Is your favourite book among the six titles celebrating the best in East Anglian writing?
The six shortlisted books have been unveiled for the 2017 New Angle Prize – a competition for literary work associated with or influenced by East Anglia.
The shortlisted books are: Julia Blackburn, Threads, The Delicate Life of John Craske (Jonathan Cape), Jill Dawson’s The Crime Writer (Hodder & Stoughton), Fiona Melrose, Midwinter (Little, Brown), Julie Myerson, The Stopped Heart (Jonathan Cape), Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent (Profile Books) and Rosy Thornton, Sandlands (Sandstone Press).
More on the books, from the judges:
Julia Blackburn, Threads, The Delicate Life of John Craske (Jonathan Cape) - “This is a book beautifully written, beautifully illustrated and beautifully produced about the recently-rediscovered genius of a Norfolk fisherman. Falling seriously ill at the time of the First World War, Craske began painting the sea, boats and coastline, and when he could no longer stand, lay in bed and embroidered.”
Jill Dawson, The Crime Writer (Hodder & Stoughton - “Eccentric and troubled American writer Patricia Highsmith spent part of the 1960s in rural Suffolk – where she would have stood out just a bit. In Jill Dawson’s destabilising book, you’re never quite sure what’s real, imagined, or simply the result of madness. One of those stories you can’t stop thinking about for weeks afterwards.”
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Fiona Melrose, Midwinter (Little, Brown) - “Very assured debut novel that explores the emotions of men of the land, which we don’t often see.
“The lands can be bountiful and soothing, or harsh and imprisoning. And they can extract a price. As life becomes testing and hopeless, family bonds threaten to snap. Unless there’s a strong vein of love that can be mined, it’s all over”.
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- 3 Suspected drink driver flees scene after car destroyed in crash
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- 7 Suffolk man guilty of raping schoolgirl and facing jail sentence
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- 9 Exhausted farmers cool off the combines after gruelling harvest
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Julie Myerson, The Stopped Heart (Jonathan Cape) - “It’s always baffling that Julie Myerson appears so balanced and normal and yet can produce, as if from nowhere, dark and scary material. This ghostly examination of deep loss is a fine example, and not one to read on your own at night, when the floorboards and beams are wont to creak.”
Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent (Profile Books) - “Such an eccentric bunch of characters – and you miss them so much when the last page is read. Feel both the beauty and oppressive nature of the muddy Essex shores and understand how collective hysteria can gain a foothold. A novel that has the power to surprise, genuinely.”
Rosy Thornton, Sandlands (Sandstone Press) - “Rosy Thornton really has her finger on the pulse of this spread-out village that visitors rarely seem to enter twice by the same route. The past and present are separated only by a thin screen – and it’s unnerving. Her short stories capture that perfectly”.
New Angle Prize Judges for 2017
Midge Gillies: Cambridgeshire-based biographer and director of creative-writing at Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education
Kate Worsley: Harwich-based author of prize-winning first novel She Rises
Steven Russell: Journalist with the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star
Authors of the short-listed books will be asked to attend a book-reading event at the Ipswich Institute on June 28. Prize-winners will be announced at an awards dinner on September 6.
The £2,500 competition is organised by the Ipswich Institute and sponsored by Gotelee Solicitors and Scrutton Bland accountants.
Details can be found on the New Angle prize website – www.ipswichinstitute.org.uk/NAP.html – and progress can be followed on Twitter @PrizeNewAngle