How can literary prizes benefit your writing journey? Suffolk-based children’s writer and winner of the prestigious Book of the Year award at the East Anglian Book Awards 2020, A.M. Howell, reflects on what the prize meant for her, and shares the exciting news of the publication of her latest book Mystery of the Night Watchers. Plus – enter our book giveaway!
I have never won anything before, so winning the Mal Peet Children’s Award and then the East Anglian Book of the Year for my second historical mystery for children, The House of One Hundred Clocks, was an absolute highlight of 2020 and my writing career so far.
‘The rich history of East Anglia is a huge inspiration to me, which is why this particular award was such a special one to win.’
The rich history of East Anglia is a huge inspiration to me, which is why this particular award was such a special one to win. My regular walks around Ickworth Park near Bury St Edmunds inspired my debut, The Garden of Lost Secrets, and my time spent living and working in Cambridge was the reason for setting The House of One Hundred Clocks there.
I now live and work in Bury St Edmunds and my latest book, Mystery of the Night Watchers is inspired by two historical buildings in the town, seventeenth century Cupola House and The Athenaeum (where Charles Dickens gave a reading of David Copperfield). It’s a story of family secrets and buried lies rooted in the Edwardian era when Halley’s Comet was approaching the Earth. Living in the east has given me lots of ideas for future stories too – I now just need to find the time to write them all!
Mystery of the Night Watchers by A. M. Howell publishes 8 July in paperback, £6.99, Usborne, for 9-12 year-old readers.
Image credit: Tom Soper photography
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