Bursaries available for Cumbrian Writers

11th March 2013

Following the launch of the Hunter Davies Bursaries last year, three more awards of £1,000 each are available to anyone working on a Cumbrian book project, or thinking of doing one.

Administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, the bursaries were first launched last year by the author and journalist Hunter Davies who wants to help people write and publish non-fiction books with a Cumbrian setting. Anyone, of any age can apply, and they do not have to be based in Cumbria. The vital thing is that the contents must be mostly about Cumbria.

Submissions must be received by 10th May and will be judged by a panel of three eminent Cumbrian’s with literary leanings or publishing and media experience.

This  year they will  be:  Eric  Robson,  broadcaster,  author and chairman of  Cumbria Tourism;  Dawn Robertson, publisher of Hayloft Publishing of Kirkby Stephen;  Hunter Davies, author  and  journalist.

“It really comes out of the success of the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards, which is now in its 29th year” says Mr Davies.  “We have noticed that more and more of the entries are coming from amateur first time authors who have become fascinated by some aspect of Cumbria life – their village, their church, their football team, or want to write about Cumbrian worthies or causes, or do some historical research.

Last year, 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 about some interesting trees. The three fortunate recipients were Margaret Poland from Maryport, who was working on a memoir about her early life, Ian Hill from Cockermouth, who was writing a book about the Cumbrian environment under threat, and Ian Hall from Keswick, who was doing his autobiography.

Mr Davies continues “The idea is to support anyone financially with a worthwhile idea.  Perhaps pay for their research time, writing time or towards publishing their book. It will be an encouragement, we hope, for them to carry on – though it is hoped that they are so in love with their subject that they would have carried on anyway. The bursary will give them a little push- and a little bit of money.

“Some of the bursary winners might go on to write best selling books, though we are looking to support authors and projects who will not appeal much to mainstream, commercial publishers. If that happens, let’s hope they will do the decent thing and give their bursary award back, so we can pass it onto other authors.”

It is planned that the three bursaries will be announced early June and will be invited to meet Hunter Davies at Dovenby Hall, near Cockermouth.

Andy Beeforth, Director of Community Foundation said “We’re delighted Hunter has created this fund with the Foundation.  We’re grateful for his generosity and his thoughtfulness. The bursaries provide an opportunity for a number of aspiring writers to get a leg up and will shine a light on an aspect of Cumbrian life or culture.”  He went onto say “The Fund demonstrates how people can make a real difference to an issue they care about by creating a fund with the Foundation”.

Further details and how to apply can be found here.