SUBMISSIONS from authors and publishers are being invited for the 30th Lakeland Book of the Year Awards.

The deadline for entries is March 20 and the judging panel will be headed by the awards’ co-founder Hunter Davies and also includes the BBC newsreader Fiona Armstrong and Gardeners’ Question Time chairman Eric Robson.

In conjunction with the awards, bursaries funded by Mr Davies will be presented to budding writers needing assistance to enable them to write and publish their own works.

The competitions are open to established authors as well as first-time writers - as long as the books to be entered are about anything to do with Cumbria and were published during 2013.

More than 50 books are entered in a typical year and in excess of 70 books is not uncommon.

There will be five topical categories, with each one providing a prize of £100.

The main prize - Lakeland Book of the Year Award - is given to the book judged to be the overall winner.

All prizes will be presented at a charity awards luncheon at The Inn on the Lake, Ullswater, on July 3. Over the years, the luncheon has raised many thousands of pounds for local charities and the cause benefitting this year will be mountain rescue.

Previous winners of the Lakeland Book of the Year have included Alfred Wainwright in 1985; Vivian Russell in 1990, Harry Griffin in 2000 and Booker Prize nominee Sarah Hall won a category in 2003. Lord Melvyn Bragg was also highly commended in 1988 for his book, the Maid of Buttermere.

Last year’s winner was A Lazy Tour in Cumberland by Stephen Matthews.

The awards were founded by the Hunter Davies and Cumbria Tourist Board, now Cumbria Tourism. They are organised by Chris Tomlinson, Pauline Crossley and Vicky Robinson, supported by Cumbria Tourism.

Entry forms are available by emailing or by contacting Cumbria Tourism on 01539 8222222.