The 2021 Lakeland Book of the Year longlist has been announced, showcasing amazing literary talent inspired by the landscapes, history and culture of the Lake District, Cumbria.
The Coronavirus pandemic and national lockdowns of 2020 highlighted to many the importance of natural spaces with many of this year’s entrants emphasising the connection to the natural world. From guides highlighting how to enjoy wild swimming and other activities safely, amazing stories of Lake District figures and traditions plus fantastic fictional tales set across Cumbria, the area continues to inspire writing in almost every discipline. The county’s contribution to national fields is also recognised, with works from restaurant and broadcaster critic Grace Dent and farming personality James Rebanks also featuring.
74 entries, all published in 2020, have now been whittled down to a longlist of just 18 books by judges Hunter Davies OBE, Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson and broadcaster Fiona Armstrong. The judges have the difficult task of choosing category winners, plus the overall Lakeland Book of the Year ahead of the announcement on the 19th October at the Roundthorn Country House Hotel near Penrith, combined with a charity luncheon in aid of the Stroke Association.
Hunter Davies, awards founder and judge says “After 37 years this is the best year we have ever had. Over 70 good books, all newly published, all about Cumbria, with so many original ideas, so much research, so much fun and excellent writing. Is it the effect of Covid? Did Cumbrians rush to their computer to start tapping away instead of to the fridge?”
Cumbria Tourism MD Gill Haigh added “I’m very proud that Cumbria Tourism support the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards, every year I’m blown away by the sheer variety of world-class writing our fabulous county inspires. Every author who entered should feel very proud of their achievement and I can’t wait to see which book is our 2021 winner”.
The 2021 longlist is:
A Lakeland Boyhood, David Clark
And, Like A Melody, It Flew Away, Stephen Matthews
Boundary Songs, David Banning
Dead Ringer, Nicola Martin
English Pastoral: An Inheritance, James Rebanks
Hungry, Grace Dent
Made in Carlisle, Roger Bolton
Pooley New Bridge, Book of Memories, Various (compiled by Sam Bunting)
Radical Wordsworth, Jonathan Bate
Swimming Wild in the Lake District, Suzanna Cruickshank
Terry Abraham: Life On The Mountains, Terry Abraham
The Fresh and the Salt, Ann Lingard
The Ghost of Gosswater, Lucy Strange
The Stream Invites Us to Follow, Dick Capel
The Testimony of Sal Madge, John Little
The Two Saras: Coleridge in Cumbria, Bethany Askew
Through the Locking Glass, Various (compiled by David Felton)
Tommy’s Tyale, Tommy Coultard
The awards, one of the most prestigious of their kind outside London, are kindly supported by:
- The Cumbria Community Foundation Hunter Davies Fund
- Striding Edge
- The Bill Rollinson Award Association
- Latitude Press Ltd.
- Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
- Zeffirellis Ambleside
- James Cropper
Tickets to attend the in-person awards and charity luncheon (in support of the Stroke Association) on the 19th October will soon be available to purchase from www.lakelandbookoftheyear.co.uk.
2020 Winner – 101 Reasons to Enjoy the Lake District
The 2020 Lakeland Book of the Year has been announced as The Lake District in 101 Maps and Infographics by David Felton, Evelyn Sinclair and Andrew Chapman.
Announced virtually for the first time in the awards’ 36 year history, the winner, described by head judge Hunter Davies as an “…incredible book” features graphs, images and more covering almost every aspect of the Lake District’s culture and history, from tourism to ghosts.
Winner David Felton said “I was so pleased that Hunter, Fiona and Eric were able to find a way to make these awards happen, which play such a key role in the life of Cumbrian publishing. It has been a really tough few months for those of us working in the local book trade, and this was a really welcome boost for a book that I loved working on alongside illustrator Evelyn Sinclair and designer Andrew Chapman.”
A special mention was also made to runner up Slightly Perfect by John Cunliffe, who sadly passed away earlier this year after entering his entertaining memoir of a life in hospitality including his time at the Gilpin Hotel.
Coronavirus restrictions meant that the usual awards charity luncheon was unable to take place, but judges Hunter Davies OBE, Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson and broadcaster Fiona Armstrong were determined not to cancel the ceremony entirely and instead broadcasted the announcements online. The video is available to watch below:
The awards, one of the most prestigious of their kind outside London, are kindly supported by the Cumbria Community Foundation Hunter Davies Fund, Striding Edge, Bookends, the Bill Rollinson Award Association and Latitude Press Ltd. The six category winners and overall 2020 Lakeland Book of the Year winner will be announced at www.lakelandbookoftheyear.co.uk on 30 June, with the news shared by @lakesbookawards on Twitter and Cumbria Tourism’s Facebook page.
The 2020 awards, taking place during the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birth, also included for the very first time a children’s poetry competition. Judges Michael McGregor (Director, Wordsworth Trust) and Ian Walker (Deputy Head, John Ruskin School) received an amazing range of poems from across the county, eventually deciding on three fantastic pieces of writing which they felt best reflected the theme of “The loveliest spot – what Cumbria means to me”.
The poetry competition winners are:
1st Place – The Rope Swing by George Hathorn
2nd Place – My Loveliest Spot is a Secret by Grace Hill
3rd Place – Dancing Grass by Eliza Hudson
The 2020 Lakeland Book of the Year winners are:
The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places
Grasmere: A History in 55 ½ Buildings by Grasmere History Society
The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition
Hows and Knotts: A Guide to Lakeland Views by Guy Richardson
The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation
The Lake District in 101 Maps & Infographics by David Felton, Evelyn Sinclair and Andrew Chapman
The Bookends Prize for Literature and Poetry
The Magpie’s Nest by Taffy Thomas
People & Business
Slightly Perfect by John Cunliffe
Secrets of the Flock by J.B. Browne
Lakeland Book of the Year 2020
Winner – The Lake District in 101 Maps & Infographics by David Felton, Evelyn Sinclair and Andrew Chapman
Runner Up – Slightly Perfect by John Cunliffe
Want to hear more about the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards?