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)

Slough Writers Submit Plays to Stoke Poges Players (2017-05-02 10:19:09)

Two members of Slough Writers will have plays performed by local amateur dramatics group Stoke Poges Players at The Village Centre in Stoke Poges for three nights beginning 11th May.

Julie Cawood who is producing the show for The Players said, "We want to put on a show that is modern and different from the usual plays available to amateur group. And do something community based so working with a group like Slough Writers ticked all the boxes."

Eight of the Slough Writers responded by submitting plays and The Players chose Zoo, a farce by Terry Adlam and Whistleblower, a drama by Michael Pearcy.

Zoo is set in a Zoo and the manager, Richard Blount, wants everything to be perfect for a very special visitor. That's what he want's but it's not what he gets.

In Whistleblower a family's future security is threatened when they are drawn into a political scandal and they struggle to answer the question - what personal sacrifices are they prepared to make to protect the truth? Millions of lives are in danger if they don't speak up.

This mixture gave Julie Cawood exactly what she was looking for:"Both plays run for about 45 minutes so it makes a perfect evening of comedy and high drama for the audience. For The Players it is brilliant to be working on comedy and drama for the same show; the two disciplines present very different challenges for our actors and directors."

The show will run for three nights from Wednesday 11th May and tickets can be obtained from the box office at 01753 677032 or online at www.stokepogesplayers.org.

"We are really excited with this new format for our show and we will certainly be doing it again," said Julie Cawood.

Claire Dyer on Poetry (2017-05-02 10:01:06)

Author, Teacher and judge of our 2017 Poetry Competition speaks about what she looks for in a good poem.

RESULTS - 2017 SHORT STORY COMPETITION (2017-04-21 10:32:30)

There were 18 entries for our Young Adult themed short Story competition The judge was Andy Robb, the author of the Geekhood books, the first of which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award 2012. He has had many jobs over the years, most notable as an actor working on stage and screen but now spends his time writing on his house boat on the Thames; occasionally stopping to feed the ducks.

  • 1st and the SW Short Story Competition Trophy: Beetroot Tears by Lorraine Forrest-Turner
  • 2nd: Belle and Eddie's Gap Year by Sally East
  • 3rd: Take Off From Panshanger by William Campbell

Commended: The Random Numbers Game by Robert Kibble, Trying To Help by Michael Pearcy and Second Hand Kid by Jules Davidson.

Photos: Lorraine receives her certificate and reads her story. We hope to gather all the winners for a group photo soon.

Of Lorraine's winning story he said, "This stood out from the beginning; great story, simple and not too clever for clevers sake. What stood out was the use of conversation. You were there, in this family from the very start. And the beetroot tear image was brilliant."

Andy admitted to being unsure what we expected as feedback and that he concentrated on being constructive. He hoped what he said about each story was useful but he said "If you believe in what you are doing just say sod it and stick to what you do."

In writing for young adults Andy said "The voice in your work should be strong, grab them from the start." He explained that adults are ready to spend more time getting into a story: "You can be more timely where adults are concerned."

"The theme and characters must be clear upfront - like the hook in a song, the young adult reader wants it there, bang," said Andy.

Andy spoke about the need for immediacy in your work for the YA reader, "You should aim to have a feeling of being in the now. I like to use the first person and writing in the present tense will also help."

Andy gave comments on all the entries. In many of his comments he referred to a lack of immediacy. In general he was impressed with the standard and as a reflection of this he needed to award three commendation certificates.

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