Category winners for the 2020 East Anglian Book Awards revealed
The six titles will now be considered by a panel of judges for the coveted £1,000 Book of the Year Award

We are delighted to reveal this year’s category winners for the East Anglian Book Awards – a partnership between Jarrold, the Eastern Daily Press, and the National Centre for Writing with support from UEA Faculty of Arts & Humanities. The six titles will now be considered by a panel of judges for the coveted £1,000 Book of the Year Award sponsored by the PACCAR Foundation.

The category winners are:

Biography & Memoir

Judged by Alex Hammond, University of East Anglia

 width=How To Be Autistic by Charlotte Amelia Poe (Myriad Editions)

As we follow Charlotte’s journey through school and college, we become as awestruck by their extraordinary passion for life as by the enormous privations that they must undergo to live it. From food and fandom, to body modification and comic conventions, Charlotte’s experiences through the torments of schooldays and young adulthood leave us with a riot of conflicting emotions: horror, empathy, despair, laugh-out-loud amusement and, most of all, respect. Buy now


Judged by Amy Waller, University of East Anglia

 width=The Choice by Claire Wade (Orion)

Imagine a world where… everything you ate was monitored by the government. Every step you took was counted. Your children were weighed every day at school. Neighbours reported on neighbours and no one was safe from judgement. Sugar was illegal, and baking was a crime. Imagine if that world was here… What would you do? Buy now

General Non-Fiction

Judged by George McKay, University of East Anglia

 width=New York to California by Jeremy Page (Propolis)

Novelist, traveller, scriptwriter, photographer: Jeremy Page is a man with a broad view of wide horizons. But on approaching middle age, he experienced a calling to return to the place which he – and his ancestors – had called home. Like the migratory eel, retracing a route back to somewhere it had once fought to leave, he decided to take a long, slow journey through a landscape both familiar but also separated by time and distance from his current life. Buy now

History & Tradition

Judged by Stephen Church and Rebecca Pinner, University of East Anglia

 width=Imperial Mud: The Fight for the Fens by James Boyce (Icon Books)

Between the English Civil Wars and the mid-Victorian period, the proud indigenous population of the Fens of eastern England fought to preserve their homeland against an expanding empire. Masterfully argued and imbued with a keen sense of place, Imperial Mud reimagines not just the history of the Fens, but the history and identity of the English people. Buy now

The Mal Peet Children’s Award

Judged by B.J. Epstein, University of East Anglia

 width=The House of One Hundred Clocks by A.M. Howell (Usborne)

Helena and her parrot, Orbit, are swept off to Cambridge when her father is appointed clock-winder to one of the wealthiest men in England. There is only one rule: the clocks must never stop. But Helena discovers the house of one hundred clocks holds many mysteries; a ghostly figure, strange notes and disappearing winding keys Can she work out its secrets before time runs out? Buy now


Judged by Alison Winch, University of East Anglia

 width=So Many Rooms by Laura Scott (Carcanet)

The Guardian’s Poetry Book of the Month August 2019

So Many Rooms, the debut collection from Geoffrey Dearmer Prize-winning poet Laura Scott, moves with its own lyric strangeness, opening up different rooms and also different worlds. Buy now


The overall winner of the Awards, which celebrate the very best of publishing, writing, and reading in the East of England, will be announced at a special online event on Thursday 19 November. Viewers will also find out who has been awarded the Book by the Cover Award (judged by members of East Anglian Writers) and the prestigious Exceptional Contribution Award for an individual’s work within writing and publishing in the region. The event will take place on YouTube and it is free to register your place.

Flo Reynolds, Programme Manager of the National Centre for Writing, said:

‘This year’s shortlist has been particularly strong and represents the strength and breadth of writing taking place in East Anglia, so choosing the winners of each category was quite the task for the judges! Our congratulations go to all the shortlisted authors and, while we cannot gather to celebrate in person this time, we look forward to showcasing the winning books and authors during November’s digital event. We wish all the category winners the best of luck as their books come to be considered for the Book of the Year Award.’

Caroline Jarrold, Community Affairs Adviser at Jarrold, said:

‘We are excited about the change in format for the awards this year. The Covid restrictions have meant that we cannot hold our normal convivial awards lunch and, although it is always enlivening to gather together with the authors, publishers, judges and book lovers, the online nature of the event this year will give a greater opportunity to hear more about the individual books and the winning authors. It also gives us the opportunity to stay connected and celebrate the winners together. We hope that many people will join us for the event and be tempted to buy the books for themselves. The winning titles all offer a very good read and it will be quite a challenge to pick the overall Book of the Year.’

Discover more about the category winners – as well as the identity of the winner of the East Anglia Book of the Year Award – at our special online event >>

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