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Wonderful news! I hear from the offices of Cumbria Tourism that THIS PLACE I KNOW is on the short list for The Lakeland Book of the Year award. I am thrilled to bits. It is a tribute to the talented poets of the county and my fellow editors, Kim and Kerry, that we were able to put together such a great anthology. The pleasure is inevitably tinged with the regret that my mother, who died in January, will never know about it. She spent so much of last summer helping to me read and edit the poems and encouraged me all the way. The awards for prizewinners will be made at a charity lunch on July 16th. I’m trying not to think about it too much. Should I prepare a speech?

Summer is here and we are all wondering when the weather will cheer up. The sunsets in Dent when the sun slowly sinks through the clouds over the Howgills make up a little bit for the disappointment of cold, wet and windy days.

Now I am busy again, preparing books for publication later this year. I am currently working on ‘THE LANGUAGE OF THE LANDSCAPE – A Journey Into Lake District History’ by Angus Winchester. This wonderful book shows how the naming of places and the memories and histories associated with them give meaning to landscape. In his introductory chapter he writes, ‘All names hold meaning, even if it obscured by age and the loss of language in which they were coined: as such they are a point of contact with numberless generations who, across the centuries, have lived in and experienced the same corner of the world’. On a journey from Cockermouth through the Vale of Lorton, to Crummock Water and Buttermere, part of the Lake District he has known intimately since childhood, Angus Winchester shows how clues to the evolution, history and culture of the Lakeland landscape may be found in the names given to its farms, becks, villages, fields and boundaries over the centuries. The book is a personal journey in search of the essential spirit of a much loved place. It is a fascinating read and you will find yourself looking at the magnificent scenery of the Lake District in a completely different way.

Finally, an important event. The Norman Nicholson Society is holding a weekend festival in Millom on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June. There is a packed programme of speakers (including Sean O’Brien), creative workshops and guided walks. On Saturday evening, poets from Handstand Press’s anthology of new Cumbrian poetry, THIS PLACE I KNOW, will read their work at the Beggar’s Theatre, Market Square, Millom, starting at 8pm. Music from special guests, folk/blue duo The Demix. Admission is £7 (£5 for members of the Norman Nicholson Society), under-18s free. Pay cash at the door. To find out more follow this link