IT doesn’t seem the greatest omen for the city’s proposed cultural quarter to begin by moving and reducing the size of Salisbury Library. As far as I understand it, the new, smaller location in Fisherton Street is a ‘decant’ site, before a new facility is eventually built. If the latter happens, that could be exciting: Birmingham and Peckham, for example, both enjoy recently built, award-winning libraries. But certainly, any quarter designed to accurately celebrate this city’s culture has to have literature in the mix, and a proper library at its heart.

I was reminded again of our ongoing local literary heritage when I was lucky enough to catch up with author Keggie Carew, who lives just outside Salisbury in the Chalke Valley. This week sees the publication of Keggie’s new book, Quicksand Tales, the follow-up to her debut, Dadland, which in 2016 won the Costa Prize for Best Biography. It can’t be easy following up a prize-winning bestseller, but Keggie’s warm and witty writing skills deftly sidestep any second book syndrome concerns.

Quicksand Tales is a memoir of misadventure – stories from Keggie’s life where things have not exactly gone to plan: the plot to steal back her stolen belongings that led her to breaking into the wrong house; the blind date disrupted by magic mushrooms; the birthday weekend in a Scottish hotel worthy of Fawlty Towers. The book begins with the Picasso line about how a picture hung crookedly on a wall tells you more about the owner than a straight one ever could. Keggie delights in capturing life in all this off-kilter glory – the joy of making a hash of it and being human, as she describes it. As a writer, Keggie’s honesty and empathy shine through; as a reader, you’ll whip through these tales alternately laughing and wincing in recognition.

Like many authors, Keggie’s route to becoming a bestselling writer has been a long and winding one. Her creative journey began in art, before trying her hand at writing novels. But the elephant in the room for her fiction was that real life had a better tale to tell. Stories, Keggie told me, have always been currency in her family. So when her father’s memory began to fail because of his dementia, Keggie was determined to capture the narratives of his remarkable life before they was lost. That became her first book, Dadland, and her career as an author was born.

‘A writer who has some special way of looking at things,’ Raymond Carver once wrote, ‘may be around for a time.’ Keggie Carew is one such writer – another wonderful voice in our local library of literary talent.

Quicksand Tales: The Misadventures of Keggie Carew is out now.