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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Carlisle bookseller wins Lakeland literary prize

A well-known Carlisle bookseller has won a literary award.

Book awards photo
From left, judges Eric Robson and Fiona Armstrong, winner Stephen Matthews, sponsor from Bookends Gwenda Matthews, Hunter Davies and Kim Moore, runner-up

Stephen Matthews, owner of Carlisle shops Bookends and Bookcase, took the Hunter Davies Lakeland Book of the Year for his novel A Lazy Tour in Cumberland.

The winners were revealed at a literary lunch with judges including Cumbrian writer and Beatles biographer Hunter Davies, broadcaster and journalist Fiona Armstrong, and writer and broadcaster Eric Robson.

Mr Davies said that there were a large number of well-written and interesting books taking in a broad spectrum of topics.

A Lazy Tour in Cumberland covers a trip by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, who spent six days in Cumberland in 1857. Along the way they visited Carlisle, Hesket Newmarket, Wigton, Maryport and Allonby.

It is suspected that Dickens made the trip so he could return via Doncaster to visit an actress he was infatuated with.

While in Cumbria the pair described Wigton as “dismal” but were much kinder about Maryport and Allonby.

They co-wrote The Lazy Tale of Two Idle Apprentices based on their experience, and Collins set half of his mystery and detective novel The Woman in White in Allonby.

As well as being the overall winner, A Lazy Tour in Cumberland triumphed in the Bookends Prize for Art and Literature.

The other category winners at the awards were The Greta by Keith Richardson and Val Corbett which took the David Winkworth Prize for Illustration, Photography and Design and Jenny Oglow’s The Pinecone, which won the Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape, History and Tradition.

Meanwhile the Striding Edge Prize for People and Places went to A Century Around Silloth by Peter Ostle and Stephen Wright.

The two books that came close to pipping Mr Matthews’ novel were The Greta and If We Could Speak Like Wolves by Kim Moore.

Event organiser Chris Tomlinson said: “There were a lot of very good and interesting books and for the first time ever five books were shortlisted rather than three. The judges found it very difficult to choose.

“Bookends have been sponsoring a prize pretty much since the event began 29 years ago so it was quite nice for them to win their own category.

“It was a very nice lunch and the three judges were as entertaining as ever.”

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