Saturday, 12 March 2011


Poundbury Voices editorial team has as its purpose the aim to combine thelocal with the international, and to select the best of creative writing produced by diverse writers in Dorset.

The Poundbury Voices team aims to be socially and culturally inclusive in its editorial policies, to reflect the vision of the urban planners involved with the creation of Poundbury. 

We aim to help people join in, to share their experiences with others and to connect. This is about helping to put the soul into a developing urban environment and about contributing to the community. We want to provide a platform for literary talent, alongside the work of outstanding architects, builders and crafts people.

We are not aiming to represent only well-tried and traditional forms of writing, however. The Poundbury Voices team has a wider agenda, and will encourage all forms of creative writing. We will offer no regulations, stipulations, codes or style-guidance (apart from length, and deadlines) to our contributors. We will welcome both the local (and vernacular) and the cosmopolitan. 

We want to break boundaries, and to demonstrate that Poundbury issucceeding in fostering social harmony, that it is breaking more boundaries than its early critics believed to be possible. We believe that, in time, Poundbury, as a distinctive but integral part of Dorchester, could become a new hub of creativity. 

Poundbury Voices will help to create a greater sense of a cultural community in Poundbury and the wider region.

We aim to reflect a changing Dorset and West Country, not the traditional rural image. 

By tapping the pool of talent in the Dorset and by attracting and encouraging new and established prose writers (short stories, flash fiction, prose-poems etc, up to 2000 words), writers of poetry (poems up to 40 lines in length) and  and photographers (black and white only), the aim of the editorial board is to select outstanding work by people resident in the region.

The annual publication of the Poundbury Voices collection "DORSET VOICES", on a commercially viable basis (to be published in association with Roving Press), will also aim to reflect aspects of the social philosophy and community ideals expressed by the Duchy of Cornwall, and to demonstrate the positive cultural outcomes and exciting creative activities of a harmonious mixed community.

Poundbury Voices and "DORSET VOICES" are the joint initiative of three writers, who are the project managers and who constitute the editorial board:
Louisa Adjoa Parker, Maria Strani-Potts and Jim Potts, OBE:

LOUISA ADJOA PARKER is a writer and poet who now lives in Poundbury, having lived in various parts of the West Country since she was 13. Her largely autobiographical first collection, Salt-sweat and Tears was published by Cinnamon Press to critical acclaim in 2007. She has also written a book and exhibition about the history of African and Caribbean people in Dorset over the past 400 years, both entitled Dorset's Hidden Histories. She has been writer in residence at HMP Portland YOI, where she worked with young offenders to produce a collection of their work. Louisa's father is Ghanaian, and she started writing to talk about the racism she experienced living in mainly white areas all her life. Her writing has been described as 'honest' and 'raw.'

Her work has been published in a range of anthologies and magazines, including the Forward Prize collection 2008, Envoi, Wasafiri, and online. Louisa has set up and co-ordinated several Arts projects and run writing workshops in schools and the community. She has peformed her work extensively across the South West, including at the Exeter Respect festival (where she supported Linton Kwesi Johnson); Bridport Prize Live; Westcountry storytelling festival; the Bournemouth Literary festival and many more. Louisa worked with other writers including Catherine Smith on a BBC project 'Made in England' in which she wrote flash fiction stories about people in Weymouth.

Louisa is currently working on a project using images and stories to celebrate multi-ethnic Dorset.Funded by Arts Council  England and Dorset County council, the exhibition and book is to be launched September 2011. Louisa is passionate about equality and the Arts, and hopes to inspire people from a range of backgrounds to become interested in writing in particular.  

JAMES R POTTS, OBE, MA Oxon (BA Hons English Language and Literature) served with the British Council for 35 years, in Ethiopia, Kenya, Greece, Czechoslovakia, the United Kingdom, Australia and Sweden. He was involved in many major international cultural relations projects, including "New Images" with Australia, and Scotland in Sweden, etc. He had a special interest in the promotion of English, Scottish and Welsh literature and contemporary writing, and initiated the book and touring exhibition "Literary Links" which celebrated two hundred years of the literary relationship between Australia and Britain. He was also largely responsible for initiating the "British Year" (40 British writers) at the Gothenburg International Book Fair, strongly supported by the British Publishers Association.

Jim was educated in Somerset. After graduating from Oxford, Jim also obtained postgraduate qualifications in Film Making and Education at the University of Bristol and at London University Institute of Education. For ten years he was involved with film and television production (and film and script-writing training) in Africa. For 3 years he was editor of the UK journal "Educational Broadcasting International," and he has edited other journals in Australia and Sweden.

Although appointed as Director of the British Council Literature Department in 1990, following an intense programme of British writers' visits to communist Czechoslovakia from 1986-1989 (where he also served as Cultural Attaché), he was almost immediately promoted to become Head of the Council's Central and Eastern Europe Department, before postings to Australia as the Director of the British Council for 7 years (during which time many more British writers toured under the Council's auspices), followed by 4 years in Sweden, where Jim was Cultural Attaché as well as British Council Director. Jim co-edited "Swedish Reflections", an anthology of British and Swedish writings.

Jim has also given public lectures on a number of poets and writers (including two Greek Nobel Prize Winners, Seferis and Elytis), and British writers, from Hopkins to Betjeman; he has been a long-term member of the William Barnes Society 

In short, Jim has had a long career involved, in many countries, with the promotion of British writers  and with support to the publishing and creative industries.

Jim and his wife Maria have strong Dorset links, and they now live in Poundbury.

His latest book, "The Ionian Islands and Epirus, A Cultural History" is published by Signal Books, Oxford and by Oxford University Press in the USA.

He is currently carrying out research for two books about Dorset, one concerned with the visual arts and the Dorset landscape. He is also preparing a second collection of poetry.

All members of "Poundbury Voices" live in Poundbury and are committed to Dorset as a county and to the diversity of talent that they hope to help showcase and promote. 

Although he has spent most of his career promoting other writers and artists internationally, since his retirement Jim has been devoting himself to his own projects, including "Dorset Voices", which is close to his heart.

MARIA STRANI-POTTS, who is married to Jim Potts, was born in Corfu, Greece, and has accompanied her husband on all his overseas postings. She has been an active supporter of his work promoting British literature and representing British arts, science, education and culture overseas. They now live in Poundbury, Dorset, but Maria has spent extensive periods in Dorset in the past, mostly at West Bay. Their daughter went to schools in Dorset.

Maria holds a degree in Social Science from London University (the School of Slavonic and East European Studies).

Maria has published two books and is currently writing her third. Her novel, "The Cat of Portovecchio, Corfu Tales" received excellent reviews and is about to be published in Greek translation by Kedros, one of the most important publishing houses in Greece. Maria has also published articles in various journals.

Like Jim, she has hosted many noted writers overseas, from young poets to Nobel Prize Winners, and had the opportunity to bring together leading literary representatives from many diverse cultures, sometimes in very difficult political circumstances.

Maria had the original idea that led to the "Dorset Voices" project. Like Louisa and Jim, she is committed to Dorset and to the discovery of new talent, as well as to the diversity of writing that she hopes will be included in the anthology to be published by Roving Press with the support of Creative Dorset. 

The publishers of DORSET VOICES will be ROVING PRESS

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