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Poet Jamie lauded as her collection wins top award

A poet whose work is to be immortalised at the Battle of Bannockburn monument has won one of Britain's most prestigious poetry prizes.

Kathleen Jamie told of her shock as she took the Poetry Award Prize in the 2012 Costa Book Awards for The Overhaul, which judges said "is the collection that will convert you to poetry".

Women writers were picked as winners in all five categories of the Costa awards.

The mother-of-three, who was brought up in Currie, Edinburgh, and lives in Fife, now becomes a contender for the Book of the Year title.

She is shortlisted alongside writers including double Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, who took the Novel Award for Bring up the Bodies.

The Costa judges, who include Poet Daljit Nagra, Ted Hodgkinson – online editor of Granta magazine – and Susan Sinclair, divisional manager of bookstore chain Foyles, said of The Overhaul: "We were blown away by the power of its simplicity."

Renfrewshire-born Ms Jamie, 50 – who beat newcomer Sean Borodale to the poetry award –said: "For me personally it is validation but also, it is good for literature and it's good for poetry in general."

Told that The Overhaul was described as "the collection that will convert you to poetry" she laughed: "Who said that? It was the judges? It's news to me.

"I don't know if poetry needs converts. It is always claimed that it doesn't have any followers, when actually there's millions."

The Overhaul, the poet's first collection since 2004's Forward Prize-winning The Tree House, has already been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. But Jamie recognises it would be a tough job to beat Ms Mantel to the ultimate Costa accolade.

"Hilary can win and we can all go to the party," she said. "This Costa prize has always been very hospitable to poets, but Hilary Mantel's book is so good. But then, who knows?"

The Costa poetry award judges said The Overhaul broadened Jamie's poetic range considerably. They added: "The Overhaul continues Jamie's lyric enquiry into the aspects of the world our rushing lives elide, and even threaten.

"Whether she is addressing birds or rivers, or the need to accept loss, or sometimes the desire to escape our own lives, her work is earthy and rigorous, her language at once elemental and tender."

Each of the five category winners receive a £5000 prize and compete for the Book of the Year title, to be announced in London on January 29, with the winner being awarded £30,000.

Maggot Moon by the former illustrator Sally Gardiner took the Children's award. Husband and wife team Mary and Bryan Talbot from Sunderland jointly won best biography for the graphic novel Dotter of Her Father's Eyes. Francesca Segal won the first novel category for The Innocents.

Last year's Costa Book Prize went to Andrew Miller for his novel, Pure.

The Overhaul has already been hailed as a favourite of 2012 by a number of poets, politicians and authors.

Robert Crawford, academic and poet, said: "I relished the clarity and cadences of Kathleen Jamie's new poems in The Overhaul. They have an inevitability of sound and shape that is immediately convincing, and they are full of satisfying phrases."

One of Jamie's poems was chosen for the Battle of Bannockburn monument site last month after 10 were ranked by the public. It is to be displayed on the timber ring beam which crowns the rotunda at the heritage site.

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