Jason Isaacs as Brodie.

In 2015 in the United States, Shonda Rhimes was in the process of developing a pilot called The Catch, based on a treatment written by Atkinson, and starring Mireille Enos.[11][12]

Awards and honours[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Atkinson lived in Whitby, North Yorkshire, for a time, but now lives in Edinburgh near the authors JK Rowling, Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Brown, Helen (29 August 2004). "A writer's life: Kate Atkinson". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  2. ^ About
  3. ^ https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/kate-atkinson
  4. ^ a b c "Kate Atkinson, novelist". Desert Island Discs. BBC Radio 4. 30 November 2018. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Ox-Tales". Oxfam. Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  6. ^ "No. 59808". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2011. p. 13.
  7. ^ https://www.thebookseller.com/news/new-kate-atkinson-novel-transcription-coming-next-year-687491
  8. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/2018/sep/11/kate-atkinson-on-her-new-novel-transcription-books-podcast
  9. ^ Atkinson, Kate. "Big Sky". www.penguin.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  10. ^ "Kate Atkinson". Fantasticfiction.co.uk. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  11. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (12 March 2015). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Archived from the original on 25 November 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  12. ^ Nellie Andreeva. "Shonda Rhimes Teams Up With British TV showrunner Julie Annie Robinson For 'The Long Game' - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  13. ^ [dead link] Allen, Kate (7 September 2009). "Coben, Cole, Atkinson vie for crime awards". The Bookseller. Archived from the original on 10 September 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  14. ^ "Former winners recapture Costa prize". BBC News. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Walter Scott Prize Shortlist 2014". Walter Scott Prize. 4 April 2014. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  16. ^ "South Bank Sky Arts Awards – Winners 2014". West End Theatre. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Costa Book Awards" (PDF). Costa Novel Award Winner 2015. Costa Coffee. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  18. ^ Ian Rankin Archived 1 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine. No. 1 Magazine, Retrieved 24 February 2014

External links[edit]