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)

Results - The 2016 Article Competition (2016-12-07 20:45:35)

  • 1st and the SW Article Competition Trophy: Caring For A New Breed of Pets by Michael Pearcy
  • 2nd: What Have Cats Got To Do With Brexit? by Paul Stimpson
  • 3rd: What pet should I get: dog, cat, or dinosaur? by Julian Davidson

Commended: Working like a dog by Carol Breuer and Becoming a cat stepfather by Robert Kibble

First picture, from the left: Robert Kibble, Paul Stimpson, Michael Pearcy, Dr Kate Dent, Carol Breuer and Julian Davidson.

2016 Article Competition

The task was to write an article on the theme Pet Project. Dr Kate Dent, head of operations at the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trusts agreed to be the judge. Kate said that her criteria for choosing the winners of the 2016 article competition was not based on her experience as a writer but more as a reader of mainly scientific papers and articles. She confessed to not really knowing what an article was and was pleased to find that her online research (after she had judged the entries) backed up her intuition.

Kate judged the entries on her experience as a former veterinary nurse and her studies of zoology and evolutionary biology combined with how engaging and enjoyable she found each article. She gave incisive feedback on all 10 entries.

She said of Mike's winning entry that it had all the elements of an excellent article with an interesting subject told in an informative and entertaining style. She found the interview format worked well and she learnt something new about bee keeping.

Kate liked the amusing analogies in Paul's cats and Brexit article and said it was explain cleverly and an unusual approach. Of Jules' dinosaur piece, she said it was well-researched and easy read with gentle humour.

On the two commended articles, she said Carol's was amusing and informative, and Robert's was an interesting comparison between a relationship with a child and a relationship with an animal.

Her observations on the others included taking a quirky approach, being more of a story than an article, missing an opportunity to call for volunteers, and being a little disjointed without a satisfactory ending.

As well as giving feedback on all the entries and awarding the prizes, Kate also gave a short and very interesting talk about her work with the three Wildlife Trusts. There was a lively and interesting Q & A. The group thanked Kate for her time and for providing a very interesting evening.

Report by Lorraine Forrest Turner. See her website.

Results Summer Competition 2016 (2016-11-13 20:13:28)

  • 1st and the SW Summer Competition Trophy: 13:22 by Lorraine Forrest-Turner
  • 2nd: Half-life connections by Robert Kibble
  • 3rd: No Night We Love So Well by Carol Breuer

The task was to write a triptych of stories that would each stand as independent pieces of fiction whilst sharing a common theme. The word limit was a total of 3000 words apportioned in any way between the three stories.

Robert Kibble (second), Lorraine Forrest-Turner (first) and Carol Breuer (third).

Third Drama Showcase At Burnham Library (2016-11-09 12:16:26)

On 21st October 2016 we held our third drama showcase at Burnham Library. The aim was to raise funds for The Friends of Burnham Library to support their work to ensure Burnham keeps a thriving library at a time when government spending cuts threaten many community facilities. This year we raised just over 1000.

Terry Adlam introduces the show. The Authors: Mike Pearcy, Paul Stimpson, Wally Smith, Terry Adlam, Carol Breuer and Lorraine Forrest-Turner.

There were six plays, some new and some established pieces, and it was received as the best showcase of the three. This time all the work was performed as opposed to previous shows were there was a mixture of performance and script in hand. The show was a sell out with many late applications for tickets being disappointed. This event is now an annual feature for Slough Writers and the Library.

Sorry You're Leaving by Wally Smith. The Legend of Jonny Spry by Lorraine Forrest Turner. Swallows and Anarchists by Paul Stimpson.

The Run by Terry Adlam. A Foreign Country by Carol Breuer. Eleven Fifty-Six by Michael Pearcy

Author Clare Whyle Talks To Slough Writers (2016-09-28 11:58:10)

Monday 26 September saw us enjoy the visit and talk by Clare Whyle who is part of the duo who write under the name Nina Whyle. Their Latest creation is My Disorganised Life (The 'Dis' part of Disorganised should be crossed through but not on this website - see picture.) It was an excellent evening with Clare dealing with our questions with loads of humour and honesty (and patience! - some of us have the knack of making questions far longer than any answer could possibly be!). And she was almost the last to leave the bar after. Good girl!

Clare Whyle writes because she loves the process, working in tandem with her long-standing friend Nina Bowden. "Nina is a kindred spirit", said Clare,"I don't really understand how but the writing just happens naturally between us. Where Nina is far better at plotting, dialogue, driving things on and cutting my flights of fancy, I'm sarcastically comedic, love developing the eccentric character and writing the descriptive."

In the partnership nobody has a final say in how the book will go. "It's really basic, we pass the manuscript back and forth between us. I write in pink and Nina in blue. And we absolutely slaughter each other's darlings. But if there's a bit you really like you try to sneak it back in later."

Clare said that both writers have to supress their ego and learn diplomacy. What comes through when Clare speaks of Nina is respect and it obviously goes both ways. They trust each other to make decisions that benefit the work and never the individual.

So far they have sold 27,000 books but they are not rich authors although they are on their fifth novel. Clare does not mind having the books categorised as Chic-Lit. "Women's fiction is the biggest market and it gives you freedom to go where you want and do anything with the characters as long as there's a happy ending. We have fun. Sex scenes are an absolute hoot."

The writing duo live in Berkshire and Devon, but talk on the phone at least once a week. "We have long rambling girlie chats and we know each other's lives intimately. This helps because we can avoid putting on pressure about the writing when one of us has other challenges in life. Sometimes we even talk about the book!"

At one time the couple reached number ten in the UK charts and had their hopes set on perhaps reaching the number one spot. "What actually happened," said Clare, "was Fifty Shades of Grey and we were knocked off the top ten."

Clare describes herself as a black romantic. Her preference would be for a black comedy with a sci-fi setting and a strong Thomas Hardy mood. When the two are not being Nina Whyle they focus on screenwriting and Clare admits to a passion for film.

"Pushing a screenplay is much tougher than publishing a novel on Amazon," said Clare. "The film business works on the old boy network where it is your contacts in the industry that count in getting a project developed."

Nina has a successful background as a film editor but even with her contacts in the business nothing is guaranteed.

Mike Pearcy

Poetry 2016 Result and Annual Awards 2015/16 (temp) (2016-07-17 11:44:03)

Here are some of the pictures from the awards and poetry results evening for this year. More pictures and a full report will follow.

Left: Poet and judge for the evening Lesley Saunders presents the poetry cup to to Robert while Lee and Harvey look on. Right: the recipients of this year's awards flash the trophies: Wally, Mike, Jules and Robert.

Robert Kibble reads his winning poem to Lesley and the group.

Results of the Espionage Short Story Competition (2016-03-23 22:50:28)

In the absence of the judge, Sue Lemon from Burnham Library, Andrew Strathdee stepped in as a representative of the library. The result was:

  • 1st and the SW Short Story Competition Trophy: Into the Silence by Jules Davidson
  • 2nd: Britain: First Principals by Robert Kibble
  • 3rd: A Kiss to Die For by Lin Hurdwell

Jules led with a clever story set in a library that teased the audience right to the very end. Robert followed with a brave and moving story that confronted racism. Lin managed to find comedy in espionage and brought the meeting to a halt several times while we overcame the giggles before she could carry on.

There were two highly commended entries: The Triumph of Mercy by Harvey Martin and Still Waters Run Deep by Keith Scudamore.

The prizes were presented by Andrew Strathdee representing Burnham Library. The judge was Sue Lemon (centre) a librarian from Burnham. Sue had a particular liking for a satisfactory ending to a story.

Guest Speakers Sue Hampton and Leslie Tate (2016-02-21 23:09:48)

Guest speakers Sue Hampton and Leslie Tate gave a talk as part of their Purple Tour so-called because both have recently published novels with purple in the title.

Sue Hampton writes for children, young adults and adults. She is also an ambassador for Alopecia UK. She introduced the characters from her latest novel Flashback and Purple through short extracts on cards that were passed around for members to read.

She talked about how she uses different language and writing styles for each character. Her book is about the connections between the characters, much of it told through thoughts in flashback. She ended by reading the first page of the novel.

Leslie has a background as a poet and he talked about the importance he places on language. His novel Purple is set in the 1960s and he has attempted to capture the authenticity of the period. He aims to write in the voices of the characters and talked about the method he has used to find a unique voice. He read from the opening of his book and from a section which illustrated the novel's two narrative styles. Both Sue and Leslie write blogs about writing and other topics that are important to them.

Sue and Leslie have websites with their weekly blogs http://www.suehamptonauthor.co.uk/ and www.leslietate.com/