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Katharine Kilalea's One Eye'd Leigh Shortlisted for the Costa Awards; Win a Copy

Katharine KilaleaOne Eye'd LeighAlert! Hands up everyone who’s familiar with the work of Katharine Kilalea.

I thought as much; she’s new! Kilalea, a recent sojourner in the UK from South Africa (she left here in 2005), has published a first volume of poetry called One Eye’d Leigh that has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, perhaps better known by their former name, the Whitbread Book Awards.

Kilalea stands to win £5 000 if she tops the poetry category (winner announced 5 Jan 2010); and a further £25 000 if her book is the overall winner (announced 26 Jan).

Here’s the blurb for One Eye’d Leigh, published by Caracnet:

One Eye’d Leigh is a book of portraits, experiments and objects made of words. They find their locations between Cape Town and London, between the dawn of the new millennium and the present day. Guided by a biographical thread, in her first collection Kate Kilalea borrows the techniques of a craftsman to transform material into new shapes: an artist’s concentrated gaze at the very particular subject in her portrait poems; an embroiderer’s delicate craft of stitching to create a paced poetry, meticulous in detail. Her language is familiar, her forms transparent. She leads readers through a landscape in which the lucid angles of a chair might express love more precisely than the lines of a sonnet. It is the ways in which these poems turn what is familiar into something strange and new, what is stable fluid, and how out of light darkness is seen to shine, that make these poems powerful, haunting and original.

And here’s a clip of Kilalea reading her poem “The way we look is a game of chess”:

You can win Kilalea’s book, plus copies of all the other 2009 Costa shortlistees (in the categories first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children’s) with the Guardian:

We’ve teamed up with Costa to give you the chance to win one of two sets of all 20 books on the 2009 shortlist.

All you need to do is answer the question below by midnight on 31 December 2009.


Who won the 2008 Costa Book of the Year?

Good luck to all who enter; and good luck to Kilalea!

Book details

Photo courtesy


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    December 15th, 2009 @08:57 #

    My hand is up - she's a copywriter (or was?).

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    December 15th, 2009 @12:54 #

    My hand too! Kelwyn Sole told me to look out for her - he was very excited by her poetry. One can see why!


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