2016 East Anglian Book Awards shortlist revealed

Book of the Year winner Julia Blackburn at the East Anglian Book Awards 2015 at Jarrold.

Book of the Year winner Julia Blackburn at the East Anglian Book Awards 2015 at Jarrold. - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

The shortlist has been revealed for the 2016 East Anglian Book Awards, showcase for the region's best literary talent, and organised by Jarrolds, the EDP and Writers' Centre Norwich. And the speaker has been announced for the November 3 awards night.

Number 1 best-selling author Simon Scarrow will be the speaker at this year's East Anglian Book Awar

Number 1 best-selling author Simon Scarrow will be the speaker at this year's East Anglian Book Awards. - Credit: Archant

Here they are, the 18 front-runners for the 2016 East Anglian Book Awards, now in their ninth year. Dozens of authors and publishers have submitted entries for this year's awards, which is a celebration of the region's writing and publishing.

The awards are staged in partnership between the EDP, Jarrold, Writers' Centre Norwich and UEA. The overall East Anglian Book of the Year winner receives a £1,000 prize, thanks to the support of the Paccar Foundation.

Since the awards began in 2008 they have showcased the work of well over 100 authors, 165 titles, and more than 80 publishers.

That winner will follow in the footsteps of Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske, by Julia Blackburn, which was named East Anglian Book of the Year 2015.

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An overall winner will be selected from the six categories and in addition East Anglian Writers will once again sponsor a prize for their award entitled Book by the Cover selected from all the shortlisted titles. And for the second year there will be an award (chosen by the organisers), the 'EABA UNESCO City of Literature Exceptional Contribution Award', to honour a person or organisation who has made a particular contribution to local writing and publishing.

As ever, it has been a very difficult job to decide on the shortlist from almost 100 entries received this year. All the judges found this year's shortlisting especially hard. Sheridan Winn - who is judging the Mal Peet Children's Book Award - commented: 'The standard of entries for this year's Mal Peet Award was exceptionally high – both in children's books and young adult stories – and the shortlisted titles were close run.'

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And Fiction category judge Elizabeth Haynes said: 'I loved all three of these books and would heartily recommend them to anyone. That said, it was an immense struggle to settle on a final three; there were many fabulous books on the list, proving if proof were needed that East Anglia is home to some of the finest literary talent anywhere.'

The categories, their judges - and that all-important shortlist - are as follows...

Biography & Memoir

The Wife of Cobham by Susan Curran (Lasse Press)

Jumpin' Jack Flash by Keiron Pim (Jonathan Cape)

Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms by Paul Willetts (Little, Brown)

Judge: Sophie Scott-Brown - Sophie is Participation & Learning Manager at Writers' Centre Norwich. She is a Norfolk girl in origin, but has spent the last few years in Canberra, Australia, where she completed her PhD, taught and organised events in the National Centre of Biography, ANU. Her passion is for creative non-fiction, in particular biography and history, and her biographical study of the British historian Raphael Samuel is published this month.


The Crime Writer by Jill Dawson (Hodder & Stoughton)

The Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson (Jonathan Cape)

Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg (4th Estate)

Judge: Elizabeth Haynes - Elizabeth Haynes is the author of four psychological thrillers and two police procedural novels, including Into the Darkest Corner which was Amazon UK's Rising Star of 2011 and is published in 34 countries. She participates annually in NaNoWriMo and lives in North Norfolk with her husband, son and Spanish rescue dogs, Curtis and Bea.

General Non-Fiction

Norfolk Landscapes: Broads, Brecks, Staithes and Churches by Doug Kennedy (Windgather Press)

The Elegant Fowl: A Printmakers' Parliament of Owls by Alan Marshall (Mascot Media)

Lost Country Houses of Norfolk: History, Archaeology and Myth by Tom Williamson, Ivan Ringwood and Sarah Spooner (Boydell & Brewer)

Judge: Bruce Kemble-Johnson - After schools in Lincolnshire and Norfolk, Bruce moved to Norwich to work at the Black Horse Bookshop. In recent years Bruce has worked in the Books Department at Jarrold's. His personal book interests include military history - especially wartime Prussia - and folklore. Bruce volunteers as a steward for the National Trust and has done so for more than 20 years.

History and Tradition

Burn the Sea by James Hayward (History Press)

The Angel Roofs of East Anglia by Michael Rimmer (Lutterworth Press)

Heyday: Britain and the Birth of the Modern World by Ben Wilson (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Judge: Trevor Heaton - Founder of the East Anglian Book Awards, Trevor is EDP features editor. A prolific local author himself, his most recent book is Turning Points: The Might-Have-Beens of Norfolk History. He has also just published a booklet, The Story of the Whissonsett Cross, exploring the archaeology of the Anglo-Saxon artifact.

The Mal Peet Children's Book Award

Fenn Halfin and the FearZero by Francesca Armour-Chelu (Walker)

Custom Fast Wheels by Joe Currie (Propolis)

Longbow Girl by Linda Davies (Chicken House)

Judge: Sheridan Winn - Sheridan is an author and freelance journalist and lives in Norwich. As a freelance journalist she has written for a wide range of international publications and is known for her profiles of business leaders. As an author, she is known for her bestselling Sprite Sister books aimed at readers aged 7-12 years and which has been particularly successful in Germany. She has just completed the tenth and final Sprite Sister story and is now writing three prequel titles. Sheridan gives regular talks and writing workshops to schools. Sheridan is also author of Boudica's Daughters, a YA novel set in Norfolk.


Complete Poems by R F Langley, edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod (Carcanet)

The Print Museum by Heidi Williamson (Bloodaxe)

What I Learned from Johnny Bevan by Luke Wright (Penned In The Margins)

Judge: Briony Bax - Briony is an editor, poet and social activist and has been the editor of Ambit Magazine, the literary and art quarterly since July 2013. She is the founder of The Orphan Support League charity and is a board member of Saidia Children's Charity (Kenya) and Ambit Magazine. After having lived in the United States for 25 years she now spends her time in the wilds of North Norfolk.

Sunday Times No 1 bestseller Simon Scarrow has been revealed as the guest speaker at this year's East Anglian Book Awards presentation night on Thursday November 3 at The Pantry Restaurant, Floor 3, at

Jarrold's Norwich store.

His many hugely successful books include the Eagles of the Empire novels featuring Roman soldiers Macro and Cato; as well as Hearts of Stone, set in Greece during the Second World War, Sword & Scimitar, about the 1565 Siege of Malta, and a quartet about Wellington and Napoleon including the No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller The Fields of Death.

Enjoy a delicious two-course meal and coffee, hear Simon's entertaining insights - and find out the winners of the six categories, the Exceptional Contribution award and 'Book by the Cover' award.

The evening highlight will, of course, be the announcement of the eighth East Anglian Book Awards overall

'Book of the Year' £1000 prize winner for 2016...

? After an 6.30pm arrival for 7pm start, the meal and coffee will continue until 8.30pm when the presentations will begin. The evening is scheduled to finish around 9.45pm.

? Tickets (£22.50) are available from Customer Services, Floor 2 (01603 660661) or via www.jarrold.co.uk.

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