Norfolk conservationist wins East Anglian Book of the Year 2023

We’re proud to be a partner of the East Anglian Book Awards and delighted to help promote the region’s writing talent. To qualify for the awards, works must be set largely in East Anglia or be written by an author living in the region. Founded in 2008, the East Anglian Book Awards have showcased the work of over 150 authors, 200 titles and 100 publishers. Awards have been given to

Previous winners include the celebrated writer and naturalist Mark Cocker, multi-award-winning author and nature columnist Melissa Harrison and Sarah Perry, who went on to win the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Sarah’s novel The Essex Serpent became a Waterstones Book of the Year and was adapted for Apple TV+ starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston.

We are thrilled to announce that The Meaning of Geese the debut book from renowned naturalist and conservationist Nick Acheson, has been crowned Book of the Year at the East Anglian Book Awards 2023.

Nick Acheson said:

‘I feel hugely honoured and humbled because the quality of all of the category winning books is so high and the authors are such visionaries. Each has spoken so lovingly about their subject, the books they have produced, and the story they had to tell.

I am astonished that my little geese and bicycle and I have managed to tell a story that’s touched people. I always wanted to tell a story that’s more than geese: it’s about climate, it’s about landscape and it’s about who we are in relation to the climate and landscape. For someone to have read a story that I’ve written and appreciated it is just the most beautiful thing.’

The judging panel praised The Meaning of Geese for its compelling sense of place and use of language, as they were ‘transported to the countryside by the author’s beautiful turn of phrase. Just a delight.’

Caroline Jarrold, community affairs adviser at Jarrold & Sons, said: 

‘As ever, it was an enjoyable experience to judge the Book of the Year from the excellent and worthy selection of category winning books. It is always a challenge to consider the outstanding merits within such a spread of titles but the judges were unanimous in choosing The Meaning of Geese as the winner. 

‘Although all of us came to read the book with little knowledge of geese, Nick Acheson writes so beautifully and evocatively about them that we were all absorbed by his days observing them around North Norfolk. It is a book born of the lockdown, when activities were so restricted, but would encourage anyone to look more closely at nature around them and reflect on the impact of climate change on habitats and habits. It is a book full of Norfolk autumn, winter and spring weather, landscape and geese, with a few other birds, a trusty old bicycle and fellow enthusiasts, which is a great pleasure to read.’

Congratulations are also due to all of our category winners: