Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is the internationally bestselling author of eight novels, including Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News?, Started Early, Took My Dog, and Life After Life. She lives in Edinburgh. 

Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh.

She won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her last novel, Life After Life, was the winner of the Costa Novel Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize. It was also voted Book of the Year for the independent booksellers associations on both sides of the Atlantic. Her new novel, A God in Ruins, is a companion to Life After Life, although the two novels can be read independently.

She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.


‘A voice that is both idiosyncratic and wise, one that sees the world in a distinctive, dark, but oddly consoling way…Atkinson is often compared in terms of her complex plots and multifaceted characters to Charles Dickens. But the novelist Life After Life most conjures is her heroine Jane Austen, whose writing is also full of a sense of might-have-been’


'It doesn't really matter in which genre Atkinson chooses to write. Her subject is always the irrecoverable loss of love and how best to continue living once you have glumly recognised that "That was what the world was like, things improved but they didn't get better". Her gift is presenting this unnerving and subversive philosophy as a dazzling form of entertainment'

The Sunday Times


2014 - South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature Winner - Life After Life

Visit the South Bank Sky Arts Awards website

View: Life After Life

2013 - Costa Book Awards Winner (Novel of the Year) - Life After Life

Visit the Costa Book Awards website

2013 - Specsavers National Book Awards Winner - Waterstones Author of the Year

Visit the National Book Awards website

2014 - Independent Booksellers Book of the Year Winner (UK) - Life After Life

Visit the Independent Booksellers Week website

View: Life After Life

2014 - Indies Choice Book of the Year Winner - ABA (USA) - Life After Life

Visit the American Booksellers Association website

View: Life After Life

2011 - Awarded MBE for Services to Literature

Read more about the honours system

2009 - Richard & Judy Book Club Winner  - When Will There Be Good News?

Visit the Richard & Judy Book Club website

2004 - Saltire Book of the Year Prize and Prix Westminster - Case Histories

Visit the National Library of Scotland website

View: Case Histories

1995 - Whitbread (now Costa) Award Winner (Book of the Year) - Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Visit the Costa Book Awards website

A God in Ruins

A Novel


The stunning companion to Kate Atkinson's #1 bestseller Life After Life, "one of the best novels I've read this century" (Gillian Flynn).

"He had been reconciled to death during the war and then suddenly the war was over and there was a next day and a next day. Part of him never adjusted to having a future." 

Kate Atkinson's dazzling Life After Life explored the possibility of infinite chances and the power of choices, following Ursula Todd as she lived through the turbulent events of the last century over and over again. 

A GOD IN RUINS tells the dramatic story of the 20th Century through Ursula's beloved younger brother Teddy--would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father, and grandfather-as he navigates the perils and progress of a rapidly changing world. After all that Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is living in a future he never expected to have. 

An ingenious and moving exploration of one ordinary man's path through extraordinary times, A GOD IN RUINS proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the finest novelists of our age.


"Atkinson isn't just telling a story: she's deconstructing, taking apart the notion of how we believe stories are told. Using narrative tricks that range from the subtlest sleight of hand to direct address, she makes us feel the power of storytelling not as an intellectual conceit, but as a punch in the gut." (Publishers Weekly ).

"A grown-up, elegant fairy tale...a humane vision of people in all their complicated splendor." (Kirkus ).

"She also continues to write, as she did in Life after Life, about the savagery of war in clarion prose that is graphic in detail and possessed of a singular melancholy. And whether it is the stoic Teddy, his practical wife, his unbelievably selfish daughter, or his neglected grandchildren, every one of Atkinson's characters will, at one moment or another, break readers' hearts." (Booklist ).

"A novel so sublime I would nominate it to represent all books in the Art Olympics. The afterword deserves a literary prize all to itself. It is, as claimed on the sumptuous proof, even better than Life After Life." (The Bookseller ).

"Only as the book unfolds is each character more fully revealed. Ms. Atkinson's artistry in making this happen is marvelously delicate and varied."  (New York Times ).

"If you loved Atkinson's Life After Life, you're in luck. If you're one of the, say, five people who didn't read it: You're still in luck--Atkinson is a master at the top of her game. A quiet, moving portrait of a guy navigating life's small pleasures and painful failures." (Marie Claire ).

Read more