Submissions for the coveted East Anglian Book Awards, which celebrate the outstanding literary culture of our region, are now open for entries.

Now in their 17th year, the awards are a longstanding partnership between National Centre for Writing, Jarrolds and the Eastern Daily Press, supported by the University of East Anglia Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

They recognise the books and writers who have been shaped by, and have helped to shape, the culture of the east of England.

The awards feature six categories: Fiction, Poetry, General Non-Fiction, History and Tradition, Biography and Memoir and The Mal Peet Children’s Award. 

The prize for the overall Book of the Year is £1,000.

This year will also see the return of the Book by the Cover Award, recognising the exceptional work of illustrators and book cover designers.

Holly Ainley, head of programmes and creative engagement at National Centre for Writing, said: "Launching the East Anglian Book Awards is always an exciting part of the year as we look forward to a wealth of entries across the six categories, offering an opportunity to uncover hidden gems from the past year of publishing.

"We never fail to receive an incredible range of submissions both inspired by our region and created and published by those living and working here – it’s a real moment to celebrate our thriving literary culture, past and present, here in the east.

"Along with the Exceptional Contribution Award, we’re delighted to see the return of the Book by the Cover award this year, recognising and championing the integral work by illustrators and designers in creating a book’s identity. I look forward to seeing the results."

Since the awards began, they have highlighted the work of more than 150 authors, 200 titles and 100 publishers.

(Image: Jarrolds)

Last year's book of the year winner was The Meaning of Geese, by renowned naturalist and conservationist and Norfolk magazine writer Nick Acheson.

Published by employee-owned publishing house Chelsea Green, The Meaning of Geese is a book of thrilling encounters with wildlife, of tired legs, punctured tyres and inhospitable weather.

The judging panel praised The Meaning of Geese for its compelling sense of place and use of language, as they were "transported to the countryside by the author’s beautiful turn of phrase. Just a delight."

Other previous winners include the celebrated writer and naturalist Mark Cocker and Sarah Perry, who went on to win the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her novel The Essex Serpent became a Waterstones Book of the Year and was adapted for Apple TV+ starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston.

Caroline Jarrold, community affairs adviser at Jarrolds, said: "The 2023 entries to the East Anglian Book Awards were as strong as ever and it was a delight to read all of the category winning books and have tough discussions around which should be the overall winner.

"East Anglia is a special place for authors, whether they live here or are inspired by the landscape, history or communities to write about it. With the strong literary connections through the University of East Anglia and the National Centre for Writing, the area seems to become an ever-stronger environment for publishing excellent titles.

"Once again, I look forward to receiving the category winners, getting stuck into reading them and interesting debates about who will be the overall winner."

(Image: Jarrolds)

For the purposes of the awards, East Anglia is defined as Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and the area of Fenland District Council. 

Works must have been published for the first time between August 6 2023 and August 5 2024, and must have been commercially available in physical bookshops. 

They must also be set largely in this area or be written by an author living in the region to qualify. 

To enter, books must be submitted digitally in PDF, EPUB and MOBI format. 

The deadline for submissions is 12 noon on Friday August 5 2024. 

The shortlisted books will be announced in autumn 2024, with the winning titles celebrated in spring 2025. 

For full details and terms and conditions visit the National Centre for Writing website