Thursday, 3 December 2015

Unique Bridport novels in a unique Bridport venue

A crop of fiction based in and around Bridport will be on sale at Bridport Electric Palace on Saturday 12 December between 10am and 1pm.

Novels by the three founding members of The Bridport Press – Sean Geraghty, Mitch Norman and former Bridport News editor Margery Hookings, who writes under the pen name of Maddie Grigg – will be on sale, along with children’s stories written by the late Jenny Billett.

Margery’s non-fiction book, My Kind of Town, about the history of Bridport over the last 150 years as seen through the eyes of the local newspaper, will also be available, as well as A Year in Lush Places, based on her award-winning blog, The World from my Window. Under her nom de plume, she now writes a weekly column for The People’s Friend magazine.

Mitch Norman’s novel, Well, Fare Thee Well, is a funny and poignant, bitter-sweet coming-of-age story featuring scooters, Tamla Motown and girls.

The Borassic Coast is a dark tale revealing the underbelly of The Jurassic Coast through linked characters and stories.

A Town Like This by Maddie Grigg is a farcical romp featuring a cavernous outfitters with hidden attics and a local newspaper reporter out to make a name for himself. 

The books will be on sale in the Palace’s cafĂ©, where you can enjoy a coffee and a cake to the sound of Mitch’s mellow guitar, on Saturday 12 December between 10am and 1pm.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Grab a piece of fiction set in a land not that far away...

Get your hands on something a little bit different this Christmas.

All our books,including the first three (pictured above) are available online.

Two of our novels are also available on Kindle for immediate download. Go to The Borassic Coast and A Town Like This. 

Maddie Grigg's novella, A Year in Lush Places: Tales from England's Rural Underbelly, is also available on Kindle - check out the reviews.

If you'd like to order Well, Fare Thee Well, A Town Like This or The Borassic Coast in paperback, your best bet is to do this direct from the publishers,, although we are hoping to organise a pre-Christmas sale. Watch this space!

The Erosian Fairies by Jenny Billett

The third book by the late Jenny Billett is now available.

Liama lives in the Kingdom of Erosana. She is excited because the Fairy Queen is giving her new wings with magic power, but the Queen disappears and the evil goblins sneak into the kingdom.

Liama must search for the Queen to save the fairies. She is helped by Oran, an extraordinary otter-like creature and together they bravely face danger. During their journey they meet dragons, monsters and frightening birds, but also find help and kindness in other kingdoms.

However, the adventure is not over when they discover the Fairy Queen...

The Erosian Fairies is in aid of Riding for the Disabled Association. 

  • Jenny Billett wrote for children using her imagination to create adventure. She was also a singer and an artist working in stained glass and other media. She had an affinity with children and was passionate about the countryside and wildlife. Jenny died aged 25 years in 1994 attempting to rescue a stranded sheep from a cliff top in Dorset. Jenny’s books are published posthumously and proceeds from sales go to charity.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Monday, 15 June 2015

Memoirs of farmer and World War I poet published

Bridport Press joint founder Margery Hookings has published the memoirs of her grandfather, a man who loved the land and saw the horrors of The Somme first-hand.

W. Percy Withers was an ordinary man who led a happy life as a tenant farmer in Somerset in the first half of the 20th century.

He was born in 1894 at Upper Milton Farm, near Wells, and his story touches on rural life in the Mendips at the turn of the century. He recalls life on the farm and his stories include the celebrated cave explorer Herbert Balch who lived nearby.

Like so many ‘ordinary’ men, Percy was caught up in extraordinary events when war broke out in 1914 and he reported for duty in Shepton Mallet on 6 August.

With the North Somerset Yeomanry, he fought on the dreadful battlefields of The Somme and lived to tell the tale, returning to England and settling first at Barton St David, near Somerton, before moving to Donyatt, near Ilminster, where he farmed at Cold Harbour and Pottery Farm. He died in 1970.

His memoirs, entitled Destination Unknown, have been published alongside some of his poems and family photographs.

Margery, a former local newspaper editor, said: “The book is intended first and foremost as a record of Percy’s life to give to his grandchildren. 

"He was a kind, gentle man with a love of words and a deep love for the countryside.

“These memoirs contain some fascinating snippets of social history, relating to farming and everyday life in rural England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the everyday story of what was meant to be the war to end all wars.”

The title of the book comes from one of Percy's poems, Destination Unknown, in which he imagined what his mother thought he might become in later life.

Percy was a prolific poet, writing on family matters, local stories, the countryside around him and the war he went through.

He wrote the following after being demobbed:

Where are you now, you North Somerset Yeomen?

Where are you now, you North Somerset Yeomen,
Who came, swift to answer your country’s appeal,
To pit your raw strength ’gainst the might of the foeman,
To give shot for shot, to oppose steel to steel?

You came, not for gain, for reward or for glory,
And little you heeded where duty’s path led;
You wrote your full page in our England’s proud story,
Thanked God for your victories, and mourned for your dead.

For some lie near Ypres, beneath the clay sleeping;
They suffered, they died, but no inch would they yield,
And dull leaden skies up above them are weeping
For them, as they lie ’neath the battle-scarred field.

And all up and down where the old trench-line wandered,
The plain wooden crosses their message proclaim;
Yet no man may say that their young lives were squandered –
They died for this England; they rest in their fame.

Where are you now, you North Somerset Yeomen,
Bred to the ploughtail, the desk or the mine?
You gave of your best, did your duty, and no men
Can beat your proud record, your glory outshine.

You fought and you died, you were wounded and shattered;
You stuck to it grimly, till Peace came at last,
And now, on the face of the earth you are scattered,
Till nothing remains but the ghosts of the past.

The ghosts of the past – in the mists of tradition,
The actors depart, but their exploits remain;
But still the old Regiment retains her position –
She’d do it, if need be, all over again!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Lucy's Adventures on sale in Bridport

Jenny Billett's children's book, Lucy’s Adventures, is now available from Waterstones in Bridport.

It is also available from

Proceeds are going to Dorset Wildlife Trust.

By way of recommendation, an eight year old who read the book described it as 'exciting and funny'.

Lucy lives in Moss Cottage in a small village in West Dorset with her family and pets. 

She has many adventures from becoming a butterfly to flying over the North Pole in a balloon. 

Her imagination and strange encounters takes her to faraway places and exciting events including meeting a mermaid and a unicorn.