The winner of the coveted East Anglian Book of the Year 2016 has been revealed at an awards evening and celebration of regional writing and publishing held last night at Jarrold, Norwich. 

The Crime Writer by Jill Dawson was awarded the £1,000 overall prize, sponsored by the PACCAR Foundation, to become the ninth winner of the popular awards, organised and staged by the Eastern Daily Press, Jarrold and Writers’ Centre Norwich, with support from UEA’s Faculty of Arts & Humanities. 

The book is a fictional take on the real-life period in the early 1960s when crime writer Patricia Highsmith lived in the Suffolk village of Earl Soham. Judges described the book, published by Hodder & Stoughton, as ‘atmospheric, suspenseful and compelling’.

‘atmospheric, suspenseful and compelling’.

It was also an evening of celebration for the 2016 category winners:

Biography & Memoir 

Jumpin’ Jack Flash by Keiron Pim (Jonathan Cape)

History & Tradition

Heyday: Britain and the Birth of the Modern World by Ben Wilson (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Poetry

The Print Museum by Heidi Williamson (Bloodaxe)

Fiction

The Crime Writer by Jill Dawson (Hodder & Stoughton)

General Non-Fiction

Lost Country Houses of Norfolk: History, Archaeology and Myth by Tom Williamson, Ivan Ringwood and Sarah Spooner (Boydell & Brewer)

The Mal Peet Children’s Book Award

Longbow Girl by Linda Davies (Chicken House)

Jill Dawson’s book - chosen by the final judging panel from the category winners to be the overall winner - follows in the footsteps of Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske, by Julia Blackburn, which was named East Anglian Book of the Year 2015.

The Exceptional Contribution Award, now in its second year, was given to distinguished Suffolk writer Ronald Blythe, whose most famous book is the classic Akenfield.

The ‘Book by the cover’ award, sponsored by East Anglian Writers for the best-designed cover of the shortlisted titles, went to Shona Branigan, who designed the cover of Heidi Williamson’s book, The Print Museum. 

The Norfolk Library Services Readers' Recommendation Award went to Alan Marshall for The Elegant Fowl.

The evening event also featured a speech from special guest, Sunday Times No.1. bestselling author Simon Scarrow, who spoke about the importance of Norwich as a setting for writers. 

Since the awards began in 2008 they have showcased the work of well over 100 authors, 165 titles, and more than 80 publishers.

Image credit: Archant

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