The search is on for the best books from the east of England

An elderly woman in a wheelchair reading a book during summer day outside in the garden of a care ho

Many of us have found comfort in reading during the last year. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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

Now in their 14th year, the East Anglian Book Awards recognise the books and writers who have been shaped by, and have helped to shape, the culture of the East of England.

Author Sarah Perry who is set to have her first novel published. She is set to be amongst the avalan

Author Sarah Perry is among the former winners of the Book of the Year Award at the East Anglian Book Awards - Credit: Steve Adams

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

Previous winners include multi-award-winning author and naturalist Mark Cocker, and Sarah Perry, who went on to win the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and whose novel The Essex Serpent became a Waterstones Book of the Year.

Mark Cocker

Nature writer Mark Cocker is another former East Anglian Book Awards winner - Credit: Archant

The award partners are the Norwich-based National Centre for Writing, the University of East Anglia, Jarrold and the Eastern Daily Press.

They are supported by the PACCAR Foundation.

Peggy Hughes, Programme Director at the National Centre for Writing, said: "We're always hugely excited for the East Anglian Book Awards, and for the opportunity to showcase and champion the talented East Anglian writers and publishers putting brilliant words and ideas into the world.

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"It's our 14th edition and following this year where books have meant more – escape, comfort, question and joy – to many than ever, we and our prize partners can't wait to explore and celebrate the range and ambition of these new books and their writers."

Holly Ainley, book buyer at Jarrold, said: "The past year has seen our sense of place and local community – themes the East Anglian Book Awards have always been underpinned by – become more critical than ever.

"Along with our partners, Jarrold is excited to witness how this has been reflected in new writing in and about our region.

"The place of the awards in showcasing the range and quality of literary output across the East of England has never felt stronger and we so look forward to reading this year’s entries."

Emma Lee, of Archant, said: "I'm excited to be involved with the East Anglian Book Awards for a second year. Reading has always been a source of joy for me, and never more so than during the last 12 months.

"Books have provided some much-needed comfort through the difficult times we've been going through, and these awards are a brilliant way to celebrate and show our appreciation for the writers living and setting their stories in our region."

Cover of The House of One Hundred Clocks by AM Howell

The House of One Hundred Clocks by AM Howell was the 2020 East Anglian Book of the Year - Credit: Usborne

Professor Sarah Barrow, Pro Vice Chancellor of Arts and Humanities at UEA, said: "The Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of East Anglia is pleased to collaborate with the National Centre for Writing for the 14th year of the East Anglian Book Awards.

"The literary culture across East Anglia is thriving and diverse and continues to produce many world-class authors including via our own Creative Writing programme which is now in its 50th year.

"We are really pleased to work with our partners once again to support this exciting competition.

"We wish all entrants the very best of luck."

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, courtesy of the PACCAR Foundation.

This year will also see the return of the Exceptional Contribution Award in local publishing, as well as the Book by the Cover design award, sponsored by East Anglian Writers.

Soft cuddly tabby cat lying in its owner's lap enjoying and purring while the owner is reading a boo

Reading has provided escapism for many during the pandemic - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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 physically published for the first time between July 25 2020 and July 30 2021 and must have been commercially available in bookshops.

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

Due to Covid-19, books must be submitted digitally in PDF, EPUB and MOBI format.

The deadline for submissions is noon on Friday July 30 2021.

For full details and frequently asked questions please visit the National Centre for Writing website