the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other Dorset writers

The String Games wins an award

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Victorina Press the publisher of The String Games is delighted that two of their books have been awarded as finalists in the Best Cover Design for Fiction and Non-Fiction in the 2019 International Book Awards. My novel The String Games was selected as a finalist in the Best Cover Design for Fiction.

The cover image features the profile of the protagonist of the novel as a young woman and the string design for the title represents the controlling metaphor of the novel. The catalyst for The String Games is the abduction and murder of a young boy and the story is told from the perspective of his older sister. The characters lead tangled lives that are knotted and twisted but Imogen is eventually able to get to the truth of what happened to her brother and address issues of unresolved grief. The outcome of this coming-of age story is positive, showing the possibility of fresh starts and new beginnings

I worked with the illustrator, Fiona Zechmeister, to produce the cover design. It was a collaborative effort to bring about a cover we were both pleased with. Fiona is an outstanding illustrator and I’m delighted her skills are recognised in this award.

The String Games  is available online through Victorina PressWaterstones and Amazon.  It is  also stocked by independent bookshop in Dorset including Serendip in Lyme Regis,  The Book Shop in Bridport, Gullivers in Wimborne and Winstone’s in Sherborne.

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Wimborne Literary Festival, 1-3 November 2012

Earlier in the year I paid a visit to Gullivers Bookshop in Wimborne and you can read about my experience here.  I’m delighted to again be writing about Gullivers but this time in relation to the Wimborne Literary Festival which the book shop is hosting for the second year.  The on-line programme has just been published and there’s a wide range of workshops for adults and children. Click here for the link to the site.

I’m pleased to see Dorset’s writing talent on the programme, including a workshop to be delivered by Sarah Steele who runs the Wimborne Writing Group. This will be a treat for anyone interested in poetry.  Sarah is an experienced tutor who runs the Wimborne Writing Group which meets once a month on a Wednesday in the Community Learning and Resource Centre. Members are experienced and talented writers who enjoy tasks and activities set by Sarah to develop writing skills.  The collaborative support offered by group members is something I definitely miss now that I am temporarily  unable to attend the sessions due to work commitments.  You can read more about Sarah here.

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A visit to Gullivers Bookshop, Wimborne Minster

This is the first in a series of posts about independent bookshops in Dorset. Once a month I attend a writing group in Wimborne led by poet, writer and teacher, Sarah Barr (you can find out more about the Wimborne Writers’ Group here). Last week I took the opportunity to visit Gullivers Bookshop, a family owned business in the centre of the market town run by Malcolm and Anne Angel and their daughter Jane with their son and his wife.

As I went into the shop, Malcolm was in the throes of  dismantling the window display that celebrated Dorset Art Weeks from 26 May – 10 June, which comprised a collection of papier-mache heads featuring characters from books. With another community event approaching, it was time for a change. To celebrate 20 years of Bookstart, Gullivers is hosting a Busy Bear Party on 22 June and the new display will feature a teddy bears’ reading group.  This engagement with the community is a feature of the bookshop that has been in Wimborne for over 40 years.

The shop feels bright and airy, well-stocked but not cluttered and an easy place to spend time. Displays by the entrance feature the latest fiction titles with further books on the shelves. There’s an area dedicated to Dorset’s people, places and culture and support for local authors (for a comprehensive list of publications click here). Thought has gone into organising the areas in an accessible way, for example, the young adult books have been positioned in a corner, away from the desk and the children’s section, to encourage self-conscious teenagers to browse.

The children’s section is delightful, decorated with mobiles and balloons. There’s Lego to play with and books for younger children displayed on shelves at just the right height. Children are welcome to chatter and play while choosing books, some saying that they ‘love the smell of the bookshop’.

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