The shortlist for the 36th Lakeland Book of the Year Awards includes a staggering breadth and depth of literature inspired by the scenery, history and people of Cumbria and the Lake District.
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 the 60 entries, all published in 2019, have now been whittled down to a shortlist of just 18.
From fascinating and meticulously researched histories of the area, amazing stories of Lake District characters and top-quality fiction, the area has inspired generations of writers since the time of Wordsworth. Two hundred years after the birth of the Lakeland icon, the annual awards recognise the effort of these authors each year, celebrating and highlighting their output over the previous 12 months.
Due to coronavirus restrictions the 2020 winners will be announced virtually, with judges Hunter Davies, 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.
Author, journalist and broadcaster Hunter Davies, who founded the awards which are the most prestigious of their kind outside London, said: “Lockdown with Lakeland books, this is your big chance, hurry hurry. Find out which books are on the shortlists and which are the winners of the 2020 Lakeland Book of the Year Awards.”
Literature lovers will be able to watch the unveiling of six category winners and the overall book of the year award author being crowned on the 30th June at 2pm on the awards website.
Cumbria Tourism managing director Gill Haigh said: “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.
She added: “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 are 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 www.lakelandbookoftheyear.co.uk, with the news shared by @lakesbookawards on Twitter and Cumbria Tourism’s Facebook page.