East Anglia: Six of the best vie for book prize

Amanda Hodgkinson - 22 Britannia Road

Amanda Hodgkinson - 22 Britannia Road - Credit: Archant

THE shortlist has been announced for the £2,500 New Angle Prize for literature inspired by East Anglia – and the early honours go to independent publishers. Only one of the six books is from a major publishing house.

Jules Pretty - This Luminous Coast

Jules Pretty - This Luminous Coast - Credit: Archant

The result is announced on September 4.

Candy Whittome (with David Morris) - The Last Hunters: The Crab Fishermen of Cromer

Candy Whittome (with David Morris) - The Last Hunters: The Crab Fishermen of Cromer - Credit: Archant

The books, with abbreviated judges’ comments, are:

Ronald Blythe - At the Yeoman’s House

Ronald Blythe - At the Yeomans House - Credit: Archant

At the Yeoman’s House, by Ronald Blythe (Enitharmon): The story of Bottengoms Farm (near Nayland), which came into the author’s possession more than 30 years ago, after the death of artist John Nash. Blythe’s immaculate prose creates a perfect picture of place.

Ian Collins - Making Waves. Photo: Paul Hewitt

Ian Collins - Making Waves. Photo: Paul Hewitt - Credit: Archant

22 Britannia Road, by Amanda Hodgkinson (Penguin): The heart-breaking story of a Polish family torn apart by the Second World War and reunited in 1946 in Ipswich. Hodgkinson’s novel gives a convincing picture of post-war life and an insight into the minds of three people trying to build a new future while traumatized by the past.

Elspeth Barker - Dog Days

Elspeth Barker - Dog Days - Credit: Archant

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This Luminous Coast, by Jules Pretty (Full Circle Editions): Jules Pretty turns a 400-mile walk from the Dartford Bridge to Hunstanton into a combination of the close observation of nature and the examination of wider themes, including the relationship between landscape and history. Dog Days, by Elspeth Barker (Black Dog): A rich anthology demonstrating extraordinary scope and vitality, and a fierce independence of mind. Barker’s dispatches from the Norfolk countryside are a welcome antidote to more romantic views of life in East Anglia.

James Dodds, Tide Lines, by Ian Collins (Jardine Press): A sumptuous book which traces the life and art of James Dodds on his voyage from boat builder to celebrated artist. This rich story is told in Collins’ excellent text and in a remarkable collection of pictures, prints and photographs.

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The Last Hunters: The Crab Fishermen of Cromer, by Candy Whittome & David Morris (Full Circle Editions, 2012): The crabmen describe the vanishing world of one of the last fishing communities in Britain. Whittome’s sensitive editing preserves the essence of lives spent at sea. Morris provides stunning images.

• The New Angle Prize is run by The Ipswich Institute: a charity offering educational courses, talks and visits, and a lending library.

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