Welcome to Slough Writers

Slough Writers is a friendly and supportive group for writers of all abilities, living in the Slough area. To learn more about the group and our meetings, check About Us or see our latest programme of activities.

We meet most Monday nights upstairs at the Palmer Arms in Dorney, from 7:30pm. If you're interested in joining, drop in and say hello.

Recent News (See All News)

Monday 2nd November - result of Summer Competition 2020 (2020-11-07 20:13:41)

Lockdown inspires rich tapestry of heartfelt stories

Winning writers clockwise from top left: Harvey, Edward, Lorraine,John and Sonya. On the right is Lorraine with the Summer Competition Trophy.

The latest Slough Writers competition has produced a surprising collection of short stories. Based on the theme of the spring lockdown, members wrote about loneliness, anxiety, frustration, death, boredom and the rediscovery of love and beauty.

First place went to Lorraine Forrest-Turner for Chinchilla Rats at Machu Pichu. Like the chinchillas returning to Peru's biggest attraction during lockdown, a tired marriage gradually reignites when life's intrusions are taken away.

Runner up was Sonya Weiss with Ellie, a beautiful telling of a little girl searching for her sick mummy in a place full of people too preoccupied to notice her.

Edward Harte took third place with the vividly descriptive A History of Nordic Dreams. Unaware he is on a ventilator, a Covid patient tries to make sense of a curious time spent with friends in Stockholm.

Two stories were highly recommended Lockdown by John Brown and Mrs Reynolds Moment by Harvey Martin. The competition was adjudicated by Robert Kibble and judged by the participants.

[Report by Lorraine Forrest-Turner]

7th September 2020 - Annual Awards (2020-11-03 16:06:40)

Newcomer of the Year: Phillip Kavvadais Endeavour Award: John Downing

Writer of the Year: Mike Pearcy The Taylor Award: Terry Adlam

28th September - Guest Speaker Jenny Barrett (2020-09-28 14:46:14)

Jenny is Senior Lecturer in Film, Department of Creative Arts, Edge Hill University, Liverpool. She writes both novels and short stories and her fiction blends the everyday with the slightly odd. She has taught, studied, researched and written about cinema for nearly twenty years. She has an MA in Creative Writing and has read her stories at a number of local events, including the Tate Liverpool. Her short piece, On the One Hand, On the Other Hand, uses the many everyday phrases linked to hands in the context of Covid-19 and was recently published by Writing on the Wall's literary festival in June 2020. Her short story about Crosby Beach entitled Number 42, was published by Short Kid Stories this year. Her passions also include watching her partner cook. She is dreadful at gardening but tries anyway. She lives in Liverpool and loves the beaches of the north west coast.

An excellent evening where Jenny gave a fascinating talk about not only her background in academic writing and teaching but an in-depth and thought provoking and enlighten discussion about what the writer can learn from the cinema in all its forms. It was an evening that educated, entertained and inspired.

There was a video recording made of the evening and if you would like to see it, please email Lorraine who will send you the link.

[Report by Terry Adlam]

Results of 2020 Poetry Competition - Secrets and Lies (2020-07-18 11:30:43)

  • First and the Poetry Trophy: Tammany Adieu by Edward Harte
  • Second place: The Power to Send by Harvey Martin
  • Third place: Crickets and Flies by John Brown

(top from the left) Edward Harte, Harvey Martin, John Brown, (bottom from the left) Andy Barrett (Judge), Michael Pearcy and Terry Adlam.

Poets Embrace Secrets and Lies challenge written by Lorraine Forrest-Turner.

The 2020 poetry competition has been won by Edward Harte with his poem Tammany Adieu about the life and death of Mary Anderson, who led a secret life as New York bondsman, and politician Murray Hall.

Inspired by a secret and lies workshop earlier in the year, the theme of the 2020 competition prompted a wide range of subjects from fake news and marital betrayal to twins separated at birth and biblical tragedy.

Second place went to Harvey Martin for The Power to Send and third place to John Brown for Crickets and Flies. Two additional poems,The Third Magpie by Terry Adlam and What is Stolen by Mike Pearcy, were highly commended.

The competition was judged by Andy Barrett a song writer and poet, and former journalist and editor. On announcing the competition, Andy advised members of the group that he was looking for "a balance of poetry and verse". He said, "Poetry is the inspiration, the moment, the feeling, the idea captured in words. Verse is the form the words are constrained by."

During his excellent adjudication, Andy gave an in-depth, intelligent and erudite analysis of each of the 12 entries, often offering advice on how to improve the writing further.

He said of Edward's winning poem, "It's a piece of free verse with a clear structure in its subverted stanzas each of which takes the story one step forward, seen through the eyes of Mary Anderson's step-daughter. The reader immediately wants to know more and the poem shows glimpses of superb language: 'A kind of kissing; January's North Atlantic wind keening', and 'as Boston fades in the mouth of the Charles'.

Left: Andy Barrett delivers the results and right: Slough Writers members.

Child Welfare a Priority - Guest Speaker (2020-05-25 22:45:13)

Our Guest Speaker on Monday 18th May was Steve Crocker, Director of Children's Services for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. He is responsible for all aspects of child welfare including young asylum seekers smuggled into the UK.

Steve gave a fascinating, frank, sometimes harrowing, sometimes uplifting insight into his role and child welfare overall. An eloquent speaker who kept us all engaged for well over an hour, explaining the work of his department, some of the legal complications that arise and how the work of his team has an overwhelmingly positive outcomes for the children involved, not a message that the media like to highlight.

Being a coastal county with major ports nearby, there are often calls for child welfare support for Illegal immigrants and sometimes young people who are victims of trafficking gangs. These cases obviously bring with them harrowing experiences but also uplifting stories of young people, often fleeing from wars in their own countries, who are willing to face many dangers and make huge personal sacrifices for the opportunities our society can offer.

Amongst the professional stories, Steve also told a personal story from his youth concerning his father who was an ex-military policeman. With his wife, Mr Crocker senior would offer sanctuary to local women who were victims of domestic violence. Steve rounded off his talk by offering the thought that domestic abuse was by no means a new phenomenon, and solving it could well be the next challenge for society.

Slough Writers is grateful to Dave Smith who introduced Steve to the group. Chair Terry Adlam thanked Steve for his fascinating talk.

Slough Writers are always pleased to meet people with experiences outside writing and publishing. All these interactions serve to broaden our experience and inspire us to write in new areas.

Results Of The Short Story Competition 2019/20 (2020-04-07 11:41:33)

We held a virtual meeting using Zoom on 6th April 2020

The judge this year was novelist Nicola May who decided to recognise six writers in the 2020 short story competition.

  • First and the Summer Competition Trophy: You Always Hurt by Michael Ranes
  • Second place: The Red Right Hand by Lorraine Forrest-Turner
  • There was a joint 3rd place award: Hollywood Dream by John Downing and Kielder Water by Edward Harte

Nicola also recognised two writers in the category of highly commended stories, the first was These Three Remain by Robert Kibble the second commended story was Misfits and Misadventures by Carol Breuer.

__Michael Ranes___Lorraine Forrest-Turner__ John Downing___ Edward Harte_____ Carol Breuer______Robert Kibble.

Nicola May is the author of ten romantic comedy novels.

Her most recent number one bestselling novel is The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay. The School Gates and Christmas Spirit won awards for Best Author Read at the Festival of Romance in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

Prior to becoming a full-time author, Nicola worked in PR & events management for various blue chip corporations.

Nicola lives in Ascot in Berkshire, with her rescue cat Stanley. The third book in her Cockleberry Bay series is out in April 2020.

Flashback to last October when Nicola visited the group.

WINNERS OF 2019 ARTICLE COMPETITION (2019-12-21 14:46:10)

  • First and the Summer Competition Trophy: My Top Five Sugns of Aging by Lee Taylor
  • Second place: My Top Five Super Heroes by Neil Dickinson
  • 3rd place: My Top Five Ways to Leave a Pub by Philip Kavvadias

Pictures show from the left Philip Kavvadias (third place), the judge editor and journalist Graeme Osborne and the winner Lee Taylor.

Our 2019 article competition has been won by Lee Taylor for his piece My top 5 signs of ageing.

The competition, judged by freelance journalist and editor Graeme Osborne, invited members to write a 1,000 word article on the subject of My top Five. The competition inspired a wide range of subjects including zombie movies, nostalgic smells, clickbait and soul searching.

Speaking on how he judged the competition, Graeme Osborne said he did not want the process to be purely subjective so he drew up a list of key points, including how entertaining he found the article, how crisp the writing was, how well the writer argued his/her point and if the article left questions unanswered.

Lee's winning article scored highly in all categories and Graeme said it was a good example of being funny by not trying too hard to be funny. He felt the writing was "pithy and to the point."

Graeme awarded second place to Neil Dickinson for My top 5 super heroes and third place to Philip Kavvadias for My top Five Ways to Leave a Pub.

He also highly commended Terry Adlam for My Top Five Michael Caine Comments and Lorraine Forrest-Turner for My Top Five Conspiracy Theories.

Report by Lorraine Forrest-Turner