Award for Blue Plate Journey book

A Boston Spa author has won a top award for her book about her family’s escape from East Germany just before the Berlin Wall was built.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 3:32 pm

Annerose Watts, known as Anne, was awarded a First Place for her book Blue Plate Journey (The Cooking Gene) by Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBA).

It was in the ‘Hearten’ category, described as non-fiction that is inspirational, uplifting, humorous, memoir and ‘Chicken soup for the soul,’ according to the organisers.

Anne said: “There aren’t that many literary contests for full-length non-fiction around, but I did enter three or four before finding this one.

“The process took over a year – evidently they have thousands of entries - during which time my book worked its way up from the slush pile to a long list, then a short list (at which point judges actually read the whole thing), then to semi-finalists and finalists.”

Anne added: “The award ceremony was held virtually in Seattle, on the West Coast of the USA, and I stayed up until 3.30am to watch it online – and I was pretty chuffed when my name came up as a winner of a First Place in my category.

“I was particularly pleased to win it in the ‘Hearten’ category.”

In her book, Anne tells how she and her family escaped from East Germany just before the Berlin Wall was built, joined the Mormon church and emigrated to Utah, USA – ‘from the Iron Curtain to the Zion Curtain.’

She escaped to California, later returned to Germany and finally settled in Boston Spa.

It is a story of coming to terms with family conflicts and cultural adjustments, with the bonus of an interesting recipe at the end of each chapter.

The process of writing the book, including the editing and finalising the copy, took about two years.

“I ended up publishing it myself – on the recommendation of another writer, Imogen Clark, who had also started out the same way; this was after spending about 6 months trying to find an agent or publisher,” said Anne, who is looking to the future and hoping to get past the ‘slush pile’ with her next work.

“Like many writers, promoting my book is not my strong point, and I’d still like to find an agent or publisher.