Let’s celebrate the best of East Anglia’s writing talent

The East Anglian Book Awards 2016. Jill Dawson, author of The Crime Writer, wins the Book of the Yea

The East Anglian Book Awards 2016. Jill Dawson, author of The Crime Writer, wins the Book of the Year award. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The region's best-loved showcase for great writing is back for its tenth year. Trevor Heaton celebrates the launch of the 2017 East Anglian Book Awards, which are now open to entries.

It's time to open the tenth chapter in our annual celebration of the region's writing talent with the return of the East Anglian Book Awards, organised by the EDP, Jarrold, and Writers' Centre Norwich, in association with the UEA.

Since the awards began in 2008, they have highlighted the works of well over 130 authors, almost 170 titles, and more than 90 publishers.

For 2017 we will once again be offering a top prize of £1,000 to the overall East Anglian Book of the Year, courtesy of PACCAR Foundation.

The overall winner of the tenth awards will follow in the footsteps of Jill Dawson, whose Suffolk-set novel The Crime Writer was named East Anglian Book of the Year 2016.

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The novel Scapegallows, by Carol Birch, about a Suffolk smuggler, was our very first winner and every year sees a steady increase in entries and interest. Previous winners include Norwich's Sarah Perry, whose latest novel The Essex Serpent has been a massive success across the country.

As well as the six subject categories (from which the overall winner is chosen), this year will also see the return of our award for lifetime achievement in local publishing, and also the 'Book by the Cover' design award, sponsored by the East Anglian Writers.

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Last year's winners were: Mal Peet Children's Award – Longbow Girl, by Linda Davies (Chicken House); General Non-Fiction – Lost Country Houses of Norfolk, by Tom Williamson, Ivan Ringwood and Sarah Spooner (Boydell & Brewer); History & Tradition – Heyday, by Ben Wilson (Weidenfeld & Nicolson); Biography & Memoir – Jumpin' Jack Flash, by Keiron Pim (Jonathan Cape); Poetry – The Print Museum, by Heidi Williamson (Bloodaxe) – this title also won the 'Book by the Cover' award; Fiction – The Crime Writer, by Jill Dawson (Hodder & Stoughton); The EABA Exceptional Contribution Award – Ronald Blythe.

Chris Rushby, Books & Stationery Buyer, Jarrold, said: 'Jarrold is delighted once again to be part of the East Anglian Book Awards in this milestone tenth year.

'In over 30 years of bookselling I've never come across a part of the country with the sheer breadth of good writing and publishing that this one continues to display - and a reading public as fascinated by the history and culture of its region.

'These awards both celebrate that breadth of activity and highlight the best of it, which can only be a good thing.'

Chris Gribble, Chief Executive of Writers' Centre Norwich commented: 'It's hard to believe these will be the tenth East Anglian Book Awards and the sixth since we became England's first UNESCO City of Literature.

'The awards have gone from strength to strength over the last ten years, showing that our region is truly one of writers and readers and a place where creativity and stories flourish.'

Awards co-founder the EDP is also proud to sponsor the awards. David Powles, editor-in-chief of the EDP and Evening News, said: 'East Anglia is a region bursting with literary talent and we are delighted to once again support and promote this eagerly-awaited celebration of the local publishing scene.''

And the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of East Anglia is once again pleased to support the 2017 East Anglian Book Awards.

Professor Yvonne Tasker, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UEA, said: 'The East Anglian Book Awards are a great way of celebrating the enormous talent in our region from both new and well-known authors. It is hoped that this year's entries will exceed our expectations and the University of East Anglia is once again to be a proud sponsor of these awards.'

The presentation evening will take place in the autumn in Norwich, with a chance to enjoy a special guest speaker.

Previous guest speakers have included the likes of best-selling writers Sarah Perry, Simon Scarrow, Sophie Hannah, Eimear McBride and Mark Cocker.

More details of the awards evening will be announced later in the year.

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