Enter the prestigious 40th anniversary Lakeland Book of the Year

by | Jan 9, 2024 | News

Judge Michael McGregor (Left) with 2023 Winner Amy Bateman (Right)

Marking its 40th anniversary in 2024, entries are now open for Cumbria’s most prestigious literary competition – the Lakeland Book of the Year.

The annual awards were established by literary stalwart Hunter Davies in 1984 to celebrate top quality writing inspired by the Lake District, Cumbria.

Past winners range from prolific fellwalker Alfred Wainwright (1985) and Beatrix Potter’s great-nephew John Heelis (1995), to ex-Cabinet Minister Rory Stewart (2017) and restaurant critic Grace Dent (2022).

Lakeland Book of the Year recognises both established authors and first-time writers, and over the past four decades, the competition has generated an incredible catalogue of books covering everything from landscape and tradition to literature and poetry.

A special event at Wordsworth Grasmere saw the 2023 winner, photographer Amy Bateman, officially launch this year’s call for entries. She was joined by Director of Wordsworth Grasmere, Michael McGregor, who is also part of the judging panel for Lakeland Book of the Year.

Amy Bateman says: “The fact my book, Forty Farms, won the prestigious Lakeland Book of the Year award is humbling but also adds an incredible prestige to everything I’ve been working on.

“I’m now an award winning author and that helps elevate my future projects. So, the opportunities created by winning the 2023 award haven’t stopped yet and are not going to stop anytime soon. My advice to other authors is give it a go and enter!”

Michael McGregor, Director of Wordsworth Grasmere, says: “The Lakeland Book of the Year Awards are so important to us at Wordsworth Grasmere because we really want to encourage people to write and create. There are a lot of people out there with talent that don’t often have the opportunity and so for us it’s all about providing that opportunity. The Awards is a great way of doing that but also to provide recognition for people as well which is really important.”

Writers hoping to throw their literary hat in the ring have until Sunday 28 February 2024 to submit an entry form. All entries must be related to Cumbria and will have been published in 2023.

The judging panel is headed up by broadcaster Fiona Armstrong. As well as Michael McGregor, she will be making the final decisions alongside author Kathleen Jones and renowned local broadcaster – and former Cumbria Tourism president – Eric Robson. The Children’s Poem of the Year category, which this year has Primary and Secondary School sections, will be judged by Rachel Laverack who is Chair of the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE).

The winners will then be revealed at a special awards ceremony on Tuesday 9 July, at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal.

The competition has been organised by Cumbria Tourism, which – in a double celebration – is marking its 50th anniversary in 2024.

For further information, or to download an entry form, visit the Lakeland Book of the Year page or email info@cumbriatourism.org