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Wednesday, 13 January, 1999, 05:10 GMT
Hughes scoops another award
The late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes has won the Whitbread Poetry Award, the second award in two days for his work, Birthday Letters - and the second year running he has won the award.

The personal collection of verse letters to his former wife, Sylvia Plath, also scooped the TS Eliot prize on Monday.

Birthday Letters now joins the shortlist for the overall Whitbread Book of the Year Award, which Mr Hughes won last year with Tales From Ovid.

The Whitbread judges, who include newspaper editor Rosie Boycott and former Mastermind questionmaster Magnus Magnusson, said: "In this very personal collection of Hughes he avoids every pitfall of remorse, self-pity, self-justification that the subject, his wife's suicide, could have led him into.

"His account of that relationship seems hewn from granite."

The book, which unusually for a poetry work topped the bestseller list, was Mr Hughes's last to be published prior to his death from cancer last year, aged 68.

His work, Birthday Letters, broke years of a self-imposed silence on his grief over the break up of his marriage and the death of his wife and poet, Sylvia Plath.

The other winners in the Whitbread Award categories were also announced on Tuesday.

They are The Last King Of Scotland by Giles Foden, which wins the Whitbread First Novel Award; Leading The Cheers by Justin Cartwright, winner of the Whitebread Novel Award; and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, by Amanda Foreman, which picks up the Whitbread Biography Award.

Each of the winners receives 2,000 and will compete against each other for the overall prize to be announced on 26 January.

See also:

29 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Extracts from Hughes' Birthday Letters
29 Oct 98 | UK
Quiet man of intense verse
29 Oct 98 | UK
Poet Ted Hughes dies
06 Nov 98 | Entertainment
And the nominations are ...
11 Jan 99 | Entertainment
Hughes wins TS Eliot poetry prize
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