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Kate Atkinson Books In Order

Publication Order of Jackson Brodie Books

Case Histories (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
One Good Turn (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
When Will There Be Good News (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Started Early, Took My Dog (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Todd Family Books

Life After Life (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A God in Ruins (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Human Croquet (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Emotionally Weird (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Not the End of the World (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Plays

Abandonment (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Kate Atkinson, the daughter of a shopkeeper, was born in 1951 in York, England, United Kingdom. She went to the University of Dundee where she studied English literature and eventually obtained her Master’s degree in 1974. Consequently, Kate began to work on her doctorate degree in American Literature, by the title ’ The post-modern American short story in its historical context’’. Nonetheless she failed at the oral examination (viva) stage, and this she spoke about publicly. Around the same time, she got married for the first time but the marriage only lasted for two years.

On leaving the university, Atkinson took up several diverse jobs ranging from a home help to a teacher. Then, she lived in Whitby, Yorkshire and soon after she moved to Edinburgh where she got a teaching job at the University of Dundee. It was at this point that she began writing and she started with short stories. Currently, she still resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The author has been married twice; while she was a student to the father of her firstborn daughter eve and later on to the father of Helen, her second daughter.

As a child, Kate had no brothers or sisters to play around with and most of the times she sought companionship in books. She was more of a reader and at that time, the thought that she would one day become a writer maybe seemed far-fetched. The writer claims that as a child, she read Alice in Wonderland once a week for five years. With great enthusiasm too, she devoured her grandmother’s encyclopedias and all these seemed to come against what you’d expect from an only child.

Writing Career

She began writing for women’s magazines after she came out as the best writer in a Woman’s Own Short Story Competition in the year 1986. The story she submitted to the Woman’s Own Short Story Competition was the first piece that she had ever put out and it made her realize her potential as a writer. Afterward she again impressed readers and was runners-up for the Bridport Short Story Prize in 1990 and in 1993 she won an Ian St. James Award for her short story, ’Karmic Mothers’’ that was later adopted into a television series.

On winning the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 1995, Kate Atkinson was surprised but not as much as her critics that had labeled her book, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, as being anti-family and full of feminist twaddle. This point marked the breakthrough in her career. The book has been modified for radio, theatre and television. It was her first novel and was contending with works from Roy Jenkins and Salman Rushdie. She had been spotted by an agent, go herself a book deal and in three months her success was astounding. Though negative critic from the media was behind her on releasing the book, all that mattered to Atkinson was the much effort she had put in the book and the fact that a great part of the public had read and loved her multi-generational family saga.

Following Behind the Scenes at the Museum was Human Croquet (1997). The writer considers the novel her best and yet darkest. In 2000 came Emotionally Weird that is subtitled ’ A Comic Novel’’ and which greatly borrows from her childhood obsession for Alice the Wonderland. She engineered a magnificent shaggy-dog story, inclusive of migraine inducing array of typefaces, a riotous campus and a stray canine. In the novel, Effie and her mom, Nora, get refuge in an island off Scotland, narrating each other stories about their lives that are not exactly true. In the meantime bizarre things start to happen around them as the line between truth and twaddle becomes blurred. She admits that it was quite challenging to piece the story together and it was until the end that in a magical way it all came together.

Kate Atkinson has continued to write more books. She is a remarkable blend of alarming self-assurance and nervous vulnerability. Her work portrays a bit of humor, wisdom and fine characterizations which makes it illustrious. She gives her stories just the right twists and turns and all her plots turn out incredible. Some of her work features the former detective Jackson Brodie a former police inspector, now a private investigator.. All her novels featuring Jackson Brodie have been adapted under the series Case Histories. Nonetheless, she continues to receive both positive and negative criticism which is almost inevitable.

In 2009, Atkinson contributed the short story ’Lucky We Live Now’’ to Oxfam’s Ox-Tales project, four collections of UK stories done by 38 authors. Her story was published in the Earth collection. In 2010 she appeared at the York Literature Festival and gave a world premier reading from an early chapter of her novel, Started Early, Took My Dog (2010) that is largely set in the English city of Leeds. In addition, the author was appointed a Member Of The Order Of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honors services to literature.

Atkinson does not hesitate to talk about her failures. She says that if she never failed her doctorate, her life would have probably taken a different path and maybe she wouldn’t have been a writer. Kate Atkinson says, ’ your life is measured by the failures in it, not the success’’. The crumbling of her marriage drove her to thinking about writing fiction. She describes some of her writing as a combination of biography and therapy to allow her turn her internal chaos to objective external order.

It has not been all smooth sail for Kate Atkinson. Juggling between parenting, marriage and writing was not easy but her determinations saw her through. By the time she was leaving for University of Dundee, she totally had no idea of what she will find. She even had no idea where Dundee was. But today Dundee features greatly in her work, especially her third novel, Emotionally Weird. She has received numerous other awards and honors and continues to impress her readers with her amazing pieces. She is currently involved in the making of the screenplay of her novel, Behind the Scenes.

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