CHILDREN’S author Fleur Hitchcock has launched the inaugural Purbeck Literary Festival, which includes a fortnight of events across the district.

Fleur, whose debut novel, Shrunk, became a Sunday Times’ Children’s Book of the Week, opened the festival at Corfe Castle’s Castle View Visitor Centre on Monday.

She took part in a number of family-friendly ‘wild writing’ and inventive story workshops during launch day, as Corfe Castle holds a special place in her heart.

The inspiration for her debut book – which rocketed up the Times bestsellers list following its September 2012 release – was the National Trust-run castle. Festival organiser Emma Fernandez said: “I was absolutely delighted to have had our launch at Corfe Castle.

“The village and castle has inspired many writers from Hardy and E.M. Forster to, of course, Enid Blyton.

“Fleur has tremendous energy and I think it was really important to launch the festival with a family event.

“The National Trust do this exceptionally well, so we are thrilled that they agreed to host the day.”

Emma says she was “thrilled” when the National Trust agreed to host the day.

“Hopefully,” she added, “it was also very exciting for children to meet an author who has also written a book about a place they know.”

Corfe Castle visitor services manager Lawrence Roots said: “We are so pleased to be working with another local festival, and to be hosting such a popular children’s author in our new-look visitor centre.

“This event, as part of the Purbeck Literary Festival, should be a welcome addition to the various family activities at Corfe Castle during February half term, including the return of our Teddy Zip Wire Challenge, from 10am to 4pm, daily.”

Visit purbeckliteraryfestival. info for more information on the fortnight of events.