Last year’s winners in East Anglian Book Awards

Last year's East Anglian Book of the Year was a 'beautifully written and poignant' biography of a Norfolk heroine, Edith Cavell.

Author Diana Souhami saw off close competition from other category winners to take the top prize at the annual EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards ceremony, and then read a moving account of Cavell's grace and fortitude in the face of execution that had the audience enthralled.

Miss Souhami's account of Cavell's life was hailed as 'measured, calm and devastating in its attention to detail' by the judges, who were impressed by the depth of its research into the life of the Swardeston-born woman who saved 200 Allied lives in the first world war before being executed by the Germans.

The book had already been named the winner of the biography and memoir category in the awards, which are supported by Writers' Centre Norwich.

Accepting a prize of �250 in Jarrold vouchers, Miss Souhami said: 'It is a book about altruism. I saw Edith Cavell as an antidote to celebrity biographies, because she was famous for her altruism, rather than being a celebrity of the type we have come to recognise.'

But also commended on the evening were the six other category winners, each of which had been chosen as the best of a strong field. They were:

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FICTION

Life: an Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet (Walker Books)

A coming-of-age story set in North Norfolk against the backdrop of the Cold War.

Category judge BJ Epstein called it 'a moving, beautifully written story that made the personal universal and the universal personal'.

POETRY

Flatlands by Victor Tapner (Salt Publishing)

Evocations of the voices of Bronze Age and Roman-era Britons living in East Anglia.

Category judge Lavinia Greenlaw said: 'Victor Tapner's poems share the scouring, concentrated, tilting nature of the landscape they address.'

HISTORY AND TRADITION

William Faden and Norfolk's 18th Century Landscape by Andrew Macnair and Tom Williamson (Windgather Press)

A study that digitised Faden's map and set it in historical context.

Category judge Steve Snelling said: 'Rich in detail, sumptuously illustrated and crammed with analysis, this is an important book that sheds much new and fascinating light on a key period in Norfolk's history.'

PLACES AND NATURE

This Luminous Coast by Jules Pretty (Full Circle Editions)

An account of a year spent walking and sailing along 500 miles of imperilled East Anglian coastline.

Category judge David North said: 'I enjoyed this book immensely, learning new things about some very familiar and much-loved places.'

ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY

Water Marks by Ian Collins (Black Dog Books)

An exploration of how painters, sculptors, photographers and more have been inspired by East Anglia's atmosphere.

Category judge Amanda Geitner said: 'My understanding of art made in the region is much richer for reading it.'

GUIDEBOOKS AND TRAVEL

Green Pebble's Art! East Anglia (Green Pebble Publishing)

A guide that leads readers to the region's greatest public art treasures.

Category judge Keith Skipper said: 'Colourful, lively, and truly helpful in its treatment of what can easily become a rather precious and elitist subject.'

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