Sunday, 22 April 2012

Meeting Report: 16th April 2012

On Monday 16 April over twenty Group members crowded eagerly into the meeting room at the White Rock Hotel to hear the results of our historical short story competition. Our judge this time was local editor, small press publisher and writer Kay Green of Earlyworks Press. Kay gave us some valuable hints on writing good historical fiction, and her individual feedback on all our efforts was both tremendously useful and very positive. 
   The regular Group competitions attract a fascinatingly wide range of entries from all levels of writers, from published authors to anxious newcomers. We all know that our efforts will be received supportively and assessed fairly.  The competition was close, but the eventual and deserved winner was Mike Walsh with ‘An Early Morning Exercise’.  In Mike’s enthralling – and spine-chilling – story, a senior Japanese officer faced the defeat of Japan in 1945, and the fate ordained for him as a Samurai warrior.  In second place was Michael Smith with ‘The Mission’, and in third and fourth, two relatively new members of the group, John Cornelius with ‘The Dream Was Over’, and Eileen Masters with ‘I Done It Your Honour’. Other members reaching the top eight were: Roz Balp with 'Pierced', Stephen Martin with 'Trust', Charlie Menzinger with 'Goodbye Austria' and Mark Towner with 'Hoe-Boy'.
    As writers, the Group also felt that it was important that we should highlight and share examples of good books and stories we have read, as well as discussing our own work. Members were reminded it had been suggested that they could post book reviews on our blog, and we look forward to reading these.  
   We currently have a waiting list for membership but if you are interested in joining or finding out more about our activities, please contact the Membership Secretary, Amanda Giles, on 01424 442707 or e-mail You can also visit our website at

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Meeting Reports: 19th March & 2nd April 2012

Our last two meetings have once again given members the opportunity to demonstrate their versatile writing skills. On 19th March we had the second of our five Writer of the Year competitions – this time for a historical short story of 2000 words maximum, set in an own choice period. Seventeen entries were received from members and the judge, Kay Green, will attend in mid-April with the results.

At our Manuscript Evening on 2nd April we were firstly entertained by member Amanda Giles, who read her cleverly crafted Catherine Cookson Cup entry entitled ‘Breath Control’, which had been awarded 2nd place in last year’s competition.

This was followed by Stephen Martin, Anne Spiring and John Cornelius each reading from their current works in progress for constructive feedback. The first two are working on children’s novels: Stephen read from the beginning of his gripping supernatural thriller, as yet untitled, whilst Anne read from the chapter ‘A Bad Day at School’ from her book ‘Alfie Jones and the Black Knight’ featuring time-travel adventures. In complete contrast, John read from his semi-autobiographical work ‘The Grottologist’ which is set in the early 70s. Lively discussion followed with some suggestions being put forward for consideration by the authors.

We still have some places available for our ‘Poetry Today’ half-day seminar on Saturday 28th April at the Southwater Community Centre. This will be led by poet and author Leslie Tate, who will look at the work of eight contemporary poets: Michael Donaghy, Sean O’Brien, Anne Stevenson, Derek Walcott, Don Paterson, Seamus Heaney, Les Murray and Geoffrey Hill. Cost is £7; students £5. Enquiries please to or phone 01424 442471.

For more information about our group please visit