THE winners of one of the most prestigious literary awards in the UK have been announced.

Wild swimming, mountains and acclaimed poets were just some of the winning subject matters to be celebrated at this year’s Lakeland Book of the Year awards.

But it was Guardian and MasterChef food critic Grace Dent’s autobiography Hungry that clinched the highly sought-after accolade.

Presented this week at the Roundthorn Country House Hotel in Penrith, the book, detailing the food personality’s life and experiences, impressed the judges with its ‘honest and entertaining’ account of growing up in Carlisle.

Posting on Twitter, Carlisle-born Grace, who also received the The Zefirellis Prize for People & Business, said that she was “thrilled” to receive the prize.

Chosen from over 70 entries covering almost every conceivable category from wild swimming to Cumbria’s diverse history, Hungry was celebrated alongside five other category winners at a charity lunch in support of the Stroke Association, with the attendees raising more than £600 for the cause on the day, with additional donations still coming in.

The judges, author and columnist Hunter Davies OBE, renowned broadcaster and Cumbria Tourism President Eric Robson OBE and BBC newscaster, presenter and author Fiona Armstrong, entertained dozens of guests with their thoughts and insights on the 18-strong shortlist before announcing the six winners of 2021.

The Mail: PROUD: Lakeland Book of the Year 2021 winners (L-R Nicola Martin, Fiona Armstrong, Terry Abraham, Eric Robson OBE, Helen Rebanks (accepting on behalf of James Rebanks), Michael McGregor

The Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscapes and Traditions went to Swimming Wild in the Lake District by Suzanna Cruickshank, while the The Striding Edge Prize for Guides and Places went to English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks, The Latitude Press Prize for Illustration and Presentation went to Terry Abraham: Life On The Mountains by Terry Abraham, The Bookends Prize for Literature & Poetry went to Radical Wordsworth by Jonathan Bate and The Gilpin Hotel and Lake Prize for Fiction went to Dead Ringer by Nicola Martin.

The awards, supported by James Croppers of Burneside, have continued uninterrupted for 37 years (with the 2020 event taking place virtually) and celebrate the variety of writing inspired by Cumbria and the Lake District.

Open to any book set in or featuring the county and published the preceding year, previous winners have included Rory Stewart, James Rebanks and Alfred Wainwright.