Can we capture the literary spirit of the county?

Pick of the Day:  A Spiel Amang Us (The Scotia Bar Writers' Prize collection).

I love the sense of excitement that comes with seeing that a book I have ordered has arrived in the post.

When I was young, my parents bought me a subscription to The Childrens’ Book Club, and I can still recall the thrill of the Editors’ Choice landing on the mat once a month. It has never gone away.

The only dulling part today is my recent realisation is that the online bookselling site Abe Books is actually owned by Amazon - giving them overwhelming dominance of secondhand book market online. What can you do?

Two purchases arrived in the this morning’s post: A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, which is be read in time for discussion at our book group in December, and an “as new” copy of A Spiel Amang Us - Glasgow People Writing (winning entries from the Scotia Bar Prize).

I first bought a copy of A Speil Amang Us on a visit to the city back in 1990, but have misplaced it.  I have replaced it because it is an absolute inspiration for the Dorset Writers’ Prize, and I would like to read it again. 

This is a collection of people writing tales (and even a play script) that range from the funny to the profound. Some of them remain in my head, 27 years on.

Billy Connolly is quoted on the cover, saying: “The passion of the men and women of Scotland has never been in question, but it is surely time we paid more attention to the literary evidence of this.”

Insert “Dorset” for “Scotland” and we have one of the major drivers for launching this competition.

The Local Books section of bookshops across the county are full of the nostalgic and photographic evidence of people’s love for the county - but there is little evidence of the current literary passions inspired by the county in which we live - its towns, as well as heaths and shores.  

We hope The Dorset Writers’ Prize might a small contribution to redressing the balance. 

Thank-you to the Scotia Bar Writers’ Prize.