Borderlines Festival announce competition winners and BBC Radio Cumbria line-up

Borderlines Photography Winner – Colours of Hope by Geetanjali Verma

Despite the cancellation of Borderlines Book Festival this year, the dedicated team behind this much-loved event, have been able to keep its spirit alive by running its annual competitions and organising a series of daily literary interviews on BBC Radio Cumbria next week.

The annual Borderlines Poetry and Photography competitions were launched in the Summer and organisers received over 150 entries from all around the world. The theme for both competitions was ‘Hope’.

Award-winning poet Helen Mort judged this year’s poetry competition and was highly impressed by the standard of entries. Helen chose ‘Tea in the Garden’ by Patrick Bridgman of High Hesket, Carlisle as the 2020 winner.

Helen commented; “Tea in the Garden’ did not announce itself loudly: its subject is an everyday ritual, sharing tea outdoors. But as soon as I had read it, I needed to go back to the beginning immediately and enter the world of the piece again. With every subsequent reading, my admiration deepened. This piece is a timely celebration of the things we have: the ‘blue novelty’ of a gas flame, the ‘acceptable sweetness’ of herbs, the sound of a forgotten song. Together, these humble possessions form an account of ‘what we lose or live in’. This is such a subtle and nuanced piece of writing and it moved me deeply.”

Kerry Darbishire of Whinfell, Kendal was chosen as runner up, with Kelly Davies of Maryport and Maria Castro Dominquez of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria both highly commended.

The winner will be announced live on BBC Radio Cumbria during Caroline Roberston’s show on Thursday 1 October (World Poetry Day) by Helen Mort and Patrick will read out his prize-winning composition.

The photography competition was judged by award-winning photographer Phil Rigby. This year’s winning entry ‘Colours of Hope: Rainbows’ was taken by Dr Geetanjali Verma. Phil said:

“Rainbows are the symbol of hope in many cultures. It is a super picture of a full rainbow with a storm in the background and reminds us of the children’s painted rainbows that popped up in windows around the world at the start of lockdown.”

The winning photo and poem will be shown at Tullie House Museum in their Community Case, as well as being on display in Bookends Bookshop’s Cakes & Ale Café during October. They will also be available to view online at from Friday 2 October.

Festival organisers also announced today that a number of authors who would have been speaking to festival-goers in person will be appearing on BBC Radio Cumbria on Caroline Robertson’s mid-morning show. All the authors have a Cumbrian connection and will entertain listeners each day, in what would have been the festival week.

The line-up will be:

  • Monday 5 October – Jenny Landreth – discussing her new book on amateur dramatics
  • Tuesday 6 October – Lindsay McRae – renowned wildlife cameraman
  • Wednesday 7 October – Polly Toynbee – on her book examining the 2010s
  • Thursday 8 October – Grace Dent – discussing her new memoir ‘Hungry’
  • Friday 9 October – Marie Elsa Bragg – discussing her book ‘Sleeping Letters’

Festival Chair Anna Smalley says: “We are so pleased that we’ve been able to bring a slice of Borderlines Festival to our supporters this October and are delighted that we’ve been able to work together with BBC Radio Cumbria to make this happen.”

Arts – Cumbria Crack