Saturday, 28 May 2011

Meeting Report: 23rd May 2011

Those abroad on the seafront on Monday 23rd May might well have wondered if they were in a time warp and it was really Halloween, as members of Hastings Writers’ Group made our way to the ‘White Rock Hotel’ clad in ghastly garb for the 1000-word ghost story competition.
Hunched and huddled in the gathering gloom, seventeen members took turns to read out their entry by torchlight. As the web of words was woven, we saw swirling mists, smelt rancid water, heard the pitter-patter of tiny, long-dead feet, tasted revenge and felt the chill of loss, despair and terror. While some tales were scary, others were sad and a few just plain funny, but all authors had risen to the challenge of conjuring up a riveting range of souls stranded in that haunting hinterland between life and death – with a myriad of murky motives.
We look forward with a thrill of anticipation to award-winning writer Jill Hucklesby’s feedback and judging on 20th June.

For enquiries about activities and membership please contact the membership secretary at or visit our website:

Roz Balp, Membership Secretary

Monday, 16 May 2011

Meeting Report: 9th May 2011

Members of Hastings Writers’ Group were honoured and delighted to have Richard Evans, award-winning Bexhill poet, as their poetry competition judge on 9th May. Richard provided an engaging start to the evening by reading four of his own poems, three of which were inspired by Hastings Pier.

He then gave deep, detailed feedback on each entry. In first place was Laura O’Brien’s “thought-provoking” ‘Blazon’, which was “played out with irresistible delicacy”. Jill Fricker’s ‘Angel of the North’ took second place: "There is so much which is wonderful about this poem, particularly in terms of technical skill". Mike Walsh was third with his ‘emotionally pure’ ‘Terminus’, which Richard described as “eye-opening in the way poetry should (must) be.” ‘Sea Changes’ by Ezzie Ward came fourth: “the shift in perception from Romantic to cold realist powerfully enacted with the sensually accurate and visually dramatic”.

All winners were extremely well-deserving, and Richard commented on how the group as a whole had evolved as poets, particularly in their use of imagery. He brought the evening to a close with some thought-provoking reflections on this, for example: ‘Poetry deals with the problems of the world with image’ and ‘Imagery is the poet’s secret weapon.’ We are very grateful to him for judging this competition with such expertise and sensitivity.

For enquiries about activities and membership please contact the membership secretary at or visit our website:

Meeting Report: 18th April 2011

The first half of our meeting on 18th April was devoted to memories of David Buchan, former publicity officer and committee member, who sadly died recently. Following Chairperson Monica Percy’s opening reminiscences, John Cole read David’s ‘The Shakespeare of the Speakeasy’ about the writer Damon Runyon. Richard Holdsworth then gave a moving tribute, highlighting David’s Fleet Street career, his writing skills and achievements, interspersed with anecdotes about his wonderful wit and knowledge of football, golf and cricket. Finally, Alan Crozier read one of David’s humorous pieces: ‘Socks’ which appears in our latest ‘Strandline’ anthology. David will be remembered with affection and it was agreed to have a members-only journalistic competition later in the year in his honour.

In the second half, we looked at works in progress and gave constructive feedback. Sally Ricketts read chapter 3 of her children’s science fiction novel ‘Anderson’s Sundial’, which saw characters from three different time zones meeting with the threat of evil hovering in the background. This was followed by a selection of four poems: ‘Tree’, ‘The Wedding Chest’, ‘Young Love’ and ‘Planning for Old Age’ from the versatile Roz Balp, which demonstrated a variety of styles, including a villanelle, and ranged from beautiful to hilarious. Fairly recent new member Stephen Martin read the beginning of his as yet untitled novel, which was his first – and very adept – attempt at writing for adults, and was urged to continue it, as everyone was left wondering what would happen next. Due to the Bank Holiday, our next meeting will not be until 9th May, when we await the results of our Poetry Competition. For further enquiries about membership or activities please contact or visit