East Anglian Book of the Year revealed

Biography and memoir book winner Julia Blackburn with the award presented by guest speaker Sarah Per

Biography and memoir book winner Julia Blackburn with the award presented by guest speaker Sarah Perry at the East Anglian Book Awards 2015 at Jarrold.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The 2015 East Anglian Book of the Year has been revealed.

The 2015 East Anglian Book of the Year has been revealed in an awards evening held last night at Jarrolds in Norwich.

Julia Blackburn's poignant part-memoir, part-biography Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske was awarded the £1,000 overall prize, sponsored by PACCAR Foundation, to become the eighth winner of the popular awards, which are run by the EDP, Jarrold and Writers' Centre Norwich, in association with UEA.

The book tells the story of the North Norfolk fisherman-artist John Craske, who created paintings and embroideries after being forced to give up the sea because of illness.

It was a case of a triple celebration for the book, as it also scooped 'Book by the Cover' design award, selected from all the shortlisted titles and chosen by members of East Anglian Writers, as well as its category (Biography & Memoir).

Judges described the book, published by Jonathan Cape, as 'beautifully written', and 'blending biography and memoir in a genuinely genre-busting way'.

They continued: 'Julia Blackburn has succeeded in taking the relatively sparse elements of available information about this intriguing Norfolk fisherman-artist and creating a book which is not only a celebration of this remarkable man but also of the lives of those deeply touched by his art over the years, not least herself.'

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Threads won the Biography & Memoir category in the awards. The final judging panel chose it for the overall award ahead of other category winners Mr Mac & Me, by Esther Freud (Fiction), Norfolk Parish Treasures: North and West Norfolk, by Peter Tolhurst (History & Tradition), Going Out, by Anthony Thwaite (Poetry); The Adventures of Thomas Browne in the 21st Century, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams (General Non-Fiction); and Pat-a-Cake Baby, by Joyce and Polly Dunbar (Mal Peet Children's Award).

This year's awards also included the first-ever EABA UNESCO City of Literature Exceptional Contribution Award, which was given to Susan Yaxley, of Larks Press, near Guist.

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