Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kennedy's Big Day

Scottish author A. L. Kennedy has emerged the overall winner of the 2007 Costa Prize (narrowly beating Catherine O'Flynn). Her novel Day is about the after effects of war, and was written as a response to the invasion of Iraq and she says she set out to draw parallels, and highlight the difference in morality, between the two conflicts.

Day centres on a traumatised second world war tail gunner, and you can read an extract here.

Chair of the judges, Joanna Trollope called the book:
... a perfectly and beautifully written novel. ... a masterpiece ...
and declared Kennedy:
... an extraordinary stylist
Kennedy used her acceptance speech to make a plea for fair treatment for authors and issued a strong pro-literacy message. Her impassioned plea to her audience:
If you genuinely care about reading and books, defend them.
When Kennedy is not writing, she works as a stand-up comedian, and is also an ordained minister*. Find out more about her here.

*Oops. Got this sort of wrong. See Rob's correction in the comments.

Postscript:

Post-win, Kennedy is interviewed by Stuart Jeffries in the Guardian, and Fiona Sampson on the Guardian blog pays tribute.

I've also really enjoyed Ariffa Akbar's piece in the Independent which brings this unique, funny, haunted, complex woman to life. (I am much tickled that her strongest ambition now is to be allowed to write episodes of Dr. Who! I'd like to lobby for that.)

5 comments:

Rob Spence said...

Don't take that ordained minister stuff too seriously. The FAQ on her website says:
ARE YOU AN ORDAINED MINISTER ?
Yes. Twice. By mail. Bless you for asking.

BUT ACTUALLY YOU’RE QUITE SERIOUS ABOUT RELIGION ?
I’m serious about the fact that human life has a spiritual aspect and I’m aware that I work in an area that is numinous, that relies on a power
outwith myself – my work reflects that. I think it is healthy to reflect that. I am not, however, a very good or religious person.

Anonymous said...

Yay! She has been deserving this for a while now. Glad she finally gets some big-time recognition.

Er, yeah, I had a high-school friend who was that kind of ordained minister :-) . Sent in the mail-order slip on a drunken dare.

-- Preeta

bibliobibuli said...

rob - *lol*! am trying to work out which of the sources i read this morning i picked that up from ... or misunderstood it from. thanks to pointing this out.

*she shuffles off shamefacedly to bed*

preeta - yes, i'm really glad for her too. and very much looking forward to reading this.

Rob Spence said...

Hi Sharon
Yes, I actually met her last year. She didn't seem very much like a minister:-)
Would a minister say this?
-scroll to the end.

bibliobibuli said...

that is so funny! many thanks