The Isle of Wight is set to become only the second region in the whole UK to have its own regional book awards. Entries are being invited for any books with an Isle of Wight connection, and for this inugural year only, books that have been published in the last five years will also be allowed to be entered. Subsequently, the annual awards will be just for books published during the previous year.
The competition has managed to engage three distinguished judges – Alan Titchmarsh, Hunter Davies and Joanna Trollope – and the winners of the first awards will be announced at a literary lunch on the Island in September 2022, on Isle of Wight Day.
It was the author and journalist, Hunter Davies, who has a home on the Island, who started the awards, along with Peter Harrigan and Krissy Lloyd of the Medina Bookshop in Cowes, the main sponsor of the event.
The three categories of prizes – for fiction, non-fiction and children’s books – are being sponsored by three well-known local businesses: Hovertravel, The Isle of Wight Festival and local estate agents Hose Rhodes and Dickson.
Entrants to the competion need not live on the Island, and books can be set in the past or present, but there does need to be a strong element connected with the Island.
The aim is to promote interest in the Isle of Wight and encourage local authors to write and possibly self-publish their own stories.
The deadline for entries is March 2022, with the shortlists being being revealed in August and the awards given out in September. Each year, one selected book will be acclaimed as The Isle of Wight Book of the Year, agreed upon by all the judges.
“I honestly do believe everyone has a book in them”, says Hunter. “Everyone has a story to tell about their life, their family, their research, their hobbies, their interests. These days, self-publishing is not too expensive or complicated so you can do it yourself and take pride in passing around finished copies to your family and friends and neighbours, and I am sure a kindly local book shop on the Island will display copies”.
For further details and entry forms, visit: www.iowbookawards.co.uk