Sunday, 20 October 2013

AGM and Programme Planning - 14 October 2013

It was business time for the group on Monday October14 – our AGM and Annual Programme Planning meeting. At the AGM, our Chair, Jill Fricker, reported that it had been a very successful year for the group, with a new website, a new anthology, and a record number of new members joining. Attendances at meetings were also at record levels. In part, this was due to our recruitment of new, professional judges for our internal competitions.  She thanked the Committee for their hard work, giving a particular mention to Amanda Giles who was standing down. The Finance Report from our Treasurer, Pauline Piper was also favourable – the group has built up a good level of reserves and is now able to subsidise further professional judges and workshop facilitators.  The Committee for 2014 will be Jill Fricker: Chair, Kate O’Hearn: Deputy Chair, Pauline Piper: Treasurer, Stephanie Gaunt: Publicity and Membership Officer, Janet Kates: Minutes Secretary, and the newly-elected Mike Rayner as Programmes Officer.
    The group then turned its attention to planning its programme for 2014, including agreeing the nature and number of competitions we wanted, and also workshop topics.  It was agreed that as we now have nearly forty members, events involving small group work would be good to enable members to get to know each other. 2014 looks to be another exciting year for the group!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Hidden Gems results - 30 September 2013

Autumn was in the air when we met on Monday 30 September, for the results of our ‘Hidden Gems’ competition. This, new in our programme for 2013, is specifically for new writers, and people who for whatever reason, have not been placed in a HWG competition during the last two years. As ever, a good variety of stories were entered.  Our judge, former English Literature lecturer Dr. Elizabeth Allen, is a long-standing favourite with the group. She is very knowledgeable, very well-read, and has a real love of the English language.  After talking us through the entries, she announced the results. In fourth place was Alex Willis, with ‘George’, which he told us was the first chapter of his forthcoming novel.  Third was Janet Kates, with her story, ‘The Class’, about murder and mayhem in a creative writing class. Second was Mike Rayner, with the introspective, beautifully written  ‘Happy Birthday’. The winner was Marcia Woolf, a relatively new member. Her story, ‘Like Father, Like Son’ was picked out by our judge for its excellent use of language, combined with a tightly-structured plot about a death and a family funeral.
     As well as the competition results, the group had its first sight of our new anthology, Animal Writes, which will be available for sale at the Books Born in Hastings event in the Town Hall on 12 October. The book features a new Pegasus story by Kate O’Hearn. We also looked at, and enjoyed the new book smell of another new publication – ‘The Alphabet King’, by Kate Errington. Well done Kate!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Flash Fiction Results: 23 September 2013

We had an extra meeting on Monday 23 September for the results of our Flash Fiction competition.  One of our star members, best-selling children’s author Kate O’Hearn had pulled some strings in the publishing world to get us two special judges. Paul Stark, from Orion publishers, and Nicola Crossley from Random House gave us the benefit of their expertise as well as judging a record number of entries to the competition. Needless to say, the room in the White Rock Hotel was absolutely packed with enthusiastic HWG members.
     The results of the competition were as follows. Highly Commended were Anne Hooker with ‘The Diet’, and Roz Balp with ‘Sea Washed’. Stephen Martin was in fourth place with ‘Love Expired’. Third was Diana Lock with ‘Delacroix and Dumas’, and second, Emma Boyd with a moving and poignant piece, ‘Baby Items for Sale’.  The popular winner was long-standing member John Vallender with the shortest piece entered for the competition, ‘Don’t Look Down’, about steeplejack Fred Dibnah.
     The judges commented on the difficulty of producing a high-quality flash fiction piece, where a story has to be produced in 250 words or less. They felt that many of the entries were of a high quality, but left the reader wanting more, whereas the winning pieces were complete in themselves.
     In addition to the competition results we were treated to cakes from Anne Hooker, who was celebrating a milestone birthday the next day!