Ziyad Marar

His mother always told him that he has a ‘pressure of words’.

Ziyad Marar never planned to be a writer, and never even thought about it, yet he is the author of two books.



Pinhole Camera

Cumbria has a rich history of writing and the newly created University of Cumbria provides a valuable environment for the local artists.

A yearly publication going under the title of Pinhole Camera has been designed to showcase some of the work being produced by the newly inaugurated University of Cumbria. Poetry, prose, fiction and non-fiction submitted by current students and alumni from Carlisle have all contributed to this year’s publication.


Beatrix Potter

The work of Beatrix Potter has entertained children all over the world for decades, and her popularity is ever-increasing.

Liz Hunter MacFarlane, House and Collections manager of The Beatrix Potter Gallery at Hawkshead favours The Tale of Pigling Bland; its lead character Alexander, reminds her of her brother who shares his name with the hero of the story. Most people have a favourite tale by Potter, and it is often reasons like these that make them special to us.

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Jenny Uglow

Illustration and language have not always been happy bedfellows, but last year Jenny Uglow shone light on their happier moments together with Words & Pictures, a history of both artists’ interpretations of written works and their authors’ not always favourable reactions.

It was a small experiment,” Jenny says. “I’d written before about authors with a strong visual sense and illustrators who told stories with their pictures, and writing about the two together a natural progression.”


Sandi Toksvig

As well as being frequently heard on the Radio 4’s The News Quiz and a regular on television shows such as Have I Got News For You, comedian Sandi Toksvig, 50, is also a keen author, having written fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults.

Sandi began her comedy career at Cambridge University, where she studied at the same time as some of her most well-known peers; Stephen Fry (Black Adder, Q.I.), Hugh Laurie, (House) and Emma Thompson (Love Actually).

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Robin Ince

Robin Ince is not only a successful comedian; he is also a writer and actor. Having appeared on The Office, Ricky Gervais’ 2004 Politics tour and having supported him on his tours around the UK, it is safe to say that they are good friends.

It wasn’t the most obvious choice of career for a young Robin Ince as he grew up but his obsession with the Young Ones, The Comic Strip Presents, and Laurel and Hardy lead him to the alternative comedy boom as he started to drink – underage mind you- in the Cellars of London; the new comedy circuit and then on from his early 20’s, he began mumbling and fumbling onstage.


Desert Island Books

Imagine this, you’re stranded on a desert island, boredom is rife and your hunger is burning. You can only choose one book to keep you entertained, one that you would have to read over and over. What would yours be?, While you’re thinking it through here are some ideas from professional writers and avid readers from Cumbria who have chosen their survival book.


The Lake Poets

William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey became known as the Lake Poets in the early years of the nineteenth century when critic Francis Jeffrey conferred this designation on them. In an 1817 article published in The Edinburgh Review, Jeffrey referred to the three poets as belonging to the "Lake School." The term refers to the Lake District, where all three poets resided for a time.


Jenni Murray

Jenni Murray has become a household name since 1987, when she became the presenter of Women’s Hour in Radio 4. And its not surprising, with her fearless approach to controversial issues and no nonsense opinions on current affairs. 


Cherry Chappell

Did you know that a bee sting can aid arthritis? Or that black coffee can help an asthma attack? Many remedies from the past are no longer used in today’s society, but Cherry Chappell is seeking to change all that.

Her new, light-hearted health book Grandma’s Remedies - A Guide to Traditional Cures and Treatments from Mustard Poultices to Rosehip Syrup, sets out to inform readers about age-old remedies and the social history of medicine.



Bookends the independent Cumbrian bookshop will be at Words by the Water all day everyday selling the works of those appearing in the festival. Gwenda Matthews who runs the business with her husband Steve is prepared for a busy 10 days. Together the couple have worked in Cumbria for over 25 years and have 3 shops, Bookends in Keswick and Carlisle and also Bookcase of Carlisle which sells secondhand, rare and antiquarian books.


MA Creative Writing

Ambleside in the Lake District will become the inspiration for University of Cumbria’s postgraduate students in September this year.

The course will give students the chance to study a range of Romantic and post-Romantic texts in the landscape and the environment that inspired them.


Dove Cottage

It is no wonder that Dove Cottage in Grasmere Village is where the great romantic poet, William Wordsworth, spent what is now known as his “Golden Decade.”

Situated in the hills of the Lake District, it is difficult to imagine a more picturesque place.Dove Cottage was Wordsworth’s home from 1799 to 1808, along with his sister, Dorothy, and it was here that some of his most famous Poems, including “Daffodils”, were written.



Mirehouse is an extraordinary historical house with some spectacular literary connections including Wordsworth, Tennyson and Carlyle.

Set close to the eastern shore of Bassenthwaite Lake, the family run house and gardens are open to tourists to explore the history of Cumbria-inspired literature and admire the beauty of their superb gardens.


Tibor Fischer

Under the frog, The Thought Gang, The Collector Collector, and Don’t read this if you’re stupid. With such bizarre book titles it is difficult to imagine the kind of life Tibor Fischer must have had. But once he has told you that both his parents were Hungarian basketball players and he has spent his life travelling around the world, maybe his book titles don’t seem so weird after all. 


Richard Holmes

Described as “Britain’s greatest historian,” Richard Holmes is a man of facts and now of science.  His latest book “The Age of Wonder” turns its attention to beauty and terror in the age of romanticism.  “I wanted to challenge the idea that the romantics were opposed to science,” he said.  He questions the idea of whether science is something to be feared or not.  The romantic period was a great time filled with political changes; it was also a great period of scientific discovery.


The Art of the Short Story

“The only way to write a good short story is to write a good short story.” John Steinbeck was told this in one of his first ever story writing classes at Stanford, Shena Mackay also stands by this.