This year I am thrilled to be one of the judges of the East Midlands Book Award, the prestigious literary prize awarded annually to the best book written by an East Midlands author.
From the EMBA website:
‘Every year £1000 is awarded to a writer of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry or plays. This can include work aimed at children and young people. The aim of the award is to promote writers who live in the East Midlands, to raise the profile of the thriving literary scene in the region, and to reward exceptional work. Nominations are invited from local, national and international publishers.’
As one of the primary judges, along with bookshop owner and former president of the Booksellers Association Jane Streeter, I read all the eligible books prior to conferring with Jane to decide which of the nearly fifty titles submitted to the prize would make up the six titles of this year’s shortlist. Judging such a variety of books, in terms of subject matter, form and genre, was a particular challenge, one that is reflected in the variety of the shortlist we came up with: poetry, literary fiction, crime fiction, creative non-fiction and a children’s picture book.
The EMBA 2016 shortlist is:
A Killing Moon by Steven Dunne
The Boy in the Mirror by Tom Preston
Melissa by Jonathon Taylor
Burning Books by Jess Green
The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis
The Princess and the Giant by Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton
The shortlist was announced at States of Independent book fair, Leicester on 15th March, and the final announcement of the winning titles will take place at the EMBA award ceremony at Lowdham Book Festival in June where Jane Streeter and I will be joined by award-winning novelist (and former EMBA winner) Alison McQueen to make our final decision. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to revisiting the shortlisted titles in preparation for our judges meeting. Choosing a winner from such a quality list is sure to spark some lively discussion between the three of us in June.
Check out the EMBA webpage, featuring links to the previous winners and shortlisted titles since the prize’s inception in 2011, and be sure to pick up a copy of any of the 2016 shortlisted titles that take your fancy. They’re all winners.