Love and loss, mystery and murder, fascist blackshirts and seditious soldiers are just some of the things you'll find between the pages of A Guide to Novels Set in Bognor Regis, which was published by the Bognor Regis Heritage Trails Trust on Saturday (November 13).
Featuring books by Jane Austen, HG Wells, Cressida Connolly and Philippa Gregory, Saturday's launch party took place at The Track, in Bognor Regis Railway Station, and gave readers a chance to get their hands on the guide and meet several authors featured in its pages. Mike Jupp, Beryl Kingston, Juliet West, Sharon Martin, Graham Minett and Helen Christmas all appeared at the event, signing copies of their books and meeting local readers. Though not all from Bognor Regis, each of the writers wrote novels set in the town, or which prominently featured it.
For Irene Campbell, who wrote the novel and organised the launch, the guide is about recognising Bognor's not-inconsiderable literary heritage: "I want people to become more aware that there is a literary background to Bognor," she said. "It's about putting Bognor's literary heritage on the map."
Miss Campbell hopes that the success of the event will lead to other, similar celebrations of Bognor's literary culture: "What we are going to do now is have a literary event off the back of this, so that people can start to expect input in Bognor. And if that works, if we get enough people that are interested, then we might like to do a literary day, and then we can make it the Bognor Regis Literary Festival.
"I want to start small and if there is an interest, I'd like it to really grow. So people can one day say 'oh it's the Bognor literary festival next month' and they make an effort to come down."
Alongside all the books, the event also saw the announcement of the winner of a painting competition, at Nyewood Church of England Junior School. Isabella Bailey, from Hazel class, came away with the overall prize and her painting will be printed on the front cover of a short story leaflet to be published by the Heritage Trails Trust later this year.
"It's been really enriching for the childrens' learning," said headteacher Anna Wells. "Because they were learning about Bognor and celebrating what's in our local area."
"We spoke to the children about Bognor, we looked at some pictures, talked about what they see as the main areas as Bognor and then decided how best to represent it," added teacher Laura Holmes, who helped put the project together.
To find out more about the guide, visit bognorregistrails.co.uk