In 2023 we ran 17 events. Four sold out completely. Of particular interest were Libby Page’s talk on her new book set in a vintage clothes shop accompanied by a fashion show by volunteers from the town’s Emporium. Test pilot Chris Taylor captivated the audience with his experiences of testing aircraft. We also used Shillingstone Station and a train carriage to hear about Rupert Brooke and his life in Dorset. The three historic writers of the town were celebrated with a Hardy talk by Michael Langridge, presentations on the literary connections with stained glass windows in St Mary’s Church, Sturminster Newton, and walks in the surrounding countryside where poetry was written by Robert Young and William Barnes, and where Thomas Hardy set Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
We welcomed visitors from across the South West and Southern England including as far away as Exmoor, London, Andover, Milton Keynes – and Dorset.