Introducing the judging panel for this year’s East Anglian Book Awards

Children's author Joy Dunbar (left)

Children's author Joy Dunbar (left) - Credit: Archant

She's been chosen by the Agatha Christie estate to bring new life to legendary detective Hercule Poirot.

Winner of the East Anglian Book of the Year Award , Diana Souhami with her biography and memoir of E

Winner of the East Anglian Book of the Year Award , Diana Souhami with her biography and memoir of Edith Cavell at the EDP Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards. Photo Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

And now best-selling crime novelist Sophie Hannah will be bringing her own 'leetle grey cells' to bear as one of the judging panel for this year's East Anglian Book Awards.

Sam Ruddock is Programme Manager at Writers’ Centre Norwich, specialising in reader engagement

Sam Ruddock is Programme Manager at Writers’ Centre Norwich, specialising in reader engagement - Credit: Archant

Sophie is one of six judges announced today for the seventh annual celebration of our region's writers and literature, run by the EDP, Jarrold, and the Writers' Centre Norwich, with the support of UEA.

Best-selling crime writer and poet Sophie Hannah

Best-selling crime writer and poet Sophie Hannah - Credit: Archant

Since they were set up in 2008 by the EDP and Jarrold, the awards have showcased the work of no fewer than 116 authors, 110 titles, and 79 publishers.

Poet and retired UEA academic George Szirtes

Poet and retired UEA academic George Szirtes - Credit: Archant

Entries close on Thursday July 24 for this year's awards, which carrying their largest-ever prize fund.

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie's crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012.

She is also a much-acclaimed poet, shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award, and whose work is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. Sophie will be judging the Fiction category in the awards.

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She will be launching her Poirot novel at Norwich Playhouse on September 11 as part of the city's new Crime Writing Festival.

Sophie will be joined by Diana Souhami, who will judge the Biography and Memoir category. Diana has won a string of awards - including the 2011 EABA book of the year - for her biographies Edith Cavell, Gluck: Her Biography, Gertrude and Alice, Greta and Cecil, The Trials of Radclyffe Hall, Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter, Selkirk's Island and more. Her latest book Gwendolen: a novel will be published by Quercus in September.

George Szirtes, judge of the Poetry award, was born in Budapest in 1948, and came to England with his family after the 1956 Hungarian uprising. He trained as a painter before becoming a hugely-acclaimed poet. Winner of the T S Eliot Prize for his 2004 collection Reel, he is also a translator and recently retired from teaching at UEA.

Sam Ruddock - judging the General Non-Fiction category - is Programme Manager at Writers' Centre Norwich, specialising in reader engagement. He is also a blogger, critic and prize judge, runs a regular book quiz, and is currently conducting interviews with readers across the UK for what may turn into a book. He is a Director of independent publisher Gatehouse Press, and was recently awarded a Clore Fellowship for 2014/15.

Joyce Dunbar is perfectly qualified to judge the Children's section, being the author of more than 80 books for children, mainly picture books. She is also the author of the Mouse & Mole animation TV series, featuring Alan Bennett, Richard Briers and Imelda Staunton. She is perhaps best known for Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep.

The panel is completed by EDP/ Evening News features editor Trevor Heaton, who will be judging the History and Tradition category.

Now in their seventh year, the awards will feature their best-ever prizes.

From the category winners, an overall East Anglian Book of the Year will be chosen. The overall winner will receive a prize of £1,000, sponsored by the PACCAR Foundation, and East Anglian Writers will also be supporting a new prize this year, with £100 for the best-designed cover from all the shortlisted books.

The 2013 winner was Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia, edited by Ian Collins (East Publishing / SCVA), the offical guidebook for the exhibition of the same name at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

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