The newsletter available at the April meeting can be downloaded here: Apr 2019
The newsletter available at the March meeting can be downloaded here: Mar 2019
The newsletter available at the February meeting can be downloaded here: Feb 2019
The newsletter available at the January 2019 meeting can be found here: jan 2019
Jan Johnstone had another successful year with publication of her book Shropshire at War 1939-45, published by Pen & Sword books.
The newsletter available at the December meeting can be downloaded from here: Dec 2018
The newsletter available at the November 2018 meeting can be downloaded here: Nov 2018
The newsletter available at the October Workshops can be downloaded here: Oct 2018
Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition 2018
The Circus of Delight
By Glenda Young
A scarf of red silk drapes over my legs as I work. My stitches are small but no longer invisible as they once used to be. I work quickly, repairing trousers for Freydo and Pav before tonight’s show. If only my fingers could work to repair our tent, but alas I do not have the skill or the material to fix what is needed. The tent continues to leak and lets in much light, even on the darkest of days.
I reach to the table to pull yellow silk to my workspace. I mend Freydo’s yellow trousers with red cotton because I have to make do with what I have, not what I would like. I do not notice Freydo approach the open door to my van. He coughs gently to alert me and I look up and smile. I break the red cotton with my teeth and drop the silk to my knee.
“The trousers are ready?” he asks.
“And the tops are almost done. Sit with me, Freydo,” I ask.
Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition 2018
By Dianne Bown-Wilson
I glance at my watch counting down the time remaining until, once again, it will be over. Out of the 168 hours in each week this is the only one that matters, each minute as precious as a droplet of water to a parched desert-traveller.
Apart from me, the room is empty. Three easy chairs crouch round a watermarked coffee table and I perch on one, mindlessly ironing my skirt with my sweating palms. Looking around, everything I see is shamelessly functional: cream woodchip walls, cheap floral curtains, and serviceable carpet tiles contribute nothing to homeliness and if it were possible, seem to become even less welcoming week by week. Clearly, whoever designed this space believed that those who have to come here deserve nothing more.
The door opens and Myra’s face appears, creased but comforting like a well-used road map. “Ready, Eva?”
Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition 2018
32 Ivy Close
By Janette Owen
I feel like the richest man in the world on bright days like this, though others beg to differ. I’ve seen ‘em, wrinklin’ their noses and muttering under their breath while they’re passing by, showing their ignorance. Druggy indeed; vagrant – cheeky beggars. I’ll have them know I have a place of my own and it’s finer than theirs, I bet. There’s wrought iron gates with fancy scrolls, and a flagged path what’s knitted together wi’ moss right up to my place; 32 Ivy Close. You should see the flowers arranged around it, and the pretties that take pride of place on my shelf. If any cared to look, they’d see that they’ve no room to turn their noses up. Still, they can think what they want if they leave me in peace.
Ah, the paper shop. I’ll cross the road while it’s quiet and have a sit down and a read afore I go to see our lass. She’s not been right well, you know, and it’s been too long since I saw her.
Congratulations to our 2018 winners:
(To read the stories, click on the links.)
Here are the shortlisted stories – congratulations to all those who made it this far!
32 Ivy Close
A Leap of Faith
A Novel Experience
Before Midnight Strikes
Ernest and the Women
I Don’t Have a Wooden Heart
Isle of Song
Lavender and Old Lace
Life Is Full Of Surprises!
Taking a U Turn
The Circus of Delight
The Coach Trip
The Inevitable However
The Maiden’s Garland
The Old Man
The Very Peculiar History of Hamish Anderson
The World is Silent
Time to Go
The newsletter available at the September 2018 meeting can be downloaded here: Sep 2018
The newsletter available at the August 2018 meeting can be downloaded here: August 2018
Congratulations to Jan Johnstone who’s just self-published her novel, Promise of Tomorrow, under her pseudonym Jan Davies, on Amazon.
‘Promise of Tomorrow’ is the story of five generations of the Greenwood family who lived in and around Shropshire’s Coalbrookdale area, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, during the construction of the world’s first iron bridge.
Beginning in 1759, each generation relates the story of their lives and their efforts to better themselves, whilst other family members, friends and enemies, also add their recollections to the ongoing Greenwood saga.
Can this family succeed in bettering themselves against all odds, despite the hardships they encounter at every turn?
This is a story of class inequality, hardship and love as the Greenwood family battles to achieve their dream of the ‘Promise of Tomorrow’.
The July 2018 Newsletter can be downloaded from here: JULY 2018
The newsletter available at the June meeting can be downloaded here: June 2018
The newsletter available at the May 2018 meeting can be downloaded here: May 2018
A PDF copy of the slides from Bryan’s workshop on personality traits can be downloaded here: What Colour are we
The newsletter available at the April meeting can be downloaded from here: Apr 2018
The newsletter available at the march meeting can be downloaded here: Mar 2018
Congratulations to both Janet Johnstone and Gill Guest, who’ve both been awarded Highly Commended’s in the YouByYou A Woman I Admire writing competition.
Janet’s entry can be read here: http://www.youbyyou.co.uk/woman-competition-jan.html
And Gill’s entry can be found here: http://www.youbyyou.co.uk/woman-competition-gill.html
The newsletter available at the February meeting can also be downloaded here: February 2018
The newsletter available at the January 2018 meeting can be downloaded here: JAN 2018 Newsletter
The 2018 Bristol Short Story Prize has been launched and the details are as follows:
The closing date for entries is midnight (BST) May 1st 2018.
The maximum word limit is 4,000, there is no minimum.
Stories may be on any theme or subject and entry can be made online or by post.
There is an £8.00 entry fee for all stories submitted and entries must be previously unpublished.
The newsletter available at the December 2017 meeting can be downloaded here: Dec 2017
Prizes: £600, £300, £150, and the Ware Sonnet Prize (£150).
Anthology for winners and commended poets
(£3.50, post free: pre-ordered).
Informal prizegiving at Ware Arts Centre, Friday 6 July 2018.
Fee: £4; 4 poems for £12, then £3 per poem (in the same submission).
Length: up to 50 lines.
Deadline: 30 April 2018
Sole judge: John Greening
Entry form available at
or send SAE to : The Competition Secretary, Ware Poets Competition,
21 Trinity Road, Ware, Hertfordshire SG12 7DB
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The newsletter available at the November 2017 meeting can be downloaded here: Nov 2017
The handout from the Self-publishing workshop on Saturday 21st October 2017 can be downloaded from here: Self-Publishing Useful Websites
A copy of the newsletter available at the October Festival Meeting can be downloaded here: Oct 2017.
Congratulations to Antony Putman, whose story, My Friend The Enemy, made it to the final four in the recent NAWG competition. You can read his story in full here:
My Friend The Enemy
by Antony Putman ©
The river divided our countries.
It was fast flowing for the most part, except for one small area. That was where the island was. The water should be faster, but for some reason, it slowed. That was how, at nine years old, I was able to swim to the island. That was where I first met my ‘friend’.
I reached the shore, a hopefully waterproof bag on my back. It was foolhardy, but how else would I carry food and something to dry myself with?
‘Who are you?’ A voice said above me. Looking up, there stood a boy, not much older than me, and he did not seem to be wet. ‘You swam here?’ He asked. I nodded. He pointed behind him, ‘I used a boat.’
I reached into my bag. Thankfully, the rag I brought along seemed dry. It took about a minute to get my hair mostly dry. Draping the rag over a branch, I walked over to the boy, holding out a hand, ‘My name is Franz.’
Several members were at a wider ‘Meet the Author’ event, run as part of the Wellington Festival at Wellington Library today, where a fun time was had by all!
(photos (c) John Dyson)
What makes a Writer ?
by Chris Owen
Process: Drawing Breath
(to stop and look back as if from a high hill to evaluate your work
and decide the way forward)
I would like first to apologise for my non-attendance at last meeting due to circumstances beyond
my control (the spirit was willing but the flesh is weak)
I read something the other day that I would like to share with you all.
Apart from a generally held concept, writers, especially yours truly, can be prone to the following:
‘We cling to the past like a frayed security blanket, haunted by crushing failures rather than approaching each new day as a fresh opportunity to learn, grow and behave differently.’
A simple epithet that is one of those universal truths we choose to reject or ignore until the logic of it becomes overwhelmingly self-evident.
Writing, by definition is about moving forward, into the unknown, where anything can happen.
This is an international competition to raise money for Coventry Refugee & Migrant Centre http://covrefugee.org/ and Clever Fox Press http://www.cleverfoxpress.com/clever-fox-press which is a charitable publishing venture which seeks to support and raise awareness of child refugees across the world. The competition also seeks to celebrate creativity and building bridges between communities.
First prize is £300, publication on the Coventry Refugee & Migrant Centre website and on Wasafiri’s website http://www.wasafiri.org/ and second prize is £50 and again publication on these two websites. There are also three runners-up prizes. The competition will be judged by Bidisha and Joe Horgan and the deadline is 14th November 2017. Entry is £5 per poem or £10 for 3 poems and poems can be submitted on any theme or topic. The link to the website is www.writeabridge.com and is part of the Coventry Peace Festival.
Congratulations goes to Tracey Glasspool from Tiverton in Devon, whose story, My Grandmother, The Deep Sea Diver, has been awarded first place in our 2017 Doris Gooderson Short Story competition. To read the prize-winning stories, please click on the story title. The full details are as follows:
by Mike Watson
Bamboo is not just a plant. It is a banner in the breeze. A whip in the wind. As supple as rope and wire strong. Bamboo is loose limbed with more fingers than hands can hold. It is a “hoo” and a “haa” with rhythm tapping roots and jazz filled leaves.
Bamboo is not just a plant. It is spears in the sunrise, sharp in the bright and tasselled in the breeze. And, when the big moon rises and silvers the ocean in the bay, bamboo is the hush and ghostly sway.
Bamboo is not just a plant. It is where Papa Bombo lives. Everyone knows that Papa Bombo has lived there forever. He was there before you were born, before the village was born and before the first footprint in the sand. Papa Bombo has always been there.
by Michael White
Beth closed the black-painted cottage door and hurried up the lane. Perhaps a blow in the sunshine would help. She had often walked up on the moor with Mike. On a clear day you could see Newcastle, thirty miles to the South, and the peaks of the Lake District, fifty miles West. Today the wind had combed high clouds into plumes and tendrils against a blue sky. She climbed the ladder stile and went on up the path through sheep pastures. When the path steepened through heather and bilberry bushes, she unfastened her jacket.
A steep scramble between huge red-brown boulders led to the top. She sat on an overhanging rock to get her breath back, dangling her legs in space. To South and West it was dark: rain before nightfall. Beth zipped up her jacket and thrust her hands into the pockets. A hand closed on a wad of paper: Mike’s letter. The world contracted as she tugged it out, cold fingers hooked round the crumpled envelope. She made to throw it away, but it remained in her palm. She straightened it and pulled out the single sheet. Mike typed everything: he could never bring himself to write neatly. But even the typescript was illegible to Beth’s stinging eyes. She crammed it back in the pocket and patted it flat. It wasn’t as if she didn’t remember what it said; she’d read it enough times. Tangled hair blew across her face. The broken rocks thirty feet below were uninviting. She’d better go back to the empty cottage.
My Grandmother, the Deep-Sea Diver
by Tracey Glasspool
Mrs Ki surfaces and breathes out sharply, a high whistling shriek. She holds an octopus aloft then swims for the boat.
“Your grandmother hated octopus,” she says as she hands it to me, “I’ll try for abalone.” A deep breath and she’s gone again.
I push the octopus into a sack; change my mind and drop it back into the sea. I also dislike the taste and the sack is already full of clams and sea-urchins. Besides, I’ve watched octopus in aquariums back home. I like them; their intelligence is obvious. Back home. My stomach contracts with guilt.
Successful short story writers Vanda Inman and Linda Lewis have teamed up to create Write Space, a place to hone your writing skills by entering their short story competitions. The latest competition information is as follows:
Member Antony Shaw has just published a novella, called Stella 17.
The Writers Bureau Flash Fiction competition is now open for entries. Prizes are £300, £200 and £100. For further details click here: https://www.wbcompetition.com/index.html
Susie Busby of The Writers Bureau has offered some hints and tips for entering the competition, which we include here:
Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire are proud to announce the first annual Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction. For any queries regarding this competition, please contact the organisers via their website at: http://commapress.co.uk/resources/prizes
Dinesh Allirajah (1967-2014) once said of himself (referencing a Sonny Criss sleeve note): ‘I am a jazz writer, which is a full-time creative job’. Dinesh had many other occupations, too – lecturing in creative writing at Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Central Lancashire and Edge Hill, running workshops and literacy classes in community centres, schools and prisons, acting as Chair of the National Black Arts Alliance and the National Association for Literature Development, as well as being a long-term director of Comma Press. He was also a DJ, playwright, radio presenter, cricket enthusiast and blogger. Dinesh regularly performed to audiences across the UK, as well as in France, Poland, Germany, Bangladesh and Nigeria. His short stories were featured in numerous anthologies and magazines, and first collected in A Manner of Speaking (Spike Books, 2004). Scent is the first comprehensive collection of his work, published by Comma Press following his sudden passing in December 2014.
H.E.Bates Short Story Competition 2017
Write us a short story on the subject of your choice.
* The competition is open to all writers.
* Entries must be no longer than 2000 words.
* 1st Prize £500 2nd Prize £200 3rd Prize £100
The newsletter for the September 2017 meeting, can be downloaded here: Sep 2017 Newsletter
A copy of the newsletter available at the August meeting can be downloaded from here: Aug 2017
(The great adventure continues)
Arthur C Clarke once famously stated these two propositions clarify the ultimate destiny of the human race:
‘Only two possibilities exist:
Either we are alone in the universe or we are not.
Either way the prospects are terrifying.’
‘We stand now at the turning point between two eras. Behind us is a past to which we can never return. The coming of the rocket brought to an end a million years of isolation. The childhood of our race was over and history as we know it began.’
(Exploration of Space (1952)
Taking these two great epithets to heart, the task of the human race now (the now part meaning with gathering urgency) is to take on the mantle of explorers and to search for our destiny in the only place that would produce another planet should we need it – the universe. The cosmic wheel of destiny is turning as inevitably as the firmament and we must not be left behind in the dust. Even our cradle earth is still a dangerous place that could easily tip into chaos and become instead our tomb as a species.