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The writer of the popular \"Harry Potter\" children\'s books has been named author of the year in the British Book Awards after being beaten by \"Beowulf\" in two other recent prestigious literary competitions.
J. K. Rowling, whose books about the adventures of a child wizard enrolled in a witchcraft school have been the focus of controversy in the United States, beat five other contenders, including horror writer Stephen King, to take the prize Thursday night.
Her latest tale, \"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,\" had twice come second this year to Irish poet Seamus Heaney\'s translation of the Anglo Saxon epic poem \"Beowulf,\" which won the top prizes at both the Whitbread Book Awards and the South Bank Show Awards.