Esther Freud among a dozen writers shortlisted for New Angle Prize for Literature which celebrates East Anglian-inspired work

Walberswick resident Esther Freud is launchig her new novel based around the artist Charles Rennie M

Walberswick resident Esther Freud is launchig her new novel based around the artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his stays in the village. - Credit: Archant

Twelve books that have been influenced by East Anglia have been shortlisted in a prestigious literary competition.

The books, which include Esther Freud’s Suffolk-based eighth novel Mr Mac and Me, have been whittled down from a record number of entries in the 2015 New Angle Prize for Literature.

Every book in the list has been “associated with or influenced by the region of East Anglia”, and the purpose of the award is to “celebrate and to encourage excellence in the regional literature of East Anglia”, according to the New Angle Prize for Literature.

Jules Pretty, author and professor of environment and society at the University of Essex, who represented the collective view of the judges, said: “This year’s New Angle Prize saw a great diversity of entries from across the whole region.

“The range and quality is testament to the strength of the literary sector in the East of England.”

The shortlisted entries include four debut novels (from Jason Hewitt, Sarah Perry, Jo Riccioni and Kate Worsley) as well as fiction from relative newcomers (Amanda Hodgkinson and Saskia Sarginson) and well-established writers (Esther Freud and James Runcie).

There are four non-fiction titles, which all show a close relationship with the East Anglian countryside (Ronald Blyth, Mark Cocker, David Gentleman, Alex Monroe).

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The £2,500 competition is now seen as an important event in the region’s literary calendar.

The authors of the books on the final shortlist, which is set to be announced on Friday March 27, will be asked to attend a book-reading event at the Ipswich Institute in Tavern Street during the Ipswich Arts Festival (Ip-Art) on Wednesday, July 1.

The prize-winners will be announced at a special awards dinner on Wednesday, September 9.

The New Angle Prize is organised by the Ipswich Institute and is sponsored by Gotelee Solicitors and Scrutton Bland accountants.

The judges for 2015 are Norfolk-based journalist and broadcaster Carol Bundock, Jules Pretty, who is also the deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Essex and won the New Angle Prize for Literature in 2013 for This Luminous Coast.

The third judge is Suffolk-based author Katie Ward, whose highly-acclaimed debut novel Girl Reading was published in 2011.

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