Essex author Kate Worsley claims prize during vintage year for East Anglian literature

Author Kate Worsley outside The Alma, Kings Head Street, Harwich.

Author Kate Worsley outside The Alma, Kings Head Street, Harwich. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Kate Worsley’s debut novel She Rises – set in Harwich in the 1700s – has won the 2015 New Angle Prize for East Anglian literature.

Author Kate Worsley at Harwich.

Author Kate Worsley at Harwich. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

The author, who lives in the area, claims the £2,000 bounty for an Essex dairymaid’s riven love story, involving a struggle for survival.

Judges made it the unanimous winner “for its memorable characters, brilliant narrative voice, beautiful detail and a sensational story”.

Ronald Blythe, famous for Akenfield, takes the runner-up’s £500 for The Time by the Sea. It describes his life in Aldeburgh in the 1950s, when the would-be young writer found himself drawn into Benjamin Britten’s circle and started working for the Aldeburgh Festival.

The judges ? broadcaster Carol Bundock, Suffolk author Katie Ward and academic/writer Jules Pretty ? called it “an extremely special book, written in warm, elegant prose by an author with a deep connection to our region”. The other shortlisted titles were Mark Cocker’s Claxton, Esther Freud’s Mr Mac and Me, Jason Hewitt’s Dynamite Room and Alex Monroe’s Two Turtle Doves.


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The judges called it “a vintage year for the New Angle Prize”, launched in 2009 and held every two years. It’s organised by the Ipswich Institute, a charity that runs an independent library and educational courses, and is sponsored by Gotelee Solicitors and Scrutton Bland accountants.

Kate Worsley was born in Lancashire, studied English, and has had a series of eclectic jobs, including journalist, massage practitioner and follow-spot operator in the theatre.

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She Rises won the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown for new historical fiction.

Kate Worsley was born in Lancashire, studied English, and has had a series of eclectic jobs, including working as a journalist, a massage practitioner and a follow-spot operator in the theatre.

She Rises won the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown for new historical fiction.

The story is set in 1740. Louise Fletcher, an Essex dairymaid whose father and brother have been claimed by the sea, goes to the port town of Harwich to become maid to a captain’s daughter.

She meets young Luke, who is press-ganged and sent to sea on the warship Essex. He has to cope with the brutal hardship of life onboard while yearning for the girl he left behind.

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