In Your Area


Cumbria is a large rural county with a small population and a long tradition of nurturing writers and writing. In its centre lies the Lake District , well-known worldwide through the writings of Wordsworth and the Lake Poets as the cradle of British Romanticism. Cumbria is, however, very much more than that…

Literary activity takes place right across the county – some forming part of the regular programmes of theatres and arts centres , and some organised on an ad hoc basis, or by one of a number of literature promoting and educational agencies in the county. There are many published writers living in Cumbria , and very many more who have yet to publish. The county hosts some 22 writing groups – and many more reading groups. The County Council's Reader Development Officer Helen Towers keeps a register of the reading groups (the Library Service has multiple copies of novels specifically for reading group use), and she also runs reading projects in libraries and elsewhere, including The Write Read, an annual event to bring readers and writers together.

WRITING CUMBRIA is a new writing development service bringing together writers, readers and literature organisations across the county. It provides services for writers of fiction and poetry, members of writing groups and reading groups, libraries, bookshops, literature promoters, creative writing course tutors, and publishers. As well as a range of project work, WRITING CUMBRIA also publishes All Write, a free quarterly with everything you need to know about the county’s literature scene. Contact Sue Allan on 01768 899444 or for further details or to join the mailing list.

Set up to celebrate writing and reading in south Cumbria and to help develop writers and writing in the area, Word Market is a thriving umbrella organisation which includes groups such as A Poem & A Pint, South Cumbria Playwrights and Ulverston Writers. Co-ordinator Linda Graham manages a comprehensive programme of events and activities including training workshops, masterclasses, residencies, commissions and special events, with an annual festival in February. Contact Linda on 07834 150523 or

The Wordsworth Trust runs a series of Summer Readings with nationally and internationally acclaimed writers at Grasmere , as well as workshops, schools work, exhibitions and two festivals. Contact: or see

Based in Cockermouth , SLATE runs readings, workshops and organises residencies. Contact for further details.

Finally, Words by the Water is Cumbria 's largest literature festival and is held at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick each March. In 2006 the festival is expanding from five days to ten, bringing a host of internationally acclaimed writers to the county.


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