Friday, 25 May 2012

East Midlands Book Award 2012

Anne Zouroudi is the winner of this year's East Midlands Book Award, for her crime novel The Whispers of Nemesis (Bloomsbury), set, like her others, in Greece.  Anne was shortlisted last year, but this year only had to travel across the hill from her home to the wonderful venue of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire. Of course, come the revolution, every working class family will live somewhere just as splendid, but it was great to be welcomed into one of the most attractive buildings in the county. The EMBA award was held as the final event of Derbyshire Literature Festival, so thanks to Lord and Lady Manners for opening their home, to Derbyshire County Council (whose leader proudly announced that they had not closed any libraries, unlike other authorities - it has always been, Labour or Conservative, a big supporter of literature) and to Writing East Midlands for organising the Award on behalf of the trustees.
Anne picked up a cheque for £1000, presented by the composer Gavin Bryars, the celeb judge brought in at the shortlisting stage to join bookseller Debbie James and academic Marion Shaw. Gavin gave a terrific extempore speech about each book, and compared the craft of composing to that of the writer. We have already signed him up for Lowdham Book Festival next year.
Of the other shortlisted writers, Paula Rawsthorne was already glowing having been in Leeds that afternoon where she picked up the Leeds children's book award for her The Truth About Celia Frost (Usborne), her shortlisted title here. She was a bit shell-shocked from speaking to 500 teenagers.
The other shortlisted writers were Gregory Woods (An Ordinary Dog, Carcanet), Sunjeev Sahota (Ours Are the Streets, Picador), Laura Owen (The Misadventures of Winnie the Witch, OUP) and Kerry Young (Pao, Bloomsbury).
Five out of six titles then were from independent publishers. Three are first books, which indicates great promise for the future health of writing in the region.
We don't have our external/celebrity judge yet for next year, but we are pleased to announce that the two judges who have to read ALL the books will be Mel Read (former MEP for the East Midlands, now an active member of Leicester Writers Club) and Robert Gent (Robert ran Beeston Poets series for, I think, seventeen years and edited the celebratory collection Poems for the Beekeeper for Five Leaves in 1996).
Nominations for the 2013 award, for books published in 2012, are now open - see for details.

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