Inspirational authors are soon set to find out if they have been crowned a winner in the county’s most prestigious literary awards.

The Lakeland Book of the Year judges have now whittled down a total of 60 entries to an impressive shortlist of just 18.

At the end of this month, the six category winners are set to be unveiled - with one then being crowned the overall book of the year - in an online ceremony.

For the first time in its 36-year history, the awards, which are supported by Cumbria Tourism, will be held virtually as organisers vowed not to let the coronavirus pandemic pause the celebration of books inspired by the Lake District, the county’s history and its people.

Gill Haigh, Cumbria Tourism’s managing director, said: “Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of society, it’s fantastic to see 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.”

Judges Hunter Davies, Cumbria Tourism president Eric Robson and broadcaster Fiona Armstrong will discuss this year’s entries online before crowning one book with the overall title of Book of the Year 2020.

Among the shortlisted entries are Guy Richardson’s Hows and Knotts: A Guide to Lakeland Views, Cumbria at War by Ruth Mansergh and I hate the Lake District by Charlie Gere, which is said to offer and very different vision of the area.

The awards are supported by the Cumbria Community Foundation Hunter Davies Fund, Striding Edge, Bookends, the Bill Rollinson Award Association and Latitude Press Ltd.

To watch the Lakeland Book of the Year announcement visit at 2pm on June 30.