Mark Cocker

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The year has been good to us in other ways because Maria won a Norfolk Arts Award for her outstanding contributions over the last two decades. Not before time: she has done an amazing job for culture in our region and it is great to see her honoured.


Nor should we forget that this year for the first time in a half dozen attempts I won the coveted Hatchery Mallet the prize exclusive to the annual croquet tournament overseen and generously hosted by Terence Blacker and Angela Sykes. In previous attempts I was narrowly beaten by Martha Kearney and on another occasion - gall of all galls! - by Maria and that wicked Welshman Alan Jenkins.


I was thrilled this month that A Claxton Diary was awarded the East Anglian Book Award for 2019, both in its category of general non-fiction and as overall Book of the Year.


Sady I had two long-standing commitments to events in Derbyshire and Warwickshire and wasn't able to attend in person, but Maria was able to go on my behalf.


This was my fourth such nomination for the prize, having been shortlisted earlier for Crow Country (2008), Birds and People (2013), and Claxton: Field Notes from a Small Planet (2014). It was deeply gratifying to have won it this time.


The citation from judge Christine Webber was exceptionally generous. Here's a little of what she and fellow judge Penny Hancock said. Christine listed some of her favourites, but two of mine are here.

Winner of the East Anglian Book Award 2019