Winners of the East Anglian Book Awards 2019

We’re thrilled to announce that the award-winning author, naturalist and environmental tutor, Mark Cocker, has received the East Anglian Book of the Year Award for A Claxton Diary: Further Field Notes from a Small Planet (Jonathan Cape).

A collection of sensory, short essays on the Norfolk landscape, the book ranges over almost everything that can be seen, touched or smelt; from the minute to the cosmic, from a strange micromoth called yellow-barred longhorn to that fiercest of winter storms the ‘Beast from the East’.

Peggy Hughes, one of the judges and Programme Director at the National Centre for Writing described the book as ‘combining boundless knowledge with huge passion and clarity of observation… he also calls our urgent attention to the impact of the present climate emergency, making this book both timely and timeless at once.’

The winners of the individual categories are as follows:

Biography & Memoir

The Photographer at Sixteen by George Szirtes (Maclehose)


I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock (Mantle)

General Non-Fiction

A Claxton Diary: Further Field Notes from a Small Planet by Mark Cocker (Jonathan Cape)

History & Tradition

A Very Dangerous Locality by Robert Liddiard and David Sims (University of Hertfordshire Press)

The Mal Peet Children’s Award

Between Worlds: Folktales of Britain and Ireland by Kevin Crossley-Holland (Walker)


The Built Moment by Lavinia Greenlaw (Faber)

The Exceptional Contribution Award 2019 was presented to Christopher Bigsby, Emeritus Professor at the School of Art, Media and American Studies at the University of East Anglia and Founding Director of the Arthur Miller Institute Autumn Literary Festival. At the end of 2019 Chris will retire from his Literary Festival. The judging panel said ‘his commitment, vision and dedication, to the art of conversation as well as to the pleasure of the written word, has made a seismic contribution to Norwich and to the UEA.’

The ‘Book by the Cover’ Award, sponsored by East Anglian Writers for the best-designed cover of the shortlisted titles, went to Helen Ivory for The Anatomical Venus (Bloodaxe Books).

The winners of the coveted East Anglian Book Awards 2019 were revealed this afternoon (Friday 15 November) at a literary lunch and celebration of regional writing and publishing held at Norwich City Football Club.

The ceremony also featured speeches from special guests Ed Parnell, Sarah Passingham and Rachel Hore, teacher of creative writing and publishing at The University of East Anglia.

The East Anglian Book Awards are organised by the Eastern Daily Press, Jarrold and the National Centre for Writing, with support from UEA’s Faculty of Arts & Humanities.

Since the East Anglian Book Awards began in 2008 they have showcased the work of well over 160 authors, over 200 titles, and more than 100 publishers.