Landmark 40th Lakeland Book of the Year winners revealed

by | Jul 10, 2024 | News

Lakeland Book of the Year 2024 winners

Grasmere-based author Polly Atkin has been crowned the overall winner of the 2024 Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year Award held in the competition’s 40th anniversary year.

She was honoured as part of a special ceremony at The Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, where an audience of more than eighty people gathered to celebrate Cumbria’s rich literary talent in its landmark 40th year. Founded in 1984 by prolific author, journalist and broadcaster Hunter Davies OBE, all entries for Lakeland Book of the Year must be set in – or feature – Cumbria in some way.

2024 winner Polly Atkin battled it out against seventeen other authors with her book ‘Some of Us Just Fall’, which combines memoir, pathography and nature writing to trace a fascinating personal journey, where she turns to the natural world to help tame her illness.

Six other talented authors also took home the top prize in their categories. The full list of category winners for Lakeland Book of the Year 2024 includes:

The Bookends Prize for People and Business

  • Politics on the Edge – Rory Stewart

The Bill Rollinson Association Prize for Landscape and Tradition

  • Rural – Rebecca Smith

The Wordsworth Prize for Literature and Poetry

  • Some of Us Just Fall – Polly Atkin

The Gilpin Prize for Fiction

  • The Bay – Julia Rampen

The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration & Presentation

  • Sketching A Year in Lakeland – Liz Wakelin

The Zeffirellis Prize for Guides & Places

  • A Literary Walking Tour of Carlisle – Dr P. Bradshaw

As well as journalist, broadcaster and head judge Fiona Armstrong, the judging panel included the Director of Wordsworth Grasmere Michael McGregor and author Kathleen Jones.

In addition to the regular categories, the Children’s Poem of the Year competition, for both primary and secondary school sections within Cumbria was won by Jacob Wilson from Shap CE Primary School. The poetry competition was judged and presented by Rachel Laverack, Chair of the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE).

Polly Atkin comments: “I’m still in shock, it’s the first time I’ve ever won an award. I was not expecting it. It would be amazing to win any year but to win this award, this year, is just flabbergasting. Thank you to the judges. To be recognised is a great privilege and an honour.

Head judge Fiona Armstrong adds: “Another triumph for Cumbria’s writers. 40 years and still as brilliant as ever and inspired by this incredible landscape we call home!

This year’s annual ceremony also raised more than £600 towards Cumbria Tourism’s 50th Anniversary Charitable Fund, to help support the next generation of tourism talent to stay within the county and kickstart their careers in tourism and hospitality.

The Lakeland Book of the Year Awards is organised by Cumbria Tourism, the county’s official Local Economy Visitor Partnership (LVEP).