Why is that some locations have a special place in our hearts? Is it the landscape, the people, the personal connection or the way some places can literally ground you to the here and now and also to the past and future?
Three writers local to Dorset will be exploring the spirit of place as part of BridLit in a discussion on Sunday 3 November at Bridport Library.
They are Gail Aldwin, whose debut novel, The String Games, is longlisted in the fiction category of The People’s Book Prize 2019, Maria Donovan, whose debut novel, The Chicken Soup Murder, has been shortlisted for the a number of literary prizes, and Rosanna Ley, published by Quercus Books, whose latest novel, The Lemon Tree Hotel, is set in Italy.
The three of them have formed a writing triangle to discuss their work-in-progress and are looking forward to being part of the festival. It will be the first time the three of them will have taken to the stage together.
Says Maria: ‘The love of a town or a landscape can get right into your bones. That’s how I feel about Bridport and West Dorset. For me the spirit of a place is affected by its present, past and future. People and other creatures matter too, and the knowledge and associations we bring from memory. It’s always dynamic.’
Rosanna says: ‘Place has always inspired me – to travel, to explore, to write – and it may be that hard to define ‘spirit of place’ that ignites the inspiration. It’s partly the landscape, but also the culture, the people, the atmosphere and the sense of history that makes up this ‘spirit’ that can be such a seductive draw.
‘Certain places have seduced me into wanting to move there – West Dorset is the best example of this.’
Says Gail: ‘Something about the spirit of place gets under the skin of my characters and sinks into their bones. They become the essence of where they’re from, where they’ve been and where the action of the story takes place. This inheritance of the places they’ve known informs their reactions to the obstacles I present to them through the plot.’
And with Bridport and West Dorset being such a special place, the BridLit discussion looks set to be a very stimulating one indeed.