Due to be held virtually for the first time in its 36 year history, this year’s Lakeland Book of the Year Awards may look different but what hasn’t changed is the staggering breadth and depth of literature inspired by the scenery, history and people of Cumbria and the Lake District.

From fascinating and meticulously researched histories of the area, amazing stories of Lake District characters and top-quality fiction, the Lake District has inspired generations of writers since the time of Wordsworth. 200 years after the birth of this Lakeland icon, the competition recognises the effort of these authors each year, celebrating and highlighting their output over the previous 12 months.

The 60 entries, all published in 2019, have now been whittled down to a shortlist of just 18. Now all that remains is the unveiling of the six category winners, with one then being crowned the overall book of the year 2020.

Due to Coronavirus restrictions the 2020 winners will be announced virtually, with judges Hunter Davies OBE, Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson and broadcaster Fiona Armstrong coming together through the power of the internet to discuss this year’s entries before crowning one book with the overall title of Book of the Year 2020.

Hunter Davies, awards founder and judge says “Lockdown with Lakeland Books, this is your big chance, hurry hurry. Find out which books are on the short lists and which are the winners of the 2020 Lakeland Book of the Year Awards.”

Cumbria Tourism MD Gill Haigh added “Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of society it’s fantastic to see such the Cumbrian institution that is the Lakeland Book of the Year adapting to these difficult times, and I’d like to warmly thank all the sponsors who continue to make it possible through these difficult times. The annual ceremony is a highlight of the county’s calendar and whilst it is of course a shame not to celebrate the authors in person, moving the ceremony online means that we can bring together Lake District and literature lovers from across the globe later this month.

“I’m glad I don’t have the difficult task of choosing this year’s winner, every book on this year’s shortlist explores a different part of Cumbria. Anyone who reads one of these finalists will be inspired to visit our county for themselves once it is safe to do so.”


The 2020 shortlist is:

The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places

Bob’s Jottings by Bob Jopling

Grasmere: A History in 55 ½ Buildings by Grasmere History Society

Knockupworth – The Story of a Family by John Bainbridge


The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition

Hows and Knotts: A Guide to Lakeland Views by Guy Richardson

I Hate the Lake District by Charlie Gere

Lake District Bouldering by Greg Chapman


The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation

Cumbria at War by Ruth Mansergh

Embellish with Relish by Maria Whitehead

The Lake District in 101 Maps & Infographics by David Felton


The Bookends Prize for Literature and Poetry

A Peopled Landscape by Stephen Matthews

The Cumberland Bard: Robert Anderson by Sue Allan

The Magpie’s Nest by Taffy Thomas


People & Business

Slightly Perfect by John Cunliffe

A Pennington Pepys (Extracts from The Commonplace & Diaries of William Fleming) by John Graeme Livingstone

My Dad’s Army: The White Gurkhas by Ian Wilson



Out of the Deep by Ruth Sutton

Secrets of the Flock by J.B. Browne

Two Days in May by David Clemson


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 and Latitude Press Ltd.

Literature lovers will be able to tune into watch the announcement on the 30th June at 2pm by visiting on 30 June, with the news shared by @lakesbookawards on Twitter and Cumbria Tourism’s Facebook page.

For further information

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01539 822222 or