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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 10:52 GMT
Writer wins national book award
Jean Sprackland
Jean Sprackland described the award as a "vote of confidence"
A Merseyside author has won a prestigious national book award.

Jean Sprackland, of Southport, took the title in the poetry category of the Costa Book awards, formerly known as the Whitbread Prize.

The judges described her entry, Tilt, as "a great collection of crafted and delicate poems that tell us what it is to be alive now".

She will now go forward to the next stage of the competition to compete for the overall prize later this month.

Ms Sprackland says she was delighted at the award.

Buckled and split, slashed by rain
Moulded by bodies dead or disappeared
And reeking with secrets

From the poem Matresses

"My editor called me a couple of weeks ago so I've known for a little while and not been able to tell anybody. It's been very difficult to keep a secret so it's really nice to come out of the closet!

"I'm over the moon. It was completely unexpected. Being on the shortlist felt like winning a prize anyway so this is very special.

Tilt describes what reviewers call "a world in free-fall and where chaos and calamity are at our shoulder" where "trains stand still, zoos are abandoned, migrating birds lose their way".

Front cover
Judges said her poetry "gives a sense of what it is to be alive now"

Ms Sprackland said such recognition paid dividends personally as well as professionally.

"Obviously it's really good for the profile of the book and of my writing generally but there is a deeper significance in it for me which is that it's like an investment in my future writing.

"It gives me a sense of confidence about continuing to write honestly about the things that really matter."

But despite the boost the woman who has already garnered a clutch of awards, including the TS Eliot Prize for poetry, said she was not hopeful of an overall win at the awards ceremony on 22 January.

"It's very rare for the poetry book to win so I certainly won't be holding my breath on that score - I'll just be going to there to enjoy myself."

Costa Book Award list announced
02 Jan 08 |  Entertainment


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