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THE LITERARY HOTEL OF THE LAKES

Burn How Evening

Our final book club event of the year labelled us not just as the literary hotel of the Lake District but also brought a wonderful artist to our attention.

Liz Wakelin has recently published Sketching a Year in Lakeland, a 52-week personal journey in which handwritten notes accompany beautiful water-colour pictures. These are of the fells and lakes, but also the shops and the cafes, and especially the people of this lovely corner of the world. And two members of our audience that night recognised themselves on her pages!

Liz Wakelin

Liz is also a great story-teller, with a fascinating life as a climber, long distance walker, runner, and educator. It was a delightful evening, full of Christmas magic. And though numbers were down because of the heavy snowfall, the atmosphere was really cosy.

It’s been a very interesting year for us, hosting authors who write in many different genres and learning about how they create their work. The season started with romantic novelist Suzanne Snow, who has several stories set in the Lakes, and she was followed in sharp contrast by crime writer Martin Edwards.

He was returning to the scene of the crime. Many crimes in fact, committed in this, the most gentle and genteel corner of the UK. Distinguished author, a member of the Murder Squad collective of crime writers, he’s won the CWA Diamond Dagger, the highest honour in UK crime writing. And in 2015 he was elected eighth President of the Detection Club; his predecessors include G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Agatha Christie.

Martin Edwards

And here he was, back in Bowness, back at the very hotel where he stayed on a reconnaissance mission while writing about some foul deed some years ago. We were curious to know how a mild-mannered gent like him could come up with such dastardly plots and gruesome characters.

Other authors at our club have included local writer Jo Horsley who has published a book about her life, and being adopted, and our favourite local poet Kerry Darbishire. There was author Eileen Jones who came along with the founder of parkrun, Paul Sinton Hewitt. Eileen’s written two books about parkrun. Then we had thriller writer Paul Teague who had us all intrigued with details of how he constructs his stories.

Heather Dawe is a writer, artist and data scientist and she entertained us with tales from her life of adventure; for twenty years she has spent as much time as possible running, cycling and climbing in wild and mountainous places. 

Heather Dawe

The last visitor, before Liz, was paddleboarder and adventurer Jo Moseley. So we know that we’ve offered a really varied programme of talks which everyone has loved. We plan to extend our book club in the new year; remember, you don’t have to join, or come every time, or be asked to read a certain book every month. You can just come along to each event as you wish, and they are all free.

We also plan in the new year to develop our association with the Wordsworth heritage at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount; with the Arthur Ransome Society; and with Brantwood which was the home of John Ruskin.

It’s easy to tell when you come here why the Lake District has been so inspiring for writers over the centuries, and we look forward to welcoming you to join us. We also look forward to meeting new authors, so please get in touch if you’d like to come and speak some time.

Wordsworth’s home at Rydal Mount

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