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Edith Cavell biography scoops top prize

PUBLISHED: 09:19 14 November 2011

Winner of the East Anglian Book of the Year Award , Diana Souhami with her biography and memoir of Edith Cavell at the EDP Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards. Photo Steve Adams

Winner of the East Anglian Book of the Year Award , Diana Souhami with her biography and memoir of Edith Cavell at the EDP Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards. Photo Steve Adams

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With the results of this year's EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards announced, KEIRON PIM profiles the category winners and get's the judges comments.

Norwich hosted the fourth annual EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards, the annual celebration of the best new books about Norfolk, Suffolk and Fenland.

About 100 people attended the ceremony at the Assembly House to see nature-writer Mark Cocker present trophies to the winning authors in seven categories.

One book — Edith Cavell, by Diana Souhami — was later named the overall East Anglian book of the year. Here we highlight the category winners and give the judges’ comments on their choices.

Fiction

Life: An Exploded Diagram — Mal Peet (Walker Books)

A coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the Cold War and events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Clem Ackroyd lives with his parents and grandmother in a claustrophobic home in the Norfolk countryside. Clem’s life changes irrevocably when he meets Frankie, the daughter of a wealthy farmer, and experiences first love, in all its pain and glory.

t BJ Epstein, judge of the fiction category, said: “A moving, beautifully-written story that made the personal uni-versal and the universal personal.”

Also shortlisted:

22 Britannia Road — Amanda Hodgkinson (Fig Tree/Penguin)

Daughters-in-Law — Joanna Trollope (Doubleday)

Poetry

Flatlands — Victor Tapner (Salt Publishing)

Poems whose stark forms evoke the voices of flint miners, tribal warriors and Boudicca rebelling against Roman rule. Exploring universal themes – love and infidelity, bereavement and sometimes murderous hatreds.

t Lavinia Greenlaw, judge of the poetry category, said: “Victor Tapner’s poems share the scouring, concentrated, tilting nature of the landscape they address.”

Also shortlisted:

The Spinney — Philip Michael Goodman (Geo. R Reeve)

Another Use of Canvas — Angus Sinclair (Gatehouse Press)

History And Tradition

William Faden and Norfolk’s18th-Century Landscape — Andrew Macnair and Tom Williamson (Windgather Press)

An innovative study employing digitising techniques to extract new information from William Faden’s 1797 survey of Norfolk, setting the map and its maker in historical context.

t Steve Snelling, judge of the history and tradition category, said: “Rich in detail, sumptuously illustrated and crammed with analysis, this is an important book that sheds much new and fascinating light on a key period in Norfolk’s history.”

Also shortlisted:

Norwich Pubs and Breweries Past and Present — Frances and Michael Holmes (Norwich Heritage Projects)

Films Were Made: Volume Two — David Cleveland (self-published)

Biography And Memoir

Edith Cavell — Diana Souhami (Quercus)

When the First World War broke out, the Norfolk-born nurse Edith Cavell helped soldiers to escape the war by giving them jobs in her hospital, finding clothing and organising safe passage into Holland. Diana Souhami sheds new light on a life of notable bravery and self-sacrifice.

t Kathryn Hughes, judge of the biography and memoir category, said: “Although we all know the name Edith Cavell, and vaguely what she stood for, most of us are hazy on the details. Souhami’s meticulous research gives us the fullest account to date of this woman’s extraordinary heroism.”

Also shortlisted:

Whatever Next? — Earl Ferrers (Biteback Publishing)

Knapton: Twentieth Century Village Voices — Ed. Gillian Shephard (Biteback Publishing)

Places And Nature

This Luminous Coast — Jules Pretty (Full Circle Editions)

Over the course of a year, Jules Pretty walked along the edge of the East Anglian bulge, completing 400 miles on foot and a further 100 miles in a variety of boats. This is his personal account of a coastline in peril.

t David North, judge of the places and nature category, said: “Jules Pretty walks the edge; not just of our region but the edge that lies between the wild and the tamed, between the past and the present and between the remembered and the forgotten.”

Also shortlisted:

The Norfolk Cranes’ Story — Chris Durdin and John Buxton (Wren Publishing)

Art And Photography

Water Marks — Ian Collins (Black Dog Books)

Water Marks builds on Ian Collins’s first regional art tour, A Broad Canvas (1990), to study painters, sculptors, carvers, photographers, print-makers and cartoonists who have been moved by the atmosphere of East Anglia.

t Amanda Geitner, judge of the art and photography category, said: “Sumptuously illustrated and beautifully designed, it was a pleasure to read and rewarding to both read in sequence or thumb through on the coffee table.”

Also shortlisted:

Wells next the Sea – People and Places — Janet Angles and John Warham (Thornham Local History Society)

The Aldeburgh Scallop — Maggi Hambling (Full Circle Editions)

Guidebooks And Travel

Art! East Anglia (Green Pebble Publishing)

For centuries some of the world’s greatest artists have come to East Anglia and today there is a wealth of visual art to explore. This guide leads readers to the region’s greatest public art treasures and contemporary art practitioners.

t Keith Skipper, judge of the guidebooks and travel category, said: “Colourful, lively and truly helpful in its treatment of what can easily become a rather precious and elitist subject.”

Also shortlisted:

Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path — Alexander Stewart (Trailblazer)

The Blue Plaques of Norwich — Nick Williams (Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust).

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