A MUCH-LAUDED author called into a Weymouth school to inspire students.

Elizabeth Lowry spoke to year 9 English students at Wey Valley Academy about her latest novel The Chosen (2022), which has a special Dorset link.

This work explores the turbulent relationship between the writer, Dorset's Thomas Hardy and his first wife Emma Lavinia Gifford.

Lowry extrapolates events using diaries, letters and the poignant 1912-13 love poetry in a challenging and imaginative re-creation of narrative.

She said: "I want to inspire the younger generation to unlock their creative writing talents and their innermost thoughts - writing a fictional reimagining of a real relationship between Hardy and his first wife involves research but essentially using your imagination."

One student said: "The session really did make me think about becoming a writer and I discovered so much more about Hardy."

Head of Performing Arts, Mark Chutter, added: "This was an innovative talk and particularly pertinent for anyone thinking of a profession in writing - my thanks to Elizabeth Lowry."

Lowry was born in Washington DC and educated in South Africa and England.

She is a frequent contributor to The Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian.

Her novel Dark Water appeared in 2018 and was longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction in 2019.