A FORDINGBRIDGE author has been recognised with a literary prize for her debut novel.

Ann Biggins was named the winner of the Hall and Woodhouse Dorchester Literary Festival (DLF) Local Writing Prize with her semi-autobiographical novel Losing Jane.

She said: “I am immensely proud of my story, and to have it acknowledged in this way is absolutely fantastic.”

The judges said: “It’s a beautifully written story and the characters at its centre are heart-felt, wonderfully rounded and true. We were united in our decision that Ann should win, while highly commending the other authors for their books, which were both close contenders.”

The book was inspired by Ann’s childhood memories and friendships and was a story she had wanted to tell for many years.

Ann added: “When I was seven years old I told my mum and dad that I was going to be a writer when I grew up. It took me another 50 years to be brave enough to tell anyone else this and start to write Losing Jane. And so now, to have this accolade and such wonderful words from the judges, I am elated and this woman of a certain age can now share the certainty of the seven year old me. Thank you so much all at the DLF and to the sponsors, Hall and Woodhouse for creating the prize which has given me and the other writers this wonderful affirmation.”

Anthony Woodhouse, the chairman of Hall and Woodhouse said, “We are immensely proud to support such an inspirational festival that celebrates literary talent across the south. These past few months have been tremendously difficult for many reasons, but it is fantastic news that we’ve been able to continue with the Prize. I understand the hard work and dedication that all authors put into their novels. Many congratulations to the winner and all the finalists.”

Due to Covid-19 an awards ceremony could not be held this year.

Paul Atterybury, who co-founded the literary festival said: “We are very grateful to the writers who entered the prize, particularly those whose books made it to the long and short list; to our volunteer readers; our judges and, of course, to Hall and Woodhouse, for their shared determination to make the 2020 Prize still happen.”

He added: “The delays have inevitably impacted upon plans for the next Writing Prize, so we’ve decided not to hold a competition in 2021. The closing date for the next one will therefore be March 15, 2022, and we look forward to receiving entries from the autumn of 2021. Full details will be on the website, along with the plans for the next Dorchester Literary Festival in October 2021.”

Ann, who wins £1,000 in prize money, published her second novel, Indigo Children in July and is working on her third.