‘Visiting Hardy’: A Talk by Helen Dunmore
Writing Places, the literature project partnership between Literature Works, The National Trust and The Poetry Archive, are delighted to welcome acclaimed author Helen Dunmore to Dorset Country Museum on Friday 25thSeptember.
Helen has a wealth of writing and teaching experience. She is a published writer of poetry, short stories and novels for children and adults and has taught poetry and creative writing in a variety of community settings as well as at undergraduate and post-graduate level.
Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996 and since then she has gone on to publish a number of novels, short story collections and books for children.
Her latest novel, The Lie, (2014), is set during and after the First World War. It has been shortlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, and was also nominated for The Folio Prize.
Helen is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Thomas Hardy designed Max Gate after he’d become a well-known and successful writer and it was here he entertained visits from some of the leading lights of the 20th Century, including T.E. Lawrence, The Prince of Wales and in 1926 Virginia Woolf with her husband Leonard, who later said she wanted to talk books but he kept reverting to the dog. Acclaimed novelist, poet, short fiction and children’s fiction writer Helen Dunmore imagines what it must have been like to visit Hardy at Max Gate and shares some of the stories that surround these encounters.
“Hardy proved that it was possible to be a great novelist and a great poet, and I think he encourages all writers to be bold rather than narrow, to have faith in their own material and not to flinch from writing the books they want to write. The emotional honesty and brilliant technique of Poems of 1912-1913 have influenced me deeply, and so has the sense of place which suffuses his work. I like his melancholy, his shrewdness and keen observation of nature and human nature”. Helen Dunmore 2015