Authors and publishers are needed to enter new books into Cumbria’s leading literary awards.

The Lakeland Book of the Year Charity Luncheon and Awards Ceremony takes place every summer and is now in its 33rd year. These awards are unique and are recognised as being the most prestigious literary prizes outside of London.

The competitions are open to established authors as well as first-time writers. As long as the books to be entered are about anything to do with Cumbria and were published during 2016, they are eligible to enter. More than 50 books are entered in a typical year, and in excess of 70 books is not uncommon.

The judges have the task of reading all books and selecting the winners. The lead judge is Hunter Davies, Chairman of the Judges Panel and the inspiration behind the event. Hunter  has ghost-written a number of high-profile biographies of celebrities such as Wayne Rooney, Paul Gascoigne, Dwight Yorke and John Prescott, as well as acclaimed works about William Wordsworth and Alfred Wainwright. He regularly writes for national newspapers such as The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and the Daily Mail. In 2016 he published several successful new books including The John Lennon Letters, Lakeland – A Personal Journey and The Co-op’s Got Bananas.

The panel also includes ITV and BBC newscaster, author and journalist, Fiona Armstrong, and Gardner’s Question Time Chairman, broadcaster and Chair of Cumbria Tourism and The Wainwright Society, Eric Robson.

There will be five topical categories, with each one providing a prize of £100. But, the real prize is the Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year Award, given to the book judged to be the overall winner.

All prizes are presented at a charity awards luncheon, to be held this year at Armathwaite Hall, Bassenthwaite Lake, near Keswick on July 11th. Over the years, the luncheon has raised many thousands of pounds for local charities and the charity benefitting this year will be the Alzheimer’s Society, Cumbria Branch.

Previous winners at the Lakeland Book of the Year have included Alfred Wainwright, Harry Griffin, Kate Haste and Booker Prize nominee Sarah Hall. Lord Melvyn Bragg was also highly commended in 1988 for his book, the Maid of Buttermere.

The winner of last year’s Lakeland Book of the Year was “Lakeland Waterways” by Robert Beale and Richard Kirkman, published by Lily Publications. Robert is the lead author and a Cumbrian lad. He started working for Windermere Lake Cruises in 2008 and is one of the youngest employees to regularly skipper a historic ‘steamer’ on England’s largest natural lake.

The awards were founded by the Hunter Davies and Cumbria Tourism (CT) and are organised by Chris Tomlinson OBE, Affra Hartree and Vicky Robinson MBE, with support from CT.

The deadline for submissions to this year’s competition is March 24th 2017 and entry forms are available by going to the website: or by contacting Cumbria Tourism on 01539 822222.


Notes to Editors:

For more information, contact Chris Tomlinson on 07770 688644 or go to:

Cumbria Tourism continues to provide administrative support to the voluntary team and has given full access to archives, databases and financial planning.

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