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Local interest titles
The East Anglian Book Awards 2021 are underway! Submissions are open until July 30th for these special awards, now in their 14th year, which recognise and celebrate the outstanding literary culture in our region.
The awards are a partnership between Jarrold, the National Centre for Writing, the University of East Anglia and the EDP. There are 6 categories for entry and all entry details and eligibility criteria can be found here.
In the spirit of the awards, which recognise writers and books that have been shaped by, and have helped shape, the culture of the East of England, I am focussing this fortnight on some fantastic new local interest titles.
Apparitions of East Anglia
There has been a gap in the market for a new book on East Anglia’s folklore and legend and now two have come at once – though each unique in style and covering largely different ground. First is this highly illustrated, engaging little book that grew out of the pandemic and the author’s desire to connect with the history, landscape and lore of the land around him. With black and white photos throughout, the mysteries and hauntings of our county are portrayed partly in graphic novel style, with original drawings, making it feel fresh and accessible.
Sitting comfortably alongside Spalton’s book is this new publication which announces itself as volume one of a series named Haunted Landscapes. The book promises ‘weird tales, ghosts, folklore and legends from East Anglia’s Waveney Valley’, where the author has lived half his life. It doesn’t disappoint – not for the faint-hearted, the stories inside range from ancient buried treasure, to headless queens, yew-shrouded church-yards and of course, the legend of Black Shuck, who gives his name to Shuckland. The author is also host of the Weird Tales Radio Show and his storytelling style is highly readable. With a foreword by Edward Parnell.
Colonel Unthank’s Norwich
For several weeks now, this has been our overall bestselling title in the department (watch out David Walliams and JK Rowling!) and deservedly so. It is a brilliant, fascinating ‘sideways’ look at Norwich (and sometimes beyond) from creator of a popular local blog, out of which the book grew. By walking the city and delving into the history of the people and places he notices on the way, Lloyd has created an eclectic, diverting collection of articles, with a particular focus on buildings and architectural quirks. I defy you not to learn something new. Derek James in the EDP says of it: ‘It must rank as one of the finest books in recent times on the Fine City.’ High praise indeed.
Needham Pottery: The Ceramics of Mary and Godfrey Newcomb
Many people who love the paintings and drawings of Mary Newcomb are unaware that she began her artistic working life as a potter, making traditional slipware pottery (and to me, some of her designs were immediately recognisable). Her studio pottery, which was later taken over by her husband Godfrey as she focussed more on her painting, began at their first home in Needham in Norfolk, and moved with them to their subsequent houses in East Anglia in the 1970s and 1980s. This coffee table style book is a real joy to browse, and of the 90 illustrations which accompany the text, almost 40 are previously unpublished photographs from the Newcomb family archive, giving rare insight into Mary’s domestic environment and influences.
Sheet 137: Lowestoft
When Mickey Gibbons lost his father, he returned from London to his hometown in Suffolk and as a way of coming to terms with the loss, began visiting his late father’s favourite beauty spots. He stopped at each to draw the landscapes, using his favourite medium, felt pens, and this incredibly unique, unusual hardback art/gift book is the result. He has curated 48 of the drawings around locations on a discontinued Ordnance Survey map of Lowestoft (Sheet 137) – a testament to the power of place. The finished book is a small, landscape format hardback with high production values, made only from recycled paper and materials.
A Postcard From The Norfolk Broads
Much better than a postcard, this beautiful new title from homegrown Norfolk publishers Mascot Media, is a perfect combination of history, reference and souvenir. Identical in format to their earlier title, A Postcard From Southwold, the book is a visual guide to the Broads, made up of paintings, original prints, photographs and vintage postcards. The works of 10 contributors sit alongside the author’s own photographs, from which he has produced his own attractive poster-style art. The book is divided into five logical sections, or journeys, along the Broads, with text to start each section, beginning with Hickling to Thurne, ending with Trinity Broads and the Journey South. A must-have for locals and tourists alike.
Price and availability checked Saturday 17 July 2021