At a ceremony held yesterday evening (18TH July) at the Duchess of Cornwall in Poundbury, Emma Timpany’s novel, Travelling in the Dark, was announced as the winner of the Hall & Woodhouse DLF Writing Prize for 2019, and awarded the £1000 prize by the guest of honour, the famous local writer, Minette Walters


Born in New Zealand, but a long term resident of Cornwall, Emma Timpany drew on her own experience of life in remote New Zealand to construct an extraordinary story about a mother and son travelling to visit a sick friend and finding along the route shaken by earthquakes the need to bring together past and present, and to come to terms with her memories of her family and their reckless and devastating life.

One of four books short-listed for the Prize, Travelling in the Dark, was picked unanimously by the judges.

The runner-up, The Chicken Soup Murder, is Maria Donovan’s first book, an entertaining thriller in which a young teenage boy learns about grief, acceptance and the way the world works

The other two finalists were Table Manners by Susmita Bhattacharya, a book of short stories set in many countries, and exploring themes of identity, loss and belonging, and The Road to Chivitella by Dee de la Vardera, the story of two British officers who brought life back to an Italian village devastated by a German atrocity in 1944.


The Hall & Woodhouse DLF Writing Prize was set up in 2018 by the Dorchester Literary Festival, with the aim of encouraging writers based in, or well-connected to, in the West Country. This year over 70 writers entered the Prize, with books of remarkable contrast and diversity, and so the judging process was both lengthy and challenging. The success of the Prize suggests that writing is alive and well in the West Country.

Once again, the Prize was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Hall & Woodhouse


Lucinda Gray, Company Relationship Manager at Hall & Woodhouse said ‘We are proud to continue our support of local writers in Dorset and the South West through our sponsorship of the Hall & Woodhouse Dorchester Literary Festival local writing prize.

It was a pleasure to learn about the authors who were shortlisted for the prize and it’s fantastic to be part of an event which celebrates the wealth of literary talent that we have within the area.’

Janet Gleeson: 19th Jul 2019 08:51:00

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Feedback from 2015

I sip my Dorset tea and just wanted to say thanks so much for the invitation to the lit fest - I thoroughly enjoyed it... Rob Ryan
Many thanks, and thanks again for a lovely event.Catherine Mayer
Paul was an excellent interviewer, and I loved the format.Great audience , acoustics...Tracy Chevalier
We really enjoyed the talks we attended...and look forward to next year's event...Kate Adie was brilliantG Farmlloe
...Enjoyable,engaging, enthralling...A Hick
It is excellent that Dorchester is now on the literary mapR Binney


Thanks very much... It was fun and the audience very responsive.

Adam Nicolson
Feedback From 2017 Festival

Thanks again for organising a lovely event.

Dave Goulson
Feedback From 2017 Festival

My wife and I really enjoyed our first visit to DLF to hear Henry Bloefeld. Having looked through the programme further we wished we should have chosen more, but at least we shall try to get the books via the Library. Looking forward to seeing next year’s programme.

Heather and Bryan Edwards
Feedback From 2017 Festival

William and I had a very interesting and often hilarious time putting (our presentation) together – fortunately we both wanted to be thoroughly prepared, so we refined and refined… we enjoyed ourselves, aided and abetted by the helpfulness of you and yours behind the scenes, the warmth of the audience, and the pleasantness of the setting. Speaking at your festival was an altogether happy experience. I only wish I had managed to organise listening to many of the other talks, which I really wanted to do… Many congratulations to you and all your team, and all wishes for Festival no. 3!

Penrose Halson
Feedback From 2016 Festival

All of us in the Hardy Society were very positive about 'our' first night and the subsequent events. I thought Tony's event with Rachel and Dinah worked very well with interesting conversations from the both of the women.

You and Paul must be very happy with the positive way Dorchester people are continuing to embrace the Festival, and in impressively increasing numbers. Congratulations to both of you.

Next year's dates are already in our diaries and we are looking forward to meeting up with you soon to discuss our involvement.

Mike Nixon, Thomas Hardy Society
Feedback From 2016 Festival

...Enjoyable, engaging, enthralling...

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