Celebrating our region’s literary riches at the eighth East Anglian Book Awards
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
The very special character of our region and its writers were celebrated on Thursday night in the eighth East Anglian Book Awards.
The awards, which are organised by the EDP, Jarrold and The Writers' Centre Norwich, in association with the UEA, saw Julia Blackburn's part-memoir, part-biography Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske pick up the £1,000 overall prize, sponsored by the PACCAR Foundation.
Julia's book, which weaves the story of the Norfolk fisherman-artist with her own experiences, has won huge acclaim since its publication, and its latest success was a popular choice at the event, held in Jarrold's restaurant.
Threads, published by Jonathan Cape, also won its category –Biography & Memoir – and also scooped the 'Book by the Cover' design award which is chosen by members of East Anglian Writers.
Earlier, guests had heard main speaker Sarah Perry, the 2014 overall EABA winner with her novel After Me Comes The Flood, talk about her love for the region. Its 'strange and marvellous landscape' had produced 'an embarrassment of riches' of fine writers, she said. East Anglia's unique character was also highlighted by fellow novelist Esther Freud, who spoke of the 'uplifting specialness of these counties which are the love of my life'.
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A new award for lifetime achievement was made to Susan Yaxley, of Stibbard-based publisher Larks Press, and accepted by her husband David on her behalf.
The category judges – and their comments – were as follows:
- 1 Norfolk woman fined after travelling 200 miles to visit daughter
- 2 Atlantis Tower up for sale after owner signs ‘outrageous’ loan deal
- 3 Covid rates continue to fall across Norfolk, especially in Norwich
- 4 Fired twice in two months: Events boss feels the pain of Covid
- 5 Norfolk bowls star tests positive at world indoor championships
- 6 9 of Norfolk's most famous blue plaques
- 7 Man's neck broken after being hit by 800kg load which fell off forklift
- 8 Revealed: The areas where Covid cases are still increasing
- 9 Centre takes action after IT failure causes long queues for Covid jab
- 10 Man admits defrauding more than £1.3m from Norfolk firm
•MAL PEET CHILDREN'S AWARD (Judge: Sheridan Winn)
Pat-a-Cake Baby, by Joyce and Polly Dunbar (Walker Books)
'For sheer originality and imagination, coupled with first-class writing, illustration and production values, Pat-a-Cake ticks all the boxes.'
The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams (Granta)
'Aldersey-Williams' book is a delight from start to finish, taking readers on a very personal journey through the life and times of a true 'Renaissance man' and finding all kinds of echoes in modern-day East Anglia and the wider world.'
•HISTORY & TRADITION
Norfolk Parish Treasures: North and West Norfolk, by Peter Tolhurst (Black Dog Books)
'Continues that tradition started before the Second World War with the King's England series by Arthur Mee, followed by the Shell guide and of course the Pevsner architectural series of guides… that will stand equally beside its predecessors.'
•BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske, by Julia Blackburn (Jonathan Cape)
'An engrossing account of Blackburn's search for the mysterious north Norfolk fisherman-artist's forgotten life story, in which she weaves in her own experiences during the book's creation to moving effect.'
Going Out, by Anthony Thwaite (Enitharmon)
'An unsurprisingly accomplished collection of skilfully-patterned inquisitions, memories and memorials. Musical, playful, elegiac; it aches, humbly, as it reaches through memory for those moments and loved ones it and words fail to preserve.'
Mr Mac and Me, by Esther Freud (Bloomsbury)
'I loved Freud's evocations of Suffolk and its coastal lands shimmering in the changing seasons.
They are as vivid and as luminous as Mr and Mrs Mac's watercolours, and – like those watercolours – accomplished by a mature writer who has deep local knowledge yet preserves an outsider's eye.'
•THE EABA UNESCO CITY OF LITERATURE EXCEPTIONAL CONTRIBUTION AWARD
(Chris Gribble, Writers' Centre Norwich)
Susaan Yaxley, Larks Press
'The range, quality and extent of Susan's publishing over more than 30 years has created a legacy of books that has changed the way the world sees our part of the world forever.
Without Susan and The Larks Press so much of what is distinctive about our history, tradition, community memory and art here might have been lost.'