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The first three Hunter Davies Bursaries for Cumbrian Writers were announced at the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards lunch at Castle Green Hotel in Kendal today.. The aim of the Bursaries, worth £1,000 each, is to help finance people to write and publish non fiction books with a Cumbrian setting. This is the first year of the awards and 34 entries were received. Entrants had to give a brief outline of their proposed book, some biographical information and a sample of their writing. The judges were Eric Robson, author, broadcaster and chairman of Cumbria Tourism; Dawn Roberston of Hayloft Books in Kirkby Stephen; and Hunter Davies.
They were looking for writers who were determined to write and publish their books anyway, whether they received a Bursary or not, and showed some evidence, not just of writing talent, but that they had writing. The money would help them off and projects , however interesting and worthwhile, will not attract the normal, commercial publishing firms. And probably never make any money. already made some progress with research and with their research, perhaps to take time probably to self publish their own book – as it is likely that most of their
The proposed subjects ranged from autobiography, biography, cooking, climbing, the history of a house, an Inn, a dead poet, a village, a town and a book interesting trees. about some “ We hope that all the people who applied will finish their books ,” says Hunter Davies “ and some of the ideas were excellent and deserve encouragement. The range was remarkable. Now, when wandering round Cumbria, I am constantly looking through windows and wondering if someone inside is bashing away on their book, hugging to themselves their pet literary project. so they say “
Almost everyone, after all, has a book in them, The fortunate recipients were:
* Margaret Poland, aged 77, from Maryport, who is working on a memoir about her early life. She left school at 15, worked for many years as a nurse and then as a London ambulance driver.
* Ian Hill, who lives in Eaglesfield, Cockermouth, is writing a book about the Cumbrian environment under threat, and plans to travel all over the county.
* Ian Hall from Keswick, who has been a farmer and a priest , is doing his autobiography and has completed 45,000 words already.
“If any of their books turn out to be best sellers, “ says Hunter Davies, “ it is hoped they will do the decent thing and give some of the money back and help the next generation of aspiring Cumbrian writers.”