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Authors and publishers needed to enter new books into Cumbria’s leading literary awards

The Lakeland Book of the Year Charity Luncheon and Awards Ceremony takes place every summer and is now in its 34th year. These awards are unique and are recognised as being some of the most prestigious literary prizes outside of London.

The competitions are open to established authors as well as first-time writers. As long as the books to be entered are about anything to do with Cumbria and were published during 2017, they are eligible to enter. More than 50 books are entered in a typical year, and in excess of 70 books were received last year.

The judges have the task of reading all the books and selecting the winners. The lead judge is Hunter Davies, Chairman of the Judges Panel and the inspiration behind the event. Hunter has ghost-written a number of high-profile biographies of celebrities such as Wayne Rooney, Paul Gascoigne, Dwight Yorke and John Prescott, as well as acclaimed works about William Wordsworth and Alfred Wainwright. He regularly writes for national newspapers such as The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Daily Mail. In 2016 he published several successful new books including The John Lennon Letters, Lakeland – A Personal Journey and The Co-op’s Got Bananas. More recently he has facilitated the release of several works by his late wife, Margaret Forster.

The panel also includes ITV and BBC newscaster, author and journalist Fiona Armstrong, and Gardener’s Question Time Chairman, broadcaster and Chair of Cumbria Tourism and The Wainwright Society, Eric Robson.

There will be five topical categories, with each one providing a prize of £100. But the real prize is £500 for the Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year Award, given to the book judged to be the overall winner.

All prizes are presented at a charity awards luncheon, to be held this year at Castle Green Hotel in Kendal on July 11th. Over the years, the luncheon has raised many thousands of pounds for local charities and the charity benefitting this year will be St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston. The hospice provides care both as in patents and to patients, their families and carers living at home, throughout South Cumbria.

Previous winners at the Lakeland Book of the Year have included Alfred Wainwright, Harry Griffin, Cate Haste and Booker Prize nominee Sarah Hall. Lord Melvyn Bragg was also highly commended in 1988 for his book, The Maid of Buttermere.

The winner of last year’s Lakeland Book of the Year was The Marches by Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Borders. This is a father/son relationship book based around a series of walks undertaken across the North of England, with Rory’s elderly father meeting and walking with him for parts of the journey.

The awards were founded by the Hunter Davies and Cumbria Tourism. The awards are organised by Cumbria Tourism, assisted by several long-term patrons.

The deadline for submissions to this year’s competition is March 20th and entry forms are available by contacting Cumbria Tourism on 01539 8222222 or by email to lwilson@cumbriatourism.org.