Canada's scorching wildfires have stalled a Lake District literary event.

Celebrated crime writer Jonathan Whitelaw was due to travel from Canada to launch his new book, The Concert Hall Killer, at the Burn How Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere.

Unfortunately, ongoing wildfires have rendered him and his family stranded, unable to secure a flight out due to wildfire risks.

Wildfires have been ravaging Western Canada, with the calamity affecting an area of around 25,000 acres.

Thousands have been evacuated, and many more have been cautioned to remain indoors due to poor air quality concerns.

The Mail: Jonathan Whitelaw has been unable to travel to the Lake District due to the wildfires in CanadaJonathan Whitelaw has been unable to travel to the Lake District due to the wildfires in Canada (Image: Jonathan Whitelaw)

While Mr Whitelaw's family hasn't been asked to leave their home, their nearby airport is now serving as a crucial hub for firefighting missions.

Mr Whitelaw, who resides in Grande Prairie in Alberta, says this has "knocked all the commercial flights out of kilter."

He said: “We're all safe, thankfully, no evacuation notices here.

"But because everything is on such a massive scale here, nothing ever happens small.

"And it’s a shame that the weather is lovely and warm but we can't go outside to enjoy it as there's a air quality warning in place!”

The author has promised to reschedule his Lake District visit to later in the year.

Mr Whitelaw said: "Would you believe that I actually think a wildfire is going to resolve another book I’m working on!

"It’s incredible to see all the emergency services racing about town.

"It’s like something out of a film."

He also reminisced about his connection to the Lake District.

He said: "The Lake District has always felt like home for me

"While I grew up in Glasgow and now live 5,000 miles away in Alberta, I never pass up the chance to come back.

"I’ve been very lucky that the people of Cumbria and readers all over the world have taken the Bingo Hall Detectives characters to heart."

The book launch was orchestrated by hotel owner Michael Robinson and his wife Vicky, with Ms Robinson serving as the chair and co-founder of the Lakeland Book of the Year awards.

She first crossed paths with Mr Whitelaw when his book The Bingo Hall Detectives, set in Penrith, claimed the fiction prize two years ago.

The eagerly awaited new novel is the third instalment of the popular Bingo Hall Detective series, with the literary event supported by publisher Harper Collins and Fred’s Bookshop in Ambleside,

Mr Whitelaw, an award-winning journalist and regular reviewer on BBC Radio Scotland's Afternoon Show, will host an interactive Q&A session via Zoom for the scheduled attendees and other fans today (Thursday, May 16) at 11am.

Readers are invited to sign up and join by using the Zoom meeting ID 876 8150 6621.