English and Drama blog

02 June 2012

"Why is there so much Dorset in this exhibition?"

I was doing a tour of Writing Britain last week for a group of trainee librarians, and when I asked for questions at the end one of them asked me why Dorset featured a lot in the Rural Dreams and Waterlands sections which I curated. She was from Dorset and had noticed a few references.

Now I'm hoping that I didn't accidentally bias this exhibition into becoming "Writing Dorset", but choosing books for the exhibit list was inevitably going to be a bit of a personal thing. (We knew we couldn't be comprehensive and that's why we created Pin-A-Tale, so people could nominate what we missed out.) As I was born in Dorset and lived there till I was 18, the literature of Dorset was always going to be interesting to me. We couldn't have created this exhibition without including Thomas Hardy, for example, and books like John Cowper Powys' Maiden Castle (Dorchester), Jane Austen's Persuasion (Lyme Regis) and Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach (er, Chesil Beach) all made their way in too.

But anyway, all of this is a long preamble to me saying that Writing Britain also features Enid Blyton's Five on Kirrin Island Again, which is based on adventures in the Dorset landscape. I was recently contacted by the organiser of the Famous Five Adventure Trail 2012, which kicks off this weekend in the Poole area and runs until September. They will be having a launch event on 7th June, with stalls at every station on the Swanage Railway.



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