Renowned food critic Grace Dent and farming personality James Rebanks are among the authors vying for the title of Lakeland Book of the Year 2021, with 18 books named in the prestigious award’s shortlist today.

Covering almost every genre and subject, from insights into infamous Cumbrian personalities (both past and present), explorations of the county’s capacity for outdoor recreation and brand-new thrilling fiction, this year’s shortlist has now been split into six categories by the judging panel. That includes author and columnist Hunter Davies OBE; broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson OBE DL; and BBC newscaster and author Fiona Armstrong.

The finalists will have a tense wait until 19 October for the winners to be announced at this year’s glittering charity event, held at the Roundthorn Country House Hotel near Penrith.

Alongside celebrating Cumbria’s vibrant literary heritage, the event will also raise awareness and funds for the Stroke Association and help them support those affected by strokes receive the care and support they need to rebuild their lives.

Jennifer Gardener, Associate Director for the North West at the Stroke Association, said: “Everyone at the Stroke Association would like to say a huge thank you for the money raised at this year’s Lakeland Book of the Year.

 “The Stroke Association is working tirelessly across the UK to support people to rebuild their lives after stroke. We believe that everyone deserves to live the best life they can after stroke.

From local support services and groups to online information and support, we are here for every stroke survivor.

 “However, our specialist support, research and campaigning are only possible with the generosity of our supporters like the Lakeland Book of the Year awards. Thank you again for your support and good luck to everyone who is shortlisted, we hope you have a fantastic day.”


The 2021 shortlist is:

The Zefirellis Prize for People & Business

A Lakeland Boyhood, David Clark

Hungry, Grace Dent

Made in Carlisle, Roger Bolton


The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places

Boundary Songs, David Banning

Swimming Wild in the Lake District, Suzanna Cruickshank

The Fresh and the Salt, Ann Lingard


The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscapes and Traditions

English Pastoral: An Inheritance, James Rebanks

The Stream Invites us to Follow, Dick Capel

Tommy’s Tyale, Tommy Coultard


The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation

Pooley New Bridge, Book of Memories, Various (edited by Sam Bunting)

Terry Abraham: Life On The Mountains, Terry Abraham

Through the Locking Glass, Various (compiled by David Felton and Evelyn Sinclair)


The Bookends Prize for Literature & Poetry

And, Like A Melody, It Flew Away, Stephen Matthews

Radical Wordsworth, Jonathan Bate

The Two Saras: Coleridge in Cumbria, Bethany Askew


The Gilpin Hotel and Lake Prize for Fiction

Dead Ringer, Nicola Martin

The Ghost of Gosswater, Lucy Strange

The Testimony of Sal Madge, John Little


As well as the six category winners, one of the above will also receive the ultimate accolade of ‘Lakeland Book of the Year 2021’.

The awards, one of the most prestigious of their kind outside London, are also kindly supported by The Cumbria Community Foundation Hunter Davies Fund.

Tickets to attend the in-person awards and charity event (in support of the Stroke Association) on 19 October are now available to purchase from for £30 per person. Attendees will be treated to a two-course meal alongside an afternoon of sparkling insights as the judging panel discuss the shortlist and present the coveted awards.



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