DLF writing prize winner

Kate Adie and Anthony Woodhouse (centre, centre right) with the three shortlisted writers

Caption: Kate Adie and Anthony Woodhouse (centre, centre right) with the three shortlisted writers

Culture, Dorchester | Posted: Friday, July 13th, 2018 at 3:05 pm | return to news

Winner of the Hall & Woodhouse DLF writing prize announced

Local author, Philip Browne has been announced as the winner of the inaugural Hall & Woodhouse DLF Writing Prize.

Kate Adie and Anthony Woodhouse (centre, centre right) with the three shortlisted writers

Caption: Kate Adie and Anthony Woodhouse (centre, centre right) with the three shortlisted writers

Philip’s non-fiction book, ‘The Unfortunate Captain Peirce and the Wreck of the Halsewell,’ describes a tragic event in 1786 when a huge East India Company ship was wrecked on the Purbeck coast. Thanks to the efforts of local quarrymen, a third of the crew were saved but more than 150 drowned, amongst them Captain Richard Peirce and his two teenage daughters. They were all bound for India.

The judges for the prize were Sara O’Keeffe, executive editor of Atlantic Books and world-renowned literary agent, Christopher Little. In choosing Philip’s book they called it, ‘A tremendously lively, thoughtful and well-researched piece of historical non-fiction. It throws a spotlight (or should one say a searchlight) onto a vital element of local history and does so with bravura, vitality and a wonderful eye for historical detail. Captain Peirce came alive in this book, as did the social mores and maritime culture of the day. We felt immersed in the desperate fortunes of the Halsewell and felt for every man and woman on board. That, in itself, is an achievement.’

“I am genuinely surprised,” said Philip, a retired teacher who lives in Dorchester. “I’m also delighted that my win will hopefully bring the story of the Halsewell to more people’s attention. It surprises me that such a tragic local event is not more widely known. I spent four years researching the life of Captain Peirce up to that final voyage and discovered a remarkable man with an extraordinary career.”

The £1,000 award was announced by Kate Adie CBE at an event held at the Duchess of Cornwall in Poundbury. Anthony Woodhouse, managing director of Hall & Woodhouse, said, “We are proud to have supported the first Dorchester Literary Festival local writing prize. The competition showcases our local talent and promotes writers in Dorset and the south-west who deserve to have their work recognised by the whole country. Being rooted in the heart of Dorset, Hall & Woodhouse is committed to enriching the lives of its communities and it was fascinating to meet the authors behind the novels and support their talent in this way.”

Janet Gleeson, co-founder of the festival, said, “Our inaugural prize has been an extremely memorable event with vast diversity shown with the 53 submissions. We are hugely grateful to Hall & Woodhouse for supporting the competition, as well as to Kate Adie and all the readers and judges who helped us select such a fascinating winner.”

This year’s Festival is from 17th to 21st October.

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