Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Presentation Evening: Friday 9th December 2016

On Friday 9th December, group members, plus a number of very welcome guests, celebrated the successes of the year.  After a substantial buffet and a glass or two of wine, the winners and runners-up of all competitions held throughout 2016 collected their certificates.  After an extremely impressive year of writing that saw her winning or placed in all competitions, Vicky Armstrong won the writer of the year shield. The outcome of the judging for the annual Catherine Cookson competition was announced. This year the cup was awarded to Sandra Daniels for her short story ‘Boy’, a story of a young girl tormented by an annoying cousin, which leads to chilling consequences. Second place went to Sam Davey for ‘The House of Her Dreams’, third to Jill Fricker for ‘The Second Life of Amina Choudbury’ and fourth to Vicky Armstrong for ‘And Then There Was Silence’. The judge felt that the standard of submission has been so high this year that a highly commended mention was made for ‘The Jar of Ideas’ by Marcia Woolf.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

28th November 2016: New Members Evening

On 28th November we held an extremely successful ‘new members’ evening. Prospective members were invited to come and see exactly what we do at the Hastings Writers Group. The event was very well attended and began with a lively period of introductions and discussion. Having been plied with nibbles and wine, the prospective new members were given a baptism of fire in the form of one of our most challenging, but most fun, writing exercises. Organised by our vice chair, Kate O’Hearn, the activity saw those present scribbling frantically for the 15 minutes allowed to create tales that all began with the same nervous wait in a restaurant to meet a blind date. The challenge of incorporating the random items Kate brought in led the stories in weird, wonderful and mostly comedic directions. Everyone coped admirably as they ingeniously managed to weave in a pirates eye-patch, a crocodile, two pocket watches, a pair of sun glasses, a toothbrush, hatpins and the characters from the 70s children’s TV show, The Banana Splits! Overall, it was a great evening that once again demonstrated the tremendous wealth of creative talent to be found in Hastings.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Catherine Cookson Readings - 14th November

14th November brought the reading of the annual Catherine Cookson Cup competition entries.  With no set theme, members’ made superb use of the freedom to showcase their talents to enthral, intrigue, surprise and amuse.

We met some interesting characters, including Triaton, a call centre worker by day and hypnotist, psychic and wannabe magister by night, and Cynthia, a transgender CIA operative. We also saw slices of life through reflections of experiences with elderly relatives, evil cousins and a dispute over a defaced family bible. We visited Manhattan for a snapshot of the experience of residents during the 9/11 terror attacks, and considered poverty and crime in distant lands. The reflections of a young soldier on the front line as he considered his paper round back home struck a poignant note. We were treated to a unique and comical insight into the world of twins and considered the anguish of a community living in fear of child killer. The entries will be judged by Jemima Forrester, a commissioning editor with many years of experience.