STUDENT Ben Harwood has seen his first book published at the age of 19.

The teenager has written an illustrated guide called the Life and Works of Thomas Hardy.

Now the work – subtitled A Personal View of the Prose and Poetry of Dorset’s Most Celebrated Writer – will be launched in Dorchester tomorrow.

Ben, who is reading English at Oxford University, said: “It is my first publication. It is very exciting.

“Hopefully it won’t be the last. I hope to have more things published in the future. It is a lovely feeling.”

Ben added: “It was quite tough to write with all the hours involved.

“There was a lot of reading involved.”

The book will be launched at Words Etc in Cornhill with a repeat launch at Waterstones in South Street on April 10.

Ben, who lives at Alderholt, near Verwood, took the best part of a year to write the 50-page, A5 glossy booklet.

It is on sale at bookshops and tourists attractions in Dorset.

It has been published by Ben’s father Robert Westwood’s printing house, Inspiring Places Pubishing.

Robert said: “We have received much help and encouragement from Dee Tolfree of the Thomas Hardy Society.

“It has been reviewed by a don from the English Department at Oxford who describes it as ‘a lively and interesting introduction to Hardy’s works’.

“This exactly suits the sort of market for which it is intended – locals and visitors who have perhaps have read a little of Hardy or want to find out a little bit about his work.”

Ben studied Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd for his GCSE English but acclaims The Mayor of Casterbridge as his favourite work.

He said: “It is very dark and very brooding. That is what Hardy was best at. It is a very powerful book.”

He added: “I hope my book will be reviewed in the Thomas Hardy Journal in the late summer.

“They have been very enthusiastic and helpful. I am thankful for their support.”

Ben’s father Robert has also written two guides on the Jurassic Coast and has just finished a walking guide for the Jurassic Coast Trust, to be published by Coastal Publishing.