Announcing the category winners for the 2023 East Anglian Book Awards
Discover the six winning titles for the East Anglian Book Awards 2023

The category winners for the coveted East Anglian Book Awards 2023 have been revealed, celebrating the very best of publishing, writing, and reading in the region.

Now in their sixteenth year, the East Anglian Book Awards are a partnership between Jarrolds, the Eastern Daily Press, and the National Centre for Writing, supported by UEA Faculty of Arts & Humanities. The six titles will now be considered by a panel of judges for the prestigious £1,000 Book of the Year Award.

Holly Ainley, Head of Programmes & Creative Engagement at the National Centre for Writing, said:

‘Congratulations to all six shortlisted writers! Selected from an 18-strong longlist, these books have each struck a chord with the category judges, representing some of the strongest publishing emerging from and focussing on East Anglia this past year. As ever, we are bowled over by the range of these works and the breadth of stories they promise to tell – from the personal to historical and fictional. It’s exciting to see so many books from independent publishers on the shortlist this year too – a reminder of just how much original and exciting work is going on in our regional literary community, as well as inspiring those beyond it.’


East Anglian Book Awards 2023
Biography & Memoir

Judged by Stephen Bumfrey, former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter

Sit Still Timmy! by Tim MacWilliam (Amazon)

Sit Still Timmy! is a self-help book combined into a life story of late-diagnosed ADHD designed to assist those with the condition, those yet to be diagnosed, and close family members forced to endure the daily fallout of unpredictable behaviour.

The number of people diagnosed with ADHD skyrocketed during the Covid-19 Lockdown. As a result, there is a small tsunami of people desperate for first-hand knowledge and help from someone who has first-hand experience of living with the condition before and after diagnosis to give a level of understanding and empathy.

The book explores how other associated conditions such as OCD, depression, sensitivity, extreme daydreaming, issues with anger and epilepsy are all associated with ADHD. A chapter is also devoted to the medications and therapy available and their effect.

Tim said:

‘I’m thrilled that Sit Still Timmy has won the biography and memoir category for this prestigious award. ADHD affects one in twenty people and I hope this memoir will help those with and without the disorder to understand more about this roller coaster of a condition. Perhaps my English teacher who threw me out of her class all those years ago will get to hear about it.’



Judged by Andrew McDonnell, Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing, University Centre Peterborough

Foxash by Kate Worsley (Tinder Press)

Worn out by poverty, Lettie Radley and her miner husband Tommy grasp at the offer of their very own smallholding – part of a Government scheme to put the unemployed back to work on the land. When she comes down to Essex to join him, it’s not Tommy who greets her, but their new neighbours. Overbearing and unkempt, Jean and Adam Dell are everything that the smart, spirited, aspirational Lettie can’t abide.

As Lettie settles in, she finds an unexpected joy in the rhythms of life on the smallholding. She’s hopeful that her past, and the terrible secret Tommy has come to Foxash to escape, are far behind them. But the Dells have their own secrets. And as the seasons change, and a man comes knocking at the gate, the scene is set for a terrible reckoning.

Kate said:

‘It’s always a bit of a boost for any writer when their efforts to produce something not only readable but of worth are acknowledged, let alone praised.  And so this award really will be a huge encouragement for me to plough on with my novel in progress, the third in a trilogy of sea, land and air. Foxash is a novel of the earth, of rootedness, fertility and exploitation, and in the writing of it I was very conscious of how economic hardship was affecting our region today, in terms of hidden rural poverty and tensions over migrant workers, and how, as the welfare safety net shrinks, the dream of pastoral self-sufficiency is seeing something of a revival.

‘And of course these very same elements were all there at the creation of the real-life Foxash settlement here in the 1930s, as part of one of the largest and most paternalistic back-to-the-land movements. I am therefore extremely grateful to the EABA for recognising Foxash, not only in its own right as a piece of writing, but as for drawing readers’ attention to these aspects of East Anglia’s hidden history, particularly the lives of women working on the land.’


General Non-Fiction

The Meaning of Geese by Nick Acheson (Chelsea Green Publishing)

During a time when many of us faced the prospect of little work or human contact, renowned naturalist Nick Acheson found a sense of peace and purpose in his pursuit of the wild geese that filled the Norfolk skies on their seasonal visits from Iceland and Siberia. In The Meaning of Geese Nick recounts these adventures, starting with the dramatic arrival of the pinkfeet and brent geese as they land in the thousands in Britain each autumn.

Over seven months he cycles 1,200 miles – the exact length of the pinkfeet’s migration to Iceland, while encountering rarer geese, including Russian white-fronts, barnacle geese and an extremely unusual grey-bellied brant, a bird he had dreamt of seeing since thumbing his mother’s copy of Peter Scott’s field guide as a child. Nick keeps a diary of his sightings as well as the stories he discovers through the community of people, past and present, who love the geese and are working to protect their future.

Nick said:

‘2023 was made the most memorable year for me by Norfolk’s wild geese and by the warm reception they have received with readers. It has been the most tremendous pleasure to share their stories. That their wild journeys and my words on them have been honoured by the National Centre for Writing adds still more joy to the experience. On the geese’s behalf, and on mine, profound thanks.’


History & Tradition

Norwich Textiles: A Global Story 1750-1840 by Michael Nix (Costume and Textile Association)

This is the first comprehensive account of Norwich’s textile industry in the second half of the eighteenth century and the early part of the nineteenth century.

The book covers the sourcing of wool, the production in East Anglia and in Ireland of worsted yarn, the processes in Norwich and Norfolk involved in turning this yarn into highly desirable and beautiful stuffs, and the trading and marketing of these fabrics in Europe, the Americas, China and elsewhere.

Michael said:

‘I am more than delighted to know that the Norwich Textiles book has won the award. Receiving the news informing me of the award was quite a surprise and quite a Christmas present! I couldn’t have completed this book without the support and contribution of so many people over the last decade or so, so it I feel it’s an award for all of us and one that will make us collectively proud of the achievement.’


The Mal Peet Children’s Award

The Golden Mango Tree by Karen Li (Branching Out Books)

A beautifully illustrated book for all the family.

The Golden Mango Tree is a celebration of all that it means to grow up in a family with a diverse cultural background. It describes the bravery, hope and optimism required to uproot from all that is familiar, and to settle in a land where things are very different.

For readers aged 8+.

Karen said:

‘I could not be happier that The Golden Mango Tree has won the Mal Peet prize. It is wonderful that our own family story has resonated with so many people, including the judges of the EABA. This recognition spurs me on to publish more of my ideas representing those who currently do not see themselves in children’s literature, and to create more conversations about diversity and uniqueness.

For me, this award illustrates that hope has no boundaries, that dreams really do come true and that positivity and determination make anything possible. These are also themes that define The Golden Mango Tree story and I hope that it will serve as inspiration to others to tell their own story, and spread love and kindness.’



The Human Portion by Nicola Warwick

“Nicola Warwick’s poems take place in entrancing, liminal territory in which the human sensibility encounters the natural world. Deep kinship, mystery and otherness are conveyed through acute observation and transformative imagination. The language is precise and often surprises. Take, for instance ‘the sky, red as a swallow’s throat’ (‘Late high summer’), or ‘roots easing through earth / were a voice making itself unheard’ (‘And the trees (said)’). These poems reveal a special sensitivity and to read them is to feel our ‘Human Portion’ enlarged. Highly recommended.” Moniza Alvi

Nicola said:

‘I am so thrilled that my pamphlet has won the Poetry Category. These poems were written to show my fascination with the natural world. Some are inspired by my personal experiences, some are complete imagination, some are clearly set in East Anglian landscapes. I am delighted that they resonate with others, too.’


The overall winner of the Awards, which spotlight the very best of publishing, writing, and reading in the East of England, will be revealed at a celebratory event on Thursday 15 February, 6.30pm, at the National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. The category winners will also share their publishing experiences and discuss what the region means to their writing. Tickets are £6 and can be purchased online here.

To qualify for the East Anglian Book Awards, works must be set largely in East Anglia or be written by an author living in the region – which is defined as Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and area of Fenland District Council.

Books must have been published for the first time between 6 August 2022 and 5 August 2023. They must have been commercially available in physical bookshops.

You may also like...

Explore three incredible fiction books based in East Anglia

Our weekly spotlight on an East Anglian Book Awards 2023 shortlist

17th November 2023

NCW Recommends

East Anglian Book Awards 2023 shortlist announced

Celebrating the very best of publishing, writing, and reading in the region


7th November 2023


Discover three of the best biographies and memoirs

Our weekly spotlight on an East Anglian Book Awards 2022 shortlist


5th December 2022

NCW Recommends
Norwich UNESCO City of Literature