INSPIRED by a international career, local author Jim Potts has published This Spinning World, a collection of 43 short stories. Now living in Dorchester, Jim, 74, tells us about the journeys that have shaped his latest creation.

After studying English in Oxford and filmmaking in Bristol, Jim was employed by the British Council, an organisation specialising in international cultural and educational opportunities. He began his career in Ethiopia, making television programmes for development purposes and training local staff. Further postings saw him stationed in exotic locations, from Kenya and Czechoslovakia to Greece and Russia, before he returned to London and became editor of the Educating Broadcasting International journal.

Jim later spent seven years in Australia and was instrumental in managing international governmental campaigns, including New Images: Australia and Britain into the 21st Century in 1997. Jim's final posting was to Sweden, which he completed in 2004 before retiring.

This Spinning World was published earlier this year, featuring stories which have been written over a period of 50 years and which are set in a variety of places where Jim has lived and worked. Best described as documentary fiction, the stories combine a fair amount of reality with elements of the make-believe. This has allowed for the inclusion of more than 75 illustrations, including maps, artwork and photographs.

"They're all imagined situations, but they're based in places I've worked and settings I know well," Jim explains. "I've found notes and reminders from years ago, which have taken me right back to a particular place and time. The story then comes from there."

Even with all the exotic and exciting places Jim has visited, a handful of the stories are set in Dorset. Having grown up in Castle Cary, Somerset, Jim would cross the border every year for a summer holiday at the beach, with memories of playing in the arcades on Weymouth seafront. 10 years ago, Jim and his wife, Maria, settled in Poundbury. Although the couple continue to travel widely, with their children living in Washington and Bermuda, Jim comments that it's been nice to stay in one place for a while.

"I really feel part of Dorchester," Jim says. "Every month, I read poetry at an open-mic session in town. It was there that I first read The Ghosts of Max Gate, and received some wonderful feedback."

Set in the National Trust property on the outskirts of Dorchester, the story follows the ghosts of Thomas Hardy and William Barnes, as they meet on All Souls' Day. Hardy is comforted by the poet as he laments his status in purgatorial limbo, before declaring: "I must go to Stinsford, where my poor shrivelled heart is buried. My soul will never find peace until heart and body are reconciled."

Other Dorset-based stories include Beside the Seaside, set in Weymouth, and Maumbury Rings, which follows a local resident who becomes fixated by the carved chalk phallus found during archaeological digs of the monument. Desperate to father a child, the protagonist hopes that the item "might work its magic charms as a kind of neolithic fertility totem, a Dorset mojo."

Among the other stories published in the anthology are Culture Shock, a favourite of Jim's set in Ethiopia, and The Battle of the Two Clarinets, which takes place in northern Greece.

Launched at the Corfu Literary Festival in September, This Spinning World is not Jim's debut publication. In 2012, he teamed up with two local authors to publish Dorset Voices, a collection of prose, poetry and photography created by 100 people from the local area, which includes a foreword by Prince Charles.

Jim is also the author of The Ionian Islands and Epirus: A Cultural History and Corfu Blues, and he contributes articles regularly to the William Barnes Society website.

In addition to writing, Jim has lectured widely on music, specialising in the blues and rebetika, a urban Greek genre. Dabbling in musical performance himself, Jim's Youtube channel features a selection of his own songs and demos.

*This Spinning World is out now and available locally from Books Beyond Words on High East Street in Dorchester, as well as from Buttermarket Stores and Post Office in Poundbury. The anthology can also be purchased on Amazon.