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Essex author and business woman wins national book award

07 Apr Essex author and business woman wins national book award

Hannah Powell’s memoir The Cactus Surgeon has been awarded the winner of the Selfies UK Book Awards in the memoir/autobiography category. These national awards recognise the UK’s best indie-published books. Hannah’s debut book was written in lock down and outlines her relationship with nature and the amazing way it has positively influenced her health and wellbeing.

There were just eight titles shortlisted, and winners were announced on April 5 at the London Book Fair.

The judges praised “the simplicity of [the] storytelling”, a cover that was “perfect for this kind of writing”, and “integrated photos enhancing the narrative and the book’s sense of renewal”.
Judges: Alan Staton (Booksellers Association), Alan Samson (ex-Weidenfeld), Ben Hughes (IngramSpark).

BookBrunch managing director Jo Henry said: “We have been thoroughly impressed by the wide range of topics covered and the professionalism of the publishing expertise shown by the 25 authors on this year’s shortlists. The powerful stories told in the memoir/autobiography category made immersive reading for our judges, while the winner is very much a book for our time.

Hannah says: “As a new, and self-published, author it can be quite challenging to gain interest and recognition. This award is just wonderful. It’s given me a huge confidence boost, and a desire to keep writing.”

Hannah received a cash prize of £750, which she is donating to charity FND Hope UK. They support those suffering from FND. She will also receive a profile in BookBrunch, a winner’s certificate and other publishing opportunities and packages from sponsors and supporters.

The Cactus Surgeon outlines how, when living in London, Hannah suffered burnout and was diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder. With no information available to help her, she found her own way to get better.

Growing up living on the same site as Perrywood Garden Centre in Tiptree her childhood was full of nature and plants. This was in stark contrast to the concrete of London, where she became unwell. In searching for the answers to her illness, she wonders whether being torn from her pot and replanted in a more hostile environment was the reason her body started to malfunction.

After seeking out alternative therapies, and moving to the countryside of North Essex, her ‘green recovery’ continued. It’s a book of mindful moments, savouring the small wonders of nature.

The Cactus Surgeon is available at Perrywood Tiptree and Perrywood Sudbury, which Hannah runs with her Dad and two brothers. It’s also available at, Red Lion Books in Colchester and the Markshall Estate shop. You can get it via any independent or chain book shop (just ask them to order it in) plus via other online retailers.