A COLLECTION of short stories from the winners of a county-wide story writing competition has just been published. Dorset Shorts: Winning Entries From The Dorset Writers’ Prize, includes 17 short stories and is the debut book by a new start-up, small press publishing venture, Little Red Writers.

Publisher Tom Roberts, former owner of Little Red Roaster cafe in Ashley Cross, Poole explained: “On a whim and a prayer, we launched a short story competition and we were delighted when writers from across the county responded with stories written in differing styles and in different genres.

“It is unfortunate that we had to disappoint those who didn’t make it to the final cut, but we hope this book does justice to the diversity and quality of the wide range of material we received.”

David Herring of Corfe Mullen, whose story Linda, is included in the book, said: “To hold the heft of the Dorset Shorts hardback in my hand is a moment in the rose garden for me. The artwork a thing of beauty; the red cover signifying passion; roses and strawberries and cream. And then, to find my name and my story there for just anyone to read, along with the sixteen other winners ...feels like blossom falling in spring and mayflowers in wheat-fields. I am proud and honoured to have my story included in this volume and, once I’ve stopped sneezing from all the pollen it’s induced, I’ll have a go at writing another.”

KB Willson, from Swanage, author of Father’s Day, said: “I am very proud to be part of such a beautifully produced little volume. The quality of the stories is superb and I feel honoured to be playing my own small part in such a worthy collection of contemporary Dorset writing.”

Samuel Pegg, the youngest contributor to the collection with his story The Divide, said: “It goes without saying that it’s been such a privilege to be published along with so many great authors and an eye-opening experience about the real world of writing. The book is everything I wanted it to be and more!”

Jas Stockholm, from Poole, author of the short story The Visible Line, said: “Being published in this anthology has been an amazing experience. The competition which lead to the book pushed me to write about a pressing local issue, with the aim of encouraging engagement from the lovely people who read it. I hope that the resultant story highlights that coping with homelessness and all that comes with that is a daily reality for many people in the community.”

The book is priced at £13.95 and is illustrated by Joanne Barry.