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Lakeland Book of the Year 2021

The 2021 Lakeland Book of the Year longlist has been announced, showcasing amazing literary talent inspired by the landscapes, history and culture of the Lake District, Cumbria.

The Coronavirus pandemic and national lockdowns of 2020 highlighted to many the importance of natural spaces with many of this year’s entrants emphasising the connection to the natural world. From guides highlighting how to enjoy wild swimming and other activities safely, amazing stories of Lake District figures and traditions plus fantastic fictional tales set across Cumbria, the area continues to inspire writing in almost every discipline.

74 entries, all published in 2020, have now been whittled down to a longlist of just 18 books by judges Hunter Davies OBE, Cumbria Tourism President, Eric Robson and broadcaster Fiona Armstrong. The judges have the difficult task of choosing category winners, plus the overall Lakeland Book of the Year ahead of the announcement on the 19th October at the Roundthorn Country House Hotel near Penrith, combined with a charity luncheon in aid of the Stroke Association.

Hunter Davies, awards founder and judge says ‘After 37 years this is the best year we have ever had. Over 70 good books, all newly published, all about Cumbria, with so many original ideas, so much research, so much fun and excellent writing.’

Cumbria Tourism MD Gill Haigh added “I’m very proud that Cumbria Tourism support the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards, every year I’m blown away by the sheer variety of world-class writing our fabulous county inspires. Every author who entered should feel very proud of their achievement and I can’t wait to see which book is our 2021 winner”.


The 2021 Longlist

David Clark,   A Lakeland Boyhood

Stephen Matthews  And, Like a Melody, It Flew Away

David Banning  Boundary Songs

Nicola Martin   Dead Ringer

James Rebanks  English Pastoral

Grace Dent  Hungry

Roger Bolton  Made in Carlisle

Various (compiled by Sam Bunting)   Pooley New Bridge, Book of Memories

Jonathan Bate  Radical Wordsworth

Suzanna Cruickshank  Swimming Wild in the Lake District

Terry Abraham  Life on the Mountains

Ann Lingard  The Fresh and the Salt

Lucy Strange  The Ghost of Gosswater

Dick Capel  The Stream invites us to Follow

John Little  The Testimony of Sal Madge

Bethany Askew  The Two Saras: Coleridge in Cumbria

Various (compiled by David Felton)  Through the Locking Glass

Tommy Coultard  Tommy’s Tyale


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 ( Books Cumbria)
  • The Bill Rollinson Award Association
  • Latitude Press Ltd.
  • Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
  • Zeffirellis Ambleside
  • James Cropper

Tickets to attend the in-person awards and charity luncheon (in support of the Stroke Association) on the 19th October will soon be available to purchase from