Dorset has for hundreds of years inspired some of the greatest writers in our history, writers such as Thomas Hardy, T.E.Lawrence and William Barnes to name just three and who can forget Enid Blyton who for generations has inspired the minds of the young with her tales of adventure – using Dorset as a stunning backdrop for her stories. Dorset has a plethora of local landmarks to visit whether it be Clouds Hill, a National Trust site near Bovington once lived in by T.E. Lawrence himself, or Hardy’s Cottage in Dorchester, owned and lived in by possibly the most noted of Dorset’s authors – Thomas Hardy. He is responsible for some of the greatest works of English Literature – including Far From the Madding Crowd, Jude the Obscure and Tess of the d’Urbervilles and there are many local attractions you can uncover whilst on a quest to seek out Hardy’s secret hiding places.
It isn’t just the locals that have been inspired! Beatrix Potter could also be counted upon as a fan, with some of the views painted in Little Pig Robinson taken from Lyme Regis where she used to visit. The Tale of Little Pig Robinson is set in the fictional town of ‘Stymouth’, which Beatrix Potter based in part on Lyme Regis, as well as on the nearby towns of Sidmouth and Teignmouth in Devon. Views of all three towns are used as backgrounds in the book.
On her visit to Lyme, Beatrix Potter stayed at Burley, Silver Street, and enjoyed perfect weather and the steep views. She produced a number of sketches of the town, including several drawings of Broad Street: she wrote in a letter that it was a lovely street and she would have liked to have done better justice to it. One of her sketches of Broad Street on display in the Museum.
Even Jane Austen herself used West Dorset as the backdrop for her novel Persuasion, set in Lyme Regis. The crucial passage set in Lyme is the central link in the story which begins in the Somerset countryside and moves to its climax in Bath. Jane Austen’s settings for her novels were not usually real places: Lyme is one of the few exceptions, together with Bath. Persuasion was published posthumously in 1818, and the town has been a centre of literary pilgrimage ever since. When Lord Tennyson came here, he was more interested in seeing landmarks connected with Jane Austen’s novel than with real events such as the Monmouth Rebellion!
No less than three screen adaptations of Persuasion have used Lyme Regis as a filming location: the 1971 BBC mini-series starring Ann Firbank, the 1995 film starring Amanda Root, and the 2007 TV adaptation starring Sally Hawkins.
Whatever your literary interests we are confident that Dorset will have an event to suit, Purbeck Literary Festival between 14th and 27th February showcases some of the many talents
both locally and nationally. 2016 will be the third year of the Purbeck Literary Festival and already we have had the great pleasure of looking forward to seeing some fabulous authors including Carole Matthews, Geraldine McCaughrean, Katie Fforde, Minette Walters and Della Galton and there have been many more entertaining authors and artists who have delighted audiences over the past two years. For a full list of events see here
Dorchester Literary Festival which is held 19th – 23rd October is also well worth a visit and is even supported by Jullian Fellowes, writer and Director of TV’s Downton Abbey.
Picturesque Dorchester and the unspoiled countryside and dramatic coastal scenery surrounding it has inspired many of Britain’s best loved writers, including William Barnes, Ian McEwan and Tracy Chevalier.
With a programme of events highlighting the latest books by today’s most original authors, our new festival warmly welcomes book-lovers to this beautiful setting. Whether you want to hear about the latest novels, discover more about new biographies, recent books on history, art, politics and the natural world, or attend workshops on writing and publishing your own work, there will be something to delight and inspire you.
The festival’s main events will be held in the grand hall of the County Museum, a quirky Victorian building filled with a fascinating collection of exhibits to enjoy. A detailed programme of events will be available in late summer
We are delighted to work closely with a fantastic local publisher, Roving Press, who produce insightful, interesting books about Dorset. You can purchase their wonderful titles from many of our local bookshops and visitor centres. All titles are available to buy from their website Roving Press. They cover a vast range of Dorset subjects, from helpful Lesser Known guides to places like Swanage, Weymouth, Christchurch and Lyme Regis to the paranormal in Purbeck and secret places in West Dorset.
Swanage and Purbeck are fantastic locations for a relaxing short break by the sea, why not come and enjoy the Purbeck Literary Festival event at the same time as enjoying a wonderful holiday or short break? See availability here
At Dorset Cottage Holidays we have a variety of quality accommodation for you to choose from, offering great value for money and a warm welcome.