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Wednesday, 5 January, 2000, 23:58 GMT
Heaney scoops Whitbread title
Heaney also won the Book of the Year title in 1997
Irish Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney has denied his old friend, the late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, a third successive Whitbread Poetry Award.

Ted Hughes and Heaney were old friends and collaborated
The 60-year-old Irishman's translation of the epic Beowulf has been named the winner of this year's title, beating Hughes's Alcestis.

The accolade now puts him in the shortlist for the overall prestigious Whitbread Book of the Year title alongside three other individual category winners - Rose Tremain, Tim Lott and David Cairns.

Heaney's reworking of the Anglo-Saxon classic was even dedicated to Hughes who died in 1998. The pair had worked together in the past to co-edit two anthologies.

They have dominated the previous three Book Of The Year titles. Hughes won in 1999 with Birthday Letters and 1998 with Tales From Ovid, while Heaney won the year before that with The Spirit Level.

Booker consolation

Rose Tremain, who was a surprise absentee from the Booker Prize shortlist last year, took the Whitbread Novel Award for her book Music And Silence, beating 104 other entries.

Model Jerry Hall is on the panel of judges
The First Novel Award went to Tim Lott's White City Blue - a dark look at some of today's lads.

David Cairns' book Berlioz Volume II: Servitude And Greatness, his work on the great 19th Century composer, took the Biography Award.

There will be a fifth entrant for the overall title when the winner of the Whitbread Children's Book Of The Year prize is awarded later this month.

Cash prizes

Heaney, Tremain, Lott and Cairns each win 2,000 with the chance of a further 21,000 for the eventual winner of the main prize.

The Book Of The Year winner will be chosen by a panel of nine judges - including model Jerry Hall and chaired by Dr Eric Anderson.

The winner will be announced on 25 January at a dinner in Whitbread's London headquarters.

The children's prize will be awarded the same night.

The Whitbread awards are now in their 29th year although the Book Of The Year category was not introduced until 1985.

See also:

07 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Hall joins book panel
10 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Hughes tipped for Whitbread treble
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