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)

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/


For the first Slough Writers are supporting the Berkshire Music and Arts Festival by sponsoring a prize for young writers. This year the trophy was presented by the chairman of our group Terry Adlam. The cup was won by ten year old Thurka Ananth from Newbury for her story The Gas Mask in which a schoolboy finds a Second World War gas mask and when he wears it he is able to travel in time and experience the war.

The presentation day was Sunday 31 January at Ufton Court near Reading and was attended by musicians, performers and writers. There were readings by established authors and poets in addition to the presentation of awards. Lesley Saunders, who has been a good friend to Slough Writers for many years, was the judge of the poetry section of the competition.

Pictures show Terry Adlam presenting the trophy to Thurka Ananth and the trophy itself.

Another way SW supported the festival was to enter the adult fiction section and our efforts were rewarded when we won all three prize places. First prize including Kindle vouchers worth 75 pounds donated by author Clare Whyle went to Mike Pearcy for his story Cyber Romance about a woman who gets involved with an online dating scam but makes sure she comes out on top.

Linda Hurdwell came second with her story Thelma and Ed set in Canada in the 1880s studying a woman who cares for a bear cub to ease her loneliness while her husband works away building railways.

Third place went to Robert Kibble for his story entitled Memories, Not Echoes which placed its main character in a locked sound proof room and explored what goes through his mind as he runs out of air in the complete darkness.

The prizes were presented by Clare Whyle who writes in partnership with her best friend and together they produce a series of romantic escapist novels under the pen name of Nina Whyle. Their fourth novel is called My Disorganised Life and tells the story of Eve Poots who changes her life by creating a things to do list but then realises it was the wrong list.

The three stories may be read here: Cyber Romance, Thelma and Ed and Memories Without Echoes

A group including Mike Pearcy, Clare Whyle, Linda Hurdwell, Terry Adlam and Robert Kibble.

Results of 2015 Article Competition (2015-12-09 15:26:19)

And the results were:

  • 1st and the SW Article Competition Trophy: The ANZACs and Us by Michael Pearcy
  • 2nd: The Road Not Taken by Lee Taylor
  • 3rd: To Leave or Not To Leave - That Is The Question by Lorraine Forrest-Turner

pic shows Michael Pearcy, Martin Trepte, Lorraine Forrest-Turner and Lee Taylor

Newspaper Editor Judges Article Competition

Slough Writers held their last meeting of the year at The Palmer Arms in Dorney on Monday (07 December) and used the event to announce the winners in their annual article writing competition.

The judge of the competition was Maidenhead Advertiser editor Martin Trepte who was asked to select the winning three articles from ten entries. The task set for the competition was to write a 1000 word article on the theme 2016.

Martin Trepte said, "The entries, while very different, were all excellent and picking the top three was exceptionally difficult as they were all winners in their own unique ways. I enjoyed reading them immensely and I needed to read them all several times to pick the winners.

"There was a wide range of subjects chosen by the writers including a biographical piece about Jimi Hendrix, a look at the life of William Shakespeare which asked what we really know about the bard and a sideways look at leap years, their history and the people born in them.

"The article I selected as the winner was The ANZACs and Us by Michael Pearcy who wrote about the origins of the famous Harefield hospital during the First World War and told of the wounded ANZAC soldiers that were treated and of the 112 who died and were buried in the village churchyard. It's not the story of the bricks and mortar hospital but of bonds forged in the tragedy of war between communities separated by half a world that has lasted to this day.

"Second in the competition was Lee Taylor's piece about the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken. Martin commented, "This was a really thought provoking piece and the more I read it the more I got out of it. I think it will resonate with anyone who stops to think about the what-ifs and alternative possibilities and the idea that for every decision we take a new parallel universe is created."

The third placed article was entitled To Leave Or Not To Leave That Is The Question written by Lorraine Forrest-Turner which looked at different types of questions and how we use them. Martin said, "Another great thought provoking piece that challenges perceptions and makes the reader think. Taking the in-out EU referendum as its starting point it looks at the very nature of questions themselves. And we learn they are far more complicated than we might have thought. The writer tackles the subject with great clarity, aided by entertaining examples and a great vein of humour running throughout."

The evening finished with readings of the winning articles and a question and answer session in which Martin fielded questions from the nineteen writers at the meeting.

Winners of the Summer 2015 5000 Word Romance Competition (2015-11-10 23:47:40)

Picture shows William Campbell (comp. coordinator), Michael Pearcy, Carol Breuer and winner Lorraine Forrest-Turner.

And the results were:

  • 1st and the SW Summer Competition Trophy: Getting On With Freya by Lorraine Forrest-Turner
  • 2nd: Lost In Translation by Carol Breuer
  • 3rd: Strings Attached by Michael Pearcy

As competition adjudicator, William gave feedback on the entries and the results. There were ten entries. Five were over 4,900 words and the average word count was 4,600. All the rules were adhered to by all the entrants, though there were some requests regarding making a submissio that were not met.


This was not up to par for all the entries to some extent, i.e. use of fundamentals of a word processor. All manuscripts threw up typos or misspellings and some were set for US English. Spacing, first line of paragraph indents and time gaps were not consistent. Four of the entrants attempted to guess the authors. With such a low response this part of the competition was abandoned. William pointed out that since it was beyond most of us to remove the author's name from properties in a Word document guessing the author was redundant.


William thanked the entrants for submitting their feedback on the other nine entries. He recommended to the authors that they look for recurring themes when reading the feedback on their story.


William used a weighted scoring system: first 12 points, second 10 points, third 8 points, then 6,5,4,3,2 and 1. The maximum score was 108 points. The totals were spread across the range from 75 down to the 30s. Seven of the stories had at least one 1st place ranking from the judges. William produced a progressive leader board as the results came in. (Email William if you would like him to send a copy of this.)

Ranking the Three Winners

Third place was Strings Attached with 67 points; Second was Lost in Translation with 70 points and first with 75 points was Getting on with Freya.

In this picture Lorraine gets a round of applause after reading her winning entry.

William congratulated the winners and everyone who entered and for writing the critiques for their fellow entrants. The word count, timing of the competition and theme were discussed. Terry thanked William for all the hard work he had done. Lorraine and Carol read their winning stories to much applause. Once more, Terry thanked William and the meeting closed at 9.30.

This report by Sally East.