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
  • Bookends
  • 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

For further information

Contact The PR Team on
01539 822222 or