Category winners announced for the East Anglian Book Awards 2021
‘A testament to the talent and determination of the writers who wrote and published under the difficult conditions of the pandemic’

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.

National Centre for Writing logo  width=       width=        UEA University of East Anglia         width=

East Anglian Book Awards 2021 category winners

Biography & Memoir

Judged by Hilary Emmett, University of East Anglia

 width=The Easternmost Sky: Adapting to Change in the 21st Century by Juliet Blaxland (Sandstone Press Ltd)

The Easternmost Sky describes country life and living with coastal erosion, in the recent past, the present and the relatable future. By exploring how climate and social changes are affecting coastal Suffolk, and zooming out from the local to offer a more global perspective, Juliet Blaxland forecasts with wit and imagination the future we will all have to adapt to, in Britain and across the world. Buy now →



Judged by Kate Weston, University of East Anglia

 width=The Stranding by Kate Sawyer (Hodder & Stoughton)

Ruth lives in the heart of the city. Working, drinking, falling in love: the rhythm of her vivid and complicated life is set against a background hum of darkening news reports from which she deliberately turns away. When a new romance becomes claustrophobic, Ruth chooses to leave behind the failing relationship, but also her beloved friends and family, and travels to the other side of the world in pursuit of her dream life working with whales in New Zealand.

But when Ruth arrives, the news cycle she has been ignoring for so long is now the new reality. Far from home and with no real hope of survival, she finds herself climbing into the mouth of a beached whale alongside a stranger. When she emerges, it is to a landscape that bears no relation to the world they knew before. When all has been razed to the ground, what does it mean to build a life? Buy now →

General Non-Fiction

Judged by Richard Delahaye, University of East Anglia

 width=The Stubborn Light of Things: A Nature Diary by Melissa Harrison (Faber & Faber)

A nature diary by award-winning novelist, nature writer and hit podcaster Melissa Harrison, following her journey from urban south London to the rural Suffolk countryside. Buy now →



History & Tradition

Judged by Pete Goodrum, writer and broadcaster

 width=How Norwich Fought Against the Plague: Lessons from the Past by Frank Meeres (Poppyland Publishing)

Frank Meeres looks at the outbreak of bubonic plague in the city from the first wave in 1348-1349 to its last in 1666-67.  This book shows how decisions made at the time affected the city of Norwich in many ways. Buy now →



The Mal Peet Children’s Award

Judged by Simon Jones, National Centre for Writing, with assistance from his eight-year-old son

 width=The Wolf Road by Richard Lambert (Everything with Words)

When fifteen-year old Lucas survives the car accident that kills his parents, one memory stays with him – of the wolf that caused the crash. Forced to leave his home and live with his Nan in the Lake District, Lucas struggles to adjust to his strange, new world. And when he learns that a wild creature is killing livestock on the mountains, he knows it’s the wolf, that it’s come for him, and that he must face it. But that means confrontation – with Nan, school bullies, the authorities – and it also means going onto the high fells in a hunt that becomes a matter of life and death… Buy now →



Judged by Nathan Hamilton, UEA Publishing Project

 width=Rose With Harm by Daniel Hardisty (Salt Publishing)

This long-awaited debut from Daniel Hardisty shows off his exceptional lyric gifts to thrilling effect. Poised and poignant, Hardisty’s confessional poems offer love’s realisations, threats and transgressions. The poet is often caught travelling – remote and removed from his environments, as the poems capture concrete moments of transition with bittersweet backstories of love, regret, suspense and loss. Sure to receive wide critical praise. Buy now →


You can purchase all the shortlisted books from the bookshop at independent Norwich-based department store, Jarrold. Browse online here →

Frank Meeres, winner of the History & Tradition Award, said:

‘I am delighted to have received this award, especially as I know that some excellent books on local history have been published recently. It seems very appropriate that a book on past responses to an epidemic should have been given the award in this time of COVID.’

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

‘This year’s shortlist is a testament not only to the literary wealth of East Anglia, but also to the talent and determination of the writers who wrote and published under the difficult conditions of the pandemic. Their creativity, authority and skill showed in every page and made for some very difficult decisions for the judges. Congratulations to all the authors who were shortlisted, which is a great achievement, and best of luck to all the category winners as their books come to be considered for the overall Book of the Year Award.’

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 25 November, 6.30pm GMT. 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 or organisation’s work within writing and publishing in the region. The event will take place on YouTube, and it is free to register your place →

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