The shortlist for the coveted East Anglian Book Awards 2023 has been revealed, celebrating the very best of publishing, writing, and reading in the region.

Now in their 16th year, the awards celebrate writing talent within the East of England.

The East Anglian Book Awards are a partnership between Jarrolds, the Eastern Daily Press, and the National Centre for Writing, supported by UEA Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

This year’s judges are: Susan Burton, Stephen Bumfrey, Amanda Hopkinson, Shannon Clinton-Copeland, Andrew McDonnell and Ella Micheler.

The shortlisted titles are:

Biography and Memoir

Judged by Stephen Bumfrey, former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter

An Angel Amongst Strange Bears: John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire, Blickling Hall by Joy Beresford Frye (Poppyland Publishing)

Eastern Daily Press: Tim MacWilliam

Sit Still Timmy! by Tim MacWilliam (Amazon)

Eastern Daily Press: Fiona Mason


36 Hours by Fiona Mason (Word After Word)


Judged by Andrew McDonnell, Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing, University Centre Peterborough

The Others of Edenwell by Verity M Holloway (Titan Books)

The Witching Tide by Margaret Meyer (Orion)

Foxash by Kate Worsley (Tinder Press)

General Non-Fiction

Judged by Susan Burton, historian and writer

The Meaning of Geese by Nick Acheson (Chelsea Green Publishing)

The History of the World in 100 Plants by Simon Barnes (Simon & Schuster)

The Invention of Essex: The Making of an English County by Tim Burrows (Profile Books)

History and Tradition

Judged by Amanda Hopkinson, Senior Fellow, University of East Anglia

Exploring Norfolk's Deep History Coast by Dr John A. Davies and Dr David M.G. Waterhouse (The History Press)

Eastern Daily Press:

The Road by Christopher Hadley (HarperCollins)

Norwich Textiles: A Global Story 1750-1840 by Michael Nix (Costume and Textile Association)

The Mal Peet Children’s Award

Judged by Ella Micheler, translator, publisher and editor, Kurumuru Books

The Golden Mango Tree by Karen Li (Branching Out Books)

Eastern Daily Press: The Golden Mango Tree by Karen Li

Hairy Humbug Hog by Oliver Sheldrake

Monster in the Woods by Dave Shelton (David Fickling Books)


Judged by Shannon Clinton-Copeland, writer, poet and researcher

Wild Life by James McDermott (Nine Arches Press)

Before the Dreadful Daylight Starts: An Anthology of Norfolk Poetry by Cameron Self and Kevin Gardner (Waterland Books)

The Human Portion by Nicola Warwick (V. Press Poetry)

While we received submissions from across the country, of the 18 shortlisted titles, one is published by Lowestoft-based independent publishers Poppyland Publishing and another published by Norwich-based independent charity, the Costume and Textile Association.

Former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Stephen Bumfrey, who judged the Biography and Memoir category, said: "Many of my studio guests over recent years have been from the literary world. Their stories, imaginations and life experiences never failed to engage with the audience.

"No surprise then that the invitation to be one of the judges for the 2024 awards was one I simply couldn’t turn down. And what a journey! I’ve been delighted, surprised and occasionally shocked. I’ve had plenty of laugh out loud moments but also times when I’ve been close to tears by the power of written word."

Christopher Hadley is a journalist and author writing at the murky, wonderful intersection of history and folklore. His book The Road is shortlisted for the History and Tradition category. He said: "A sense of place is always important to my writing and in The Road it is the landscape and history of East Anglia that haunts every mile, every page, so to have this recognition feels very special, not least because of the involvement of the National Centre for Writing and UEA and all they mean to anyone who cares about words and the power of story."

The winning book from each category will be considered by a final judging panel of representatives from Jarrolds, Eastern Daily Press, National Centre for Writing and University of East Anglia. One of these six finalists will go on to win the Book of the Year Award with a top prize of £1,000.

Submissions are also invited for the public to nominate organisations or individuals who contribute to making East Anglia a rich cultural destination for writers and readers alike for the Exceptional Contribution Award. Nominations can be submitted via the National Centre for Writing website - go to

The category winners will be announced in the Eastern Daily Press in January, followed by the overall Book of the Year Award and Exceptional Contribution Award later in the year.

To qualify for the East Anglian Book Awards, works must be set largely in East Anglia or be written by an author living in the region – which is defined as Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and the area of Fenland District Council.

Books must have been published for the first time between August 6 2022 and  August 5 2023. They must have been commercially available in physical bookshops.