- Slough Writers Annual Awards for 2016/17 (2017-09-02 11:35:00)
Annual Awards: from the left: Robert Kibble (Endeavour Award), Edward Harte (Services to the Group), Lorraine Forrest-Turner (Writer of the Year) Claire Dyer (Visiting author who made the presentations), Harvey Martin (Newcomer of the Year)
- Results of the 2017 Poetry Competition. (2017-09-02 11:01:30)
The full result was announced on 17th July 2017
- 1st and the SW Poetry Competition Trophy: Golden Phase by
- 2nd: The Lucky One by
- 3rd: One Of The Fifty Percent by
Picture left show Sally East who now lives in Suffolk displaying the poetry trophy on the seafront near Southwold lighthouse accompanied by fellow member Wally Smith. Picture right shows Elaine Simmonds (second) with judge poet Claire Dyer and Michael Pearcy (third).
On the left Claire Dyer delivers her comments on the poems. On the right, Claire Dyer listens to Elaine Simmonds reading her poem which won second place.
- Stonewylde author Kit Berry visits Slough Writers (2017-07-18 23:09:28)
Tonight we met the author of the Stonewylde Series of young adult novels.
The folk of Stonewylde farm their land organically, living simply and in harmony with nature as their ancestors did before them. Everything seems perfect - the wind farm and solar panels, the rural celebrations in the barn, the ancient stone circle and megaliths clustered all over the landscape. But of course nothing is ever perfect.
Stonewylde has captured the imaginations of a huge following of all ages. The conflicts between the characters and the tension builds throughout the five books.
Stonewylde is a green and idyllic place where darkness hides malignantly in the corners, waiting to be unleashed.
The Financial Times said she soon spots the serpents in this paradise.
The Guardian said her ideas and imagination are absolutely brilliant.
With her husband Mr B (I have to ask, is the B for Mr Big?) she has eight adult children. And then she adds "none of whom actually live with us!" Maybe that explains how she finds the time to write five successful novels.
She is inspired by Dorset
She has a little room of her own for writing.
She reads a extensively and invests a lot of time in promoting what she does
Kit gave an interesting talk about her difficult journey to publication, and the importance of self-promotion through social media, talks, merchandise, etc.
- 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 groups. 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 wants 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
- 2nd: Belle and Eddie's Gap Year by
- 3rd: Take Off From Panshanger by
The Random Numbers Game by , Trying To Help by and Second Hand Kid by .
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
- 2nd: What Have Cats Got To Do With Brexit? by
- 3rd: What pet should I get: dog, cat, or dinosaur? by
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
- 2nd: Half-life connections by
- 3rd: No Night We Love So Well by
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.
- 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
- 2nd: Britain: First Principals by
- 3rd: A Kiss to Die For by
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/
- SLOUGH WRITERS SPONSOR WRITING AWARD (2016-02-04 13:43:05)
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.
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
- 2nd: The Road Not Taken by
- 3rd: To Leave or Not To Leave - That Is The Question by
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
- 2nd: Lost In Translation by
- 3rd: Strings Attached by
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.
- Theatre Director Julian Hirst talks at SW (04/10/15) (2015-10-06 23:24:48)
At Slough Writers we had a visit from Julian Hirst who describes himself as Actor, director, behavioural coach, conference/event MC & former gypsy saxophonist to the House of Romanoff. Or you may recognise him better in the photo below. Julian left Panto Dame off his list of achievements but during his four years as director of the South Hill Park Panto (this year it's Sleeping Beauty) he has always taken the role of Pantomime Dame. (Photo from Bracknell News Twitter feed)
Julian gave a very entertaining talk to the assembled writers about his career and his experiences as a theatre director. In particular he talked of the relentless production cycle for a the South Hill Park Panto - script, casting rehearsals and working with dozens of children - he loves them, he really does. On the right of the picture set above is Julian's mind map (or mind tree?) that he used. Click on the image for a closer look. It's fascinating to see this technique in action - we've talked about it as a technique in plotting but few of us have made it work. (photo shown with Julian's permission.)
- WRITING AWARDS FOR 2014/2015 (2015-07-31 10:44:37)
Slough Writers paid tribute to some of our best writers at the Annual General Meeting. This year only three awards were presented.
Sandy Lee-Guard Award for Endeavour (voted by the committee)went to Lyn Hurdwell.
Writer of the Year (voted by members) was shared by Sonya Weiss and Carol Breuer
The Taylor award for service to the group (voted by members) was awarded to Wally Smith.
Photo shows Sonia Weiss, Lin Hurdwell and Wally Smith.
The Best New Writer could not be awarded because nobody matched the two year time limit.
For the first time in its history, the Writer of the Year trophy was awarded to two people: Sonya Weiss and Carol Breuer, who will each keep the trophy for six months.
- RESULTS OF 2015 POETRY COMPETITION (2015-07-31 10:20:53)
Tony Matthews, Roslyn Adlam. Mike Pearcy and Lee Taylor
Judge Roslyn Adlam gave comments on each of the twelve entries. She said that all the poems were unique, special and sincere. Then she gave the results.
- SPECIAL PRESENTATION TO OUR CHAIRMAN (2015-07-30 11:01:29)
At the completion of business at the 2014/2015 AGM, Lee and Mike took over proceedings in order to celebrate Terry's twenty-five years as Chair of Slough Writers.
Mike read a brief, irreverent history of Terry's writing career and life as Chair of the group, from his first set of good reviews at secondary school, via Dick Spanner, Lorraine's writing class to his twenty-fifth year as Slough Writers Chair.Lee stated that Slough Writers owes its success as an organisation to Terry's drive.The milestone was celebrated with champagne and a cake (made by Kathleen). Terry was presented with an engraved glass commemorative plaque. Terry thanked the group and Steph, Claudia and Roslyn for their support.
- Results of 2015 Short Story Competition Announced (2015-04-03 12:39:30)
The competition results were:
- 1st and the SW Short Story Trophy: Flying Like A Bird by
- 2nd: Untitled 67-11 by
- 3rd: A Pleasant Interlude by
- Highly commended: First Dance by
- Highly commended: Ralph and Georgie by
- Highly commended: Dollface by
From the left: Wally Smith, Sally East, Lorraine Forrest-Turner, William Campbell, Ian Savage (judge), Carol Breuer and, inset, Lee Taylor. photo by Terry Adlam.
Our judge, Ian Savage, began by introducing himself and giving a brief resumï¿½ of his career in publishing. There were 13 entries and Ian said that he had expected to be able to disregard 4 or 5 on first read through, but he was unable to do this because of the high standard when looking at plot, characterisation etc., so he set two rules.
1. Nobody would lose marks for grammar or punctuation.
2. He would take into account the degree of pleasure he gained from the stories.
Ian chose three winning stories and three highly commended stories. He commented that the use of a single word as the theme was successful in allowing the authors to go anywhere with it.
Carol, William and Sally read their stories.
- Times Best Selling Author Speaks At SW (2015-02-18 18:59:58)
Guest speaker, romance novelist Carole Matthews
Pic shows, Kevin Matthews (Carole's manager), Carole Matthews and Terry Adlam (chair SW)
Terry introduced Carole who last visited the group three years ago when she judged the short story competition. Her 26th novel is now out in hardback and she is currently working on her novel for publication next summer. Carole began by talking about how she uses the various types of social media that the group discussed last week. Through social media, she has created a little world ‘Matthews Towers in the Costa del Keynes’ that readers like to feel part of. She balances writing and social media use by being disciplined. She also has reader giveaways via her newsletter, reader outings, and has participated in virtual blog tours. She recommended registering with Net Galley in order to send free samples of self-published books to book bloggers. She has dipped her toe into other genres and has worked on pilot episodes of sitcoms, as she really enjoys scriptwriting and writing dialogue.
Carole brought with her some copies of books about the craft of writing that members could take away.
Terry thanked Carole and Kev for visiting the group and the group posed for photographs with them for putting on social media.
(report by Sally East)
- Results of the Article Competition - Humorous Article (2014-12-29 01:14:44)
Terry introduced Jan Fredrickson, the judge for the article competition. Jan said that she realised how daunting it must have been for those who entered the competition to write a humorous piece. She said that it is difficult to write a sustained piece of wit and humour, particularly when limited to only 1,000 words, which restricts ‘punchiness’. She read two extracts of humorous writing. The first was from The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek, the comic adventures of a soldier caught up in the First World War, and the second from a collection of poems by Simon Ray – A.P. Herbert’s The General Inspecting the Trenches, in which humour is used to both enforce and enhance a serious issue.
Jan then gave feedback on each of the eight entries and announced the winning three as:
- 1st and the SW Article Trophy: The Life and Times of Colin Tigwell by
- 2nd: Seven Phrases to Avoid if You Want to be Taken Seriously by
- 3rd: Old Harry by
Linda Hurdwell, Jan Fredrickson, Michael Pearcy, Lorraine Forrest-Turner.
The three winning entries were then read out and Jan was then able to field general questions from members. Terry thanked Jan for judging the competition and for providing the comments and feedback on each of the pieces.
- Waxing Lyrical Part 2 - Andy Barrett Sings Our Lyrics (2014-12-28 19:56:20)
Terry welcomed Andy Barrett back to Slough Writers to feed back on the lyrics submitted by members to the two tunes that Andy had supplied as part of a collaboration between him as composer and the members as lyricists. This evening he added a third element – vocal interpretation. In some cases, Andy was required to make a few adjustments to the lyrics in order to fit them to the rhythm of the melody line.
Seven members submitted lyrics, with one member submitting two songs.
Andy numbered the songs 1-8 and played and sang each song in turn, commenting upon the lyrics.
Three lyrics were submitted for the ballad (Wally, Sally E and Terry) and five for the rock and roll number (Mike, Lorraine, Wally, Tony and Lee).
Andy commented on the structure, rhyming patterns, imagery and themes in the lyrics.
The members joined with Terry in thanking Andy for his comments and renditions, making for an entertaining and enjoyable evening.
Following this, members talked about and read (or sang) excerpts from their favourite lyrics. These included folk, country and western, rock and roll and musicals and spanned the decades from the ‘sixties to the present day. The members even joined Lorraine and Andy in a rendition of Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.
- Winners of the Summer Competition Announced (2014-11-14 01:03:31)
The winners with the actors.             The actors
Richard James and a group of actors (Ros, Amber, Sally and Jonathan) joined us for the meeting to give the results and read the top four plays.
The task set by Richard was to write a 10 minute play on the theme of The Photograph
Richard began by congratulating all those who entered. There were sixteen entries, all different and all competently written. He said it is the greatest thing for playwrights to hear their plays read by actors. It shows what works and what does not and how actors bring a script to life.
Richard gave his thoughts on all the plays and then announced the winners. (There are links to the videos of these plays at the end of this article.)
- 1st and the SW Drama Trophy: A Foreign Country by
- 2nd: The Legacy by
- 3rd: Complicit by
- Highly commended: Not Drowning by
Picture shows Michael Pearcy, Lorraine Forrest-Turner, Richard James, Carol Breuer and Lee Taylor.
At the end of the evening there was time for some questions. Lorraine asked about markets. Richard said that if the plays could be extended to one act play length they could be sent to LazyBee Scripts for consideration. Another possible outlet is English/Drama departments in schools.
Another competition open for 10 minutes plays can be found at The Sussex Playwrights Club web site.
Each of the winning plays were performed as a reading.
THE WINNERS ON VIDEO
If you want to view videos of the readings they are available here.
First place A foreign Country by Carol Breuer
Second place The Legacy by Michael Pearcy
Third place Complicit by Lorraine Forrest-Turner
Highly Commended was Not Drowning by Lee Taylor.
- Broo Doherty of DHH Literary Agency (2014-10-13 18:06:48)
A question and answer session with literary agent Broo Doherty of DHH Literary Agency. She accepts literary fiction, crime and contemporary women’s fiction (no sci fi or fantasy). There is an agent in the group who accepts children’s books.
Broo talked about the importance of having an agent and suggested the best way to find an agent is to look at the ‘thanks to’ section in books you have recently enjoyed reading.
To approach an agent by letter make it relevant, mention any books, short stories or articles published, as well as membership of the group and your website or blog if you have one – in fact anything that shows that you are serious about writing.
When assessing books sent to her for consideration Broo looks for good storytelling, warmth, humour, and well written and well plotted manuscripts.
For personal/family histories you could try Andrew Lownie at The Biographers’ Club, Thomas and Mercer, or Ingrams.
If you are writing non-fiction, send a proposal to the agent.
The advice on publishing and submitting to agents was invaluable and Terry thanked Broo for speaking to the group.
She ended by saying that she will consider submissions from members. Terry has her email address if you wish to send Broo your manuscript.
By Sally East
Broo Doherty, literary agent
- Waxing Lyrical with Andy Barrett (2014-10-06 17:18:31)
Terry welcomed Andy Barrett on 29 September who was leading the evening’s talk – ‘Waxing Lyrical’ about writing words for music. Andy is a singer and songwriter but apologised at the outset for being unable to sing on the night because of nodules on his vocal chords.
Andy said that in order to write lyrics it was essential to have music or a musician or composer as well. In other words it has to be a collaborative exercise. He compared writing lyrics with writing poetry and highlighted the different demands of each discipline. Lyrics are generally one dimensional, allowing more freedom for the writer with chord sequences dictating the mood of the lyrical story.
Andy gave examples of different song lyrics and defined four song types. Those with a construction of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-middle eight-verse-chorus (Type 3) being the most popular formula for hit songs. As with many forms of writing, Andy said that the opening ‘hook’ was very important in establishing the mood.
Members were asked to vote ‘good’ or ‘bad’ from a list of song lyrics, some of which were standards, which demonstrated how lyrics on their own can sometimes be uninspiring.
Andy then played two musical compositions for which members were asked to supply lyrics. These will be disseminated as MP3s and submissions will be sent to Andy to review and comment upon at his next session on November 24th.
Andy Barrett - music producer, singer, song writer, actor - inspired us with his enthusiasm for lyrics.
- Richard James gives advice about writing drama. (2014-08-04 15:58:19)
Richard James, actor and playwright, set the theme and will be the judge for the Slough Writers summer competition. The theme is The Photograph. Full details about the competition are on the COMPETITIONS PAGE
- Annual Awards 2013/2014 (2014-07-21 00:06:20)
Slough Writers paid tribute to some of our best writers at the Annual General Meeting. This year four awards were presented including, for the first time, The Sandy Lee-Guard Award for endeavour.
Peter Green Trophy Newcomer of the year (voted by the committee) went to Keith Scudamore.
Sandy Lee-Guard Award for Endeavour (voted by the committee) ï¿½ David England.
Writer of the Year (voted by members) ï¿½ David England
Taylor award for service to the group (voted by members) ï¿½ Sally East
Congratulations to all concerned.
Sally East, David England and Keith Scudamore.
- 2014 Short Story Competition - Crime (2014-04-26 20:14:47)
At our meeting on 14 April 2014 the winners of our short story competition on the theme of crime were announced.
- 1st and the Golden Cup: Whisky Chaser by
- 2nd: Blood Money by
- 3rd: Blood Lines by
Highly commended were Scenes of Crime by Terry Adlam and Playing by the Rules by Lee Taylor
from the left: Sally East, Lee Taylor, the judge Elizabeth Hurst, Terry Adlam, William Campbell and Sonia Weiss.
Elizabeth Hurst said that she did not ‘enjoy’ judging the competition because there were some truly awful crimes. She judged the stories on the extent to which the plot was character driven and how well the characters came across; the quality of the writing, which she said was very high; and whether the stories were focussed and pacey with good description. She commented that it was a difficult task because she was not comparing like with like, apart from the fact that they all featured a crime.
Elizabeth Hurst announcing the result, William on hearing of his victory, Sonia discussing how she developed her story and Sally reading her story to the group.
- Science Fiction and Steam Punk at SW (2014-03-20 08:38:02)
Steven C. Davis is a bookseller, science fiction writer and host of the web radio show: Gothic, Alternative and Steampunk Progressive Rock show (GASP) on BLAST 1386 (Reading College). He visited Slough Writers to talk about his work.
Steven opened the session asking members what their definition of science fiction was. There were many different views and opinions as to what the genre incorporates. Steven gave an example of Margaret Atwood’s work which received the Arthur C. Clarke award for science fiction, but which the author has always strongly suggested is not, describing it as speculative fiction. Steven explained how science fiction nowadays can cross so many literary genres and is quite often against a dystopian background setting.
A sub-genre of sci-fi is Steampunk, featuring steam-powered machinery in a 19th century setting and which Steven explained has evolved a counter culture with followers dressing up in Victorian costume and engaging in pursuits such as tea-duelling. Steven then read extracts of his publications Cornix Sinistra and The Heart’s Cog Imperative. It was a fascinating evening introducing us to several new ideas and aspects of SF.
- Results of the 2013 Article Competition. (2014-02-11 18:26:13)
- 1st and the SW Article Trophy: How To Give Up Smoking by
- 2nd: Back To Nature by
- 3rd: Caught Short by
Mike Pearcy's Narrow Winding Way was short listed.
At our meeting on 2nd December 2013 former Slough Writers member Sara Waddington was the judge. She began by telling the group how being a member gave her a good grounding in writing before becoming an editorial assistant and then editor on several specialist magazines. She now produces magazines for a variety of companies.
Sara said that she enjoyed reading the articles and learnt a lot about a range of topics. The layout of the articles was varied and some included sidebars and subheadings. She judged the articles on originality, appeal for publication, style of writing, grammar and punctuation. Sara read her comments on all the articles before giving the results.
Tony Matthews, Lee Taylor and Kay Woods with the judge Sara Waddington (front).
- Slough Writers Support Burnham Library (2014-02-10 18:34:37)
The financial crisis continues to threaten the future of many libraries and we recently joined forces with The Friends of Burnham Library to help create an arts festival aimed at increasing community involvement in this vital resource while celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the library. Two of our members were co-opted onto the committee to help organise a writing competition. They went on to serve as judges in two of the sections of the arts festival. The result was a very successful two week event culminating in a prize giving at which Sir Terry Wogan presented the awards.
The photos show Sir Terry Wogan, visitors to the library reading the winning entries in the writing competition and Slough Writers member David England giving a reading of traditional folk tales to a full house at the library - one of many public events held during the festival.
- Winners of the 2013 Poetry Competition Announced (2013-11-14 21:44:40)
At our meeting on 11 November 2013 the results of the self-judged Summer Competition were announced.
- 1st and the SW Summer Trophy: Winter Tales by
- 2nd: Learning Curves by
- 3rd: Ness of Brodgar by
Carol Breuer's Jagged Pieces and Tony Matthew’s Wonderstruck were runners up to the top three.
Wally Smith, Jenni Heward Craig and David England.
The task set for the Summer Competition was to create an anthology of five poems. The project was judged by those taking part and submissions were anonymous to ensure fairness. All those taking part wrote critiques on all the work which provided a valuable source of reference for all those taking part.
Terry had collated the results and critiques on the 11 entries. To score the entries he gave 5 points to the first place from each entrant, 4 to the second and so on. He said that every entrant was awarded points. He read a selection of the comments on each anthology before giving the results. The result was very close.
Wally Smith who took second place reads his anthology.
- 07 October 2013 Christine Webb on poetry. (2013-10-13 22:39:26)
Terry introduced and welcomed poet Christine Webb. She talked about poetry and how it has evolved through the ages, reading a selection of her own and other poems to illustrate her talk. She has published a number of anthologies of her poetry and the poems she read included After Reading the Bible, After That Hour. Horace at Sea and Fly6.
There were eighteen members present and Christine gave an inspiring talk based on her passion for and wide knowledge of poetry.
- Winners of the 2013 Poetry Competition Announced (2013-07-26 07:24:27)
At our meeting on 15 July 2013 the results of the annual poetry competition were announced.
- 1st and The Poetry Cup: Three Steps to Prison (based on Three Steps to Heaven by Eddie Cochran) by
- 2nd: I Must Be Loved (based on It Must be Love by Madness) by
- 3rd: Nigel, Don’t Take My Party Down (based on Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town by Kenny Rogers) by
Lee Taylor was commended for – Madness in America (based on Breakfast in America by Supertramp).
Back row from the left: second place Sally East, third place Mike Pearcy and winner Dan Hicks. Guitarist Ally McCulloch is the one with the guitar.
The task as set be Terry Adlam was to write a parody of a well know song, replacing the lyrics with our own words in the style of The Treason Show. Terry writes regularly for the Treason Show - Brighton's legendary satirical comedy show now in its record breaking 13th year.
He then introduced Ally McCulloch and his guitar who would sing the winning entries. Terry said that it was difficult and soul-destroying to judge because they were all so good (and so much better than his own!). He judged the entries on singability, humour, creativity, originality, closeness to the original, the extent to which they were topical and enjoyability. The final places were only separated by one point. They were all shortlisted! Terry read his comments on each entry before giving the results.
Terry’s friend Ally played and sang the top two songs for which Terry thanked him. William thanked Terry for judging the competition.
These pictures show Ally McCulloch on the left Terry and Ally during the announcement of winners and members Applauding Dan's parody.
- Annual Awards July 2013 (2013-07-21 11:51:25)
Slough Writers paid tribute to some of our best writers at the Annual General Meeting tonight. Three awards were given out, as follows:
- Writer of the Year went to Late Developer. , for his many successes over the year, including publishing his memoir
- The Taylor Award (for services to the group) went to for his continuing commitment to SW and in particular his long service as treasurer.
- Newcomer of the Year went to for her excellent work and successes in the short time she's been with the group.
Congratulations to all concerned.
Pictured from left to right: Tony Matthews (Writer of the Year), Sonia Weiss (Newcomer of the Year) and William Campbell (Taylor Award). The Taylor Award (pictured right) was unable to attend on the evening and will be presented to William on a future occasion.
- Results of the 2013 Short Story Competition Announced. (2013-03-28 22:41:48)
Results of the short story competition using ‘piano’ as the stimulus and judged by Reading Writers were announced at our meeting on Monday 25th March 2013. There were 14 entries.
The winners were:
- 1st The End of a Concerto by
- 2nd: Encore by
- 3rd: Tombstones and Keys by
From the left: Carol, Jenni and Sonya. Unfortunately, two of the winners were unable to attend so we could not take a group photograph of the successful writers with our visitors.
Three members of Reading Writers, Josh, Julia and Charles (left hand photo above), joined us for the meeting to give the results and talk about the judging. They said that they were an incredibly creative set of stories, given the single word prompt, with an astonishing diversity of themes. The stories were particularly impressive where the writers took risks.
Reading Writers is a group of 25 writers, 9 of whom agreed to judge the competition. Each judge read all the entries and gave feedback to the administrator, Alana, who produced a shortlist of 5 stories:-Tombstones and Keys (Sonya), Encore (Jenni), Captain Fantastic and the Dirt Brown Cowboy (Sally E), The End of a Concerto (Carol) and Tuning into the Past (Mike)
Terry thanked the Reading Writers for such thorough judging. We will be judging their writing competition next term. The theme is earth or Earth and can be a short story, play or novel extract.
- Theatre Writer and Producer Visits SW. (2013-03-08 18:28:55)
Writer and producer Bart Lee (centre front) with group members.
Terry introduced our guest speaker, Bart Lee, an actor/director/producer/playwright who works with South Hill Park arts centre and Scribblers writers group that is based there. Bart gave us invaluable advice and insights into writing drama. He recommended writing collaboratively; taking part in acting/directing workshops; going to see as many plays as possible; and writing as a different person.
- Tony Matthews Publishes His Autobiography (2013-02-23 22:01:14)
Tony has self-published his memoir Late Developer. He has copies for sale and the proceeds go to Crossroads, the charity for carers.
- Winners of the 2012 Article Competition Announced (2012-11-27 19:47:01)
The theme was: The Legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.
The brief was to write an article suitable for inclusion in a magazine or journal of your choice about the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics and/or Paralympics. This could, but does not need to, focus on the sports events and participation. Other aspects could be the effects on construction, infrastructure, regeneration and/or the economy.
Sally East introduced the judge, Louise Dance. Louise is a teacher who, during a long career, has taught children from age 4 to 16. She enjoys reading, swimming and walking. Having volunteered for the London 2012 Paralympics, the topic that she chose for the article competition is close to her heart.
Louise said that the entries were completely different, so she looked for originality and empathy with the reader. The standard was very good, so she chose the ones that appealed to her.
Louise commented on each of the five entries, before giving the results.
- 1st and The Summer Trophy: The Art and Soul of The Olympics by
- 2nd: The Legacy Balancing Act by
- 3rd: More Than a Games by
From the left: Second place Michael Pearcy, winner Sally East, Louise Dance who was the judge with Wally Smith who came third.
- Winners Announced Summer Competition 2012 (2012-11-27 19:26:08)
The meeting on 12 November 2012 was to award the prizes for the summer writing competition which was to produce a ‘How To’ manual.
The judge, Tony Rossiter, was unavailable, but had sent a message, which Terry read out. Tony said that although there were only five entries the judging was not as easy as he had imagined it would be. He detailed the main areas that he was looking for in the submissions and gave examples of where things could have been improved.
- 1st and The Summer Trophy: How To Make Do And Mend A Merry Christmas by
- 2nd: How To Write Your Own Funeral by
- 3rd: Observing The Night Sky Naked by
From the left: Third place Wally Smith, winner Sally East with Tony Matthews who came second.
- An Old Friend Visits (2012-10-05 16:17:59)
Former member Charlotte Betts gave a talk to the group about how she wrote her novels and the road to publication. Charlotte started writing 12 years ago and spoke of the invaluable support she received from Slough Writers, before leaving 9 years ago. She has had two novels published by Piatkus and is due to have a third published. Her novels are historical romances. The first, The Apothecary’s Daughter, is set in London during The Restoration and the sequel, The Painter’s Apprentice, is set during the Glorious Revolution in the 17th century.
The Apothecary’s Daughter was picked up by an agent via the You Write On website, having been voted book of the year 2010 and also won the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers Award in 2011
Charlotte read a couple of passages from the books and talked about her research. The evening ended with a period of questions and answers and then Charlotte signed copies of her books for members.
Author Charlotte Betts (sitting) visits Slough Writers.
From the left standing: Visitor Tom, Sally Clark, Chair Terry Adlam, Sally East and Carol Breuer.
- Poetry Competition 2012 Results (2012-07-16 22:33:00)
At the AGM tonight, we were pleased to announce the results of the 2012 poetry competition. The competition was judged by Gill Smith - comedy writer, stand-up comedian and poet - on the theme of "Obsession". Entrants had to write three poems on the theme, producing a related cohesive collection.
Gill remarked on the many approaches taken by the authors in dealing with the subject matter, from lightly humorous to the serious and disturbing. Gill also noted the high quality of the poetry and the difficulty in the judging process, but ultimately awarded prizes as follows:
- 1st and poetry cup: Folding Alaska by
- 2nd: Daily Obsessions by
- 3rd: Teatime, Hope and Attainment by
- Highly commended: Obsessions and How to Overcome Them by
Pictured from left to right: Terry Adlam (2nd place), Dave Smith (Highly Commended), Gill Smith (judge), Sonya Weiss (1st place), Kay Woods (3rd place).
- AGM Awards 2012 (2012-07-16 22:30:00)
Slough Writers paid tribute to some of our best writers at the Annual General Meeting tonight. Three awards were given out, as follows:
- Writer of the Year went to The Intricate Soul. , for his many successes over the year, including publishing his novel
- The Taylor Award (for services to the group) went to for her hard work on behalf of the group.
- Newcomer of the Year went to for her excellent work and successes in the short time she's been with the group.
Congratulations to all concerned.
Pictured from left to right: Wally Smith (Writer of the Year), Linda Hurdwell (Newcomer of the Year) and Sally East (Taylor Award).
- Spring Competition Results from Judge Carole Matthews (2012-04-02 21:48:26)
Slough Writers is pleased to announce the results of our Spring Competition on the theme of "Missing". The competition was judged by romantic comedy author Carole Matthews.
The results were as follows:
- Far from the Malling Crowd by .
- Missing by .
- Polly Put the Kettle On by .
From left to right, first-place winner Wally Smith, judge Carole Matthews, second-place winner Kay Woods.
Carole congratulated all the writers while also offering valuable insight into a full-time author's life.
- Result 2012 Article Competition (2012-02-01 19:19:10)
- Scooping A New Future Down On The Farm with
- Hidden Vintage with
- Paley Street
Fourth place was awarded by the judge Janice Raycrost to Wally Smith for A Village Passed.
From the left: Lee Taylor (third); Mike Pearcy (winner); Jennifer Heward-Craig (second); Wally Smith (fourth).
The competition judge, Janice Raycroft, attended the meeting to give the results and present the prizes. Janice has worked on the Bucks Free Press; was editor of the Slough Observer; worked for Trinity newspapers; and is now editor of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life magazine. She said that the standard of entries was very high and judging was a difficult task. with
- Video Performance of "After the Wedding" Competition Winners (2012-01-21 01:05:19)
Following Slough Writers' 2011 poetry competition, we're very pleased to present a video performance of the winning entries. After the Wedding features The Bridesmaid, The Marriage List and After The Wedding Is Over, all read by competition judge Jonathan Steffen.
Additional performances by the authors themselves.
Video produced and directed by Mike Pearcy.
- Summer 2011 Competition Results Announced (2011-11-29 16:24:47)
Monday 31 October - Halloween - was the night for the results of the Summer Competition with the theme of Horror.
- An Unexpected Act of Mercy with
- All That I Am with
- Angel's Trumpet with
Picture shows Sally East, Mike Pearcy and William Campbell.
There were 9 entrants and the entries averaged 4,600 words. Seven of the nine entrants attempted the ‘guess the author’ competition. Six of the entrants correctly guessed that Wally was the author of ‘Solo Descent’. Jenni and Mike identified five authors correctly; Wally identified seven authors; Sally E was awarded a bottle of wine for identifying all nine.
There was a maximum possible score of 80 points. The leading 5 entries were separated by 10 points. The result was: In joint 2nd place with 49 points were William (‘Angel’s Trumpet’) and Sally E (‘All That I Am’). First place with 53 points was Mike (‘An Unexpected Act of Mercy’).
Entrants commented on the quality of the critiques. While some people found it difficult to write the critiques, others said that the workshop evening on critiquing led by Wally earlier this term was very helpful. The entrants had a range of ways of going about the task of judging – some read all the stories through first to gain their first impressions, while others read them through more than once, before moving on to the next.
- Poetry Competition Summer 2011 Results Announced (2011-07-14 00:07:26)
Monday 11 July We were joined by Jonathan Steffen our judge for the annual poetry competition. After a few introductory remarks about himself and his writing he said how he had enjoyed judging the poems. How different and quite surprising they were and all of the utmost high quality. The Theme was After The Wedding. The results were as follows.
- The Bridesmaid with
- The Marriage List with
- After The Wedding Is Over with
He gave a special mention to Dave Smith, William Campbell, Mike Pearcy, Sally Clarke, Tony Matthews, and Wally Smith whose poems he enjoyed very much. Mike took photos of the Judge with all the winners.
Sally East (front) came first, Jenni Heward Craig (left) was second and Terry Adlam (right) came third. The judge Jonathan Steffen is standing behind.
- Annual Awards 2010/2011 (2011-07-13 23:58:04)
At our recent AGM held 11th July we honoured three members with awards for their writing achievements and contribution to the well-being of the group over the last twelve months.
- Writer of the Year award to .
- Taylor Award (for services to the group) to .
- Newcomer of the Year Award to .
Kay, Wendy and Mike.
- WRITING FOR DUMMIES!
First and Second In National Competition. (2011-07-13 23:40:34)
On 11 July we learned that Terry Adlam had taken first place in the Ventriloquists Club of Great Britain script competition earning £50 and Jenni Heward Craig took second place with a £30 prize. Jenni made the announcement with a fixed smile but it sounded an awful lot like Terry.
- Poet Sally Second In Burnham (2011-06-02 17:31:12)
Sally East came second in the Think! Burnham poetry competition. Comic poet Ian McMillan presented her with her prize, a CD of his poetry, at an evening of poetry and cartoons at Burnham Park Hall. Ian McMillan was hilarious. His poems were illustrated by cartoonist, Tony Husband. A jaw-achingly entertaining evening!
- Three Wins in Six Months in Writers News Competitions. (2011-05-11 16:52:17)
Lin Hurdwell, Tony Matthews and Wally Smith have all won prizes in Writers News subscriber competitions during the past six months.
Tony's story appeared in the February issue, Wally's in the March issue and Lin's is in the current issue (June). We are checking to find out if this is a record!
As well as Lin's story the June issue also contains a four page article about the screenwriter of the film The King's Speech by SW member Michael Pearcy and a press release about the result of our Autumn 2010 travel competition. Not forgetting that for many months member Tony Rossiter has had a regular column in Writer News on the theme how to write like....
Aren't we a bright bunch!
- Short Story Competition 2011 - Result Announced. (2011-04-20 23:14:34)
On Monday 18th April the result of the 2011 short Story competition on the theme of identity was announced.
- Past Form with
- Walking On Quicksand with
- Note To Self with
Main picture shows from the left Kay Woods, William Campbell, Melanie Gow (judge) and Michael Pearcy.
Terry introduced our judge for the short story competition - Melanie Gow the editor of online Beat Magazine. The theme was Identity and she said she had very much enjoyed judging. She gave us two handouts with quotes from Kurt Vonnecot and Joseph O'Connor. Her comments were many and varied .She had read a story every day and gave herself time to think about each one in depth. She emphasised that point of view is important but limits perspective. Detail is all- important for interest.
- Author Julie Cohen Talks To The Group (2011-04-11 19:08:16)
On Monday 4th April Author Julie Cohen gave a talk billed as How To Write A Synopsis of Your Novel.
Julie is an ex-secondary school English teacher who writes humorous, sexy women's fiction and romance. After suffering the usual rejections, her fourth novel was a 2004 short contemporary Golden Heart finalist. Harlequin subsequently bought it and she said she screamed with joy, and has never
looked back. She gained a wonderful Agent, and battled with her synopses, which she says she really HATES writing. Her hate was certainly our gain as she gave us two very good and comprehensive 'How To' handouts. We were encouraged to apply her maxims to the novels we are or would like, to write and although she emphasises that a synopsis may be difficult to do it is very well worth it as it SELLS the book.
A one-page synopsis is all they want and it also can be used as a blue print for the author. There was a lot of sense in what she said and left us wanting more. A truly enjoyable and entertaining evening.
Several people bought her books.
- World Book Night (2011-03-07 18:32:40)
Jenni, Sally and Wally gave out books on World Book Night. Jenny toured Eton Wick shops, Sally concentrated on the school where she teaches and Wally set up in the entrance to Sainsburys (and was often mistaken for a Mormon preacher).
- Slough Writers on Slough's Asian Star radio (2011-01-26 20:30:30)
Terry Adlam and Jenni Heward-Craig were heard promoting the group on Philippa Downey's mid-morning show on Asian Star radio recently. Both did the group proud.
You can listen to the interview:
Or download the interview for later.
- Reading of Winning Plays (2011-01-20 00:07:43)
On 17th January we enjoyed readings of five plays from our 15 minute playwriting competition from summer 2010. Judge Edel Brosnan attended and the acting was bolstered by four actors from Total Theatre. For the full results see item Summer Competition, 2010 - results announced below.
Make Up by Terry Adlam.
A New Beginning by Paul Stimpson and Sweet Peas by Tony Matthews.
Saw The Last Of The Day by Jenni Heward Craig and The Arborist and The Biologist by William Campbell,
- Great welcome to our new venue (2011-01-11 11:42:16)
Monday 10 Jan was our first night at the new venue upstairs at the Palmer Arms. The meeting room is perfect for us and the bar after proved very acceptable.
The first evening was a member led discussion about our plans and objectives for the coming year. Let's hope we all live up to the goals we set ourselves. No pressure!
- Article competition - Autumn session - Winners announced (2010-11-29 21:00:00)
The winners of the autumn session article writing competition were announced at our meeting 29 November 2010. The task was to write a 1000 word piece about a travel destination which the author had not been to. A major element of this competition was obviously research. The judge was Denise Diorazio an experienced overseas travel agent based in Singapore.
The result was:
- Land of the Thunder Dragon with
- Big Fried Italin with
- Looking Down From Heaven. with
The picture shows Wendy Naylor, front with trophy, Jenni Heward-Craig and Dave Smith.
- William Campbell runner-up in Guardian Travel Competition (2010-11-20 00:00:00)
An article extracted from his Journal, about a near-fatal incident on his Saga holiday in Spain, has gained William Campbell runner-up place in the Guardian Travel Writing Competition.
The published piece can be read on the Guardian web page and scrolling down to Spanish boulder dash.
The originating text is available on William's web page as Stone Sober in Salobreña.
- Summer Competition, 2010 - results announced (2010-11-08 20:00:00)
The result of the 2010 summer competition was announced on 8th November. The task was to write a 15 minutes play with a maximum of four characters
- Make Up with
- Sweet Peas with
- A New Beginning. with
PHOTO - rear: William Campbell, Terry Adlam, Edel Brosnan, Jenni Heward-Craig.
Front: Tony Matthews and Paul Stimpson.
Saw the Last of the Day. Also Highly commended was The Arborist and The Biologist by .was highly commended for her play
The judge sent her comments, which were very complimentary. The five winning plays are on our Website for those who wish to read them. They were presented as a rehearsed reading at our meeting on 17th January when the judge Edel Brosnan was present to discuss the competition.
- Annual Awards 2009/2010 (2010-07-12 20:00:00)
At our recent AGM we honoured three members with awards for their writing achievements and contribution to the well-being of the group over the last twelve months.
- Writer of the Year award to .
- Taylor Award (for services to the group) to .
- Newcomer of the Year Award to .
From left to right: Sally Clarke, Lee Taylor and Wendy Naylor.
Sally Clarke, a recent addition to the group, gained Newcomer of the Year for the improvement in her writing skills. Sally has recently set up a haiku website, and is looking forward to encouraging others to write poetry.
Wendy Naylor, grandmother and long-time member of the Slough Writers, received the Taylor Award for services to the group. Ever willing to step in and help, she has worked hard to ensure that everything has run smoothly during the 2009/2010 season.
The final annual award – the Writer of the Year – went to Lee Taylor. It was a popular decision, as Lee has managed, in the few years in which he has been a member of Slough Writers, to be included in the anthology for the Bristol Prize, and win a number of our internal competitions as well as local competitions. Now retired, he is hard at work on his first novel.
- Poetry Competition, Summer 2010 - results announced (2010-07-11 21:30:00)
The recent World Cup in South Africa was the inspiration behind the latest poetry competition. Slough Writers used the theme ‘South Africa’ to explore the country, its history and its future through poetry. The results were:
- From Rift to Rainbow. with
- Beads Tanka - linked tankas in Zulu and English within a beads necklace. with
- DeVilliers Street. with
Photo of the winners - William Campbell (left), Eileen Maduray, Roy Cecil (centre), Donald Mathray and Jenni Heward Craig (right) - (pic by Michael Pearcy.)
The judges were three South African born teachers who live and work in Slough, Salo Mathray, Donald Mathray and Eileen Maduray.
Eileen Maduray said: “although the judging was difficult, the poems themselves gave us a chance to revisit South Africa through the writers’ eyes and words.”
There were thirteen entries. The winner was a poem charting the history of South Africa ‘From Rift to Rainbow’ by Roy Cecil, a long-time member of Slough Writers. Second place went to ‘The Beads Tanka’ by William Campbell – based on expressions used in the Zulu language. Third place was taken by Jenni Heward-Craig with ‘De Villier’s Street’, a poem about what it’s like to yearn to return to South Africa.
- Short Story Competition, Spring 2010 - results (2010-04-12 21:00:00)
The results have been announced for the 2010 Slough Writers short story competition. The theme, to create a pastiche of a favourite writer, was well-contested; according to the judge, retired English teacher Elizabeth Hurst, it was a highly entertaining but intellectual competition to judge.
The winning story, "The Son Also Rises" by Lee Taylor, beat out strong competition from entries in the style of Ray Bradbury, Harper Lee, and Franz Kafka, among others.
The complete results were as follows:
- The Son Also Rises - a story about one man's shopping day in the style of Ernest Hemingway. with
- The Fete of Little Whippinshall - a hard-boiled Mickey Spillane pastiche about a retired policeman in Kent. with
- Ease and Education - transferring Jane Austen to a modern-day council estate. with
Well done to all the winners.
From left to right, Jenni Heward-Craig (3rd), Lee Taylor (1st), Elizabeth Hurst (judge), Terry Adlam (2nd).
- Summer Competition, 2009 - results announced (2009-11-09 17:22:34)
Over the summer, nine stalwart members attempted to change history with the 2009 Summer Competition. Judged by members, each entrant had to write 5000 words of Alternative History. The resulting stories ranged from Elizabethan (or is that Spanish?) England to the real end of Amelia Earhart.
After much reading and critiquing, the final results for the stories were:
- The Great British Soviet, a dystopian view of Britain under Soviet rule. with
- I Want To Go On Living, giving Anne Frank the happy ending we all wanted for her. with
- The Origins and Early History of 'Grace', a psychedelic take on how the French Revolution might have been prevented. with
also managed to see through the anonymous entries to win the prize for "Guess the Author".
Many congratulations to the winners and all those who took part.
From left to right, Tony Matthews (2nd), Mike Pearcy (1st), Lee Taylor (3rd).
- New term started (2009-09-07 19:30:00)
The Autumn/Winter term of Slough Writers has started. All details on the Programme page.
- Short Story Competition, 2009 - results (2009-04-06 21:00:01)
This year’s SW short story competition celebrated the 400th anniversary of the birth of the author of Paradise Lost. Participants were invited to interpret the John Milton quote: “Subtle he needs must be who could seduce angels.” The submitted stories varied from the serious to the risqué.
Entries were judged by members of Write Your Story Writing Group, who meet regularly at the Britwell Community Centre. Chair of the judges was experienced journalist Alison Haymonds.
“It was a democratic process which we took very seriously,” said Mrs Haymonds. “For some it was a new experience judging other people’s work.”
The winner of the competition was the humorous Her Mother’s Holiday by Jenni Heward-Craig, a relative newcomer to Slough Writers.
“I would like to say the story was totally fictional,” said Jenni. “But we all know a mother just like this one.”
The results for the competition were:
- Her Mother’s Holiday with
- Getting Rid of the Devil a football themed tale. with
- Parting Shot a murder mystery. with
The winners are pictured below: (from left) Lee Taylor, Dave Smith, Jenni Heward-Craig.
- Radio Play Competition Results (2008-11-25 23:56:46)
Slough Writers are pleased to announce the results of the summer competition to write a 15 minute radio play.
The competition was judged by Mike Walker, a leading radio dramatist and published author, and Duncan Mclarty, assistant editor for BBC Radio Berkshire.
Both judges praised the high standard of the entries and expressed how much they enjoyed reading them. The awards ultimately went to the following entries:
- The Train Now Standing with
- Slog with
- On The Tringham Trail with
Congratulations to all those who entered.
Pictured below, left to right (click for enlargement):
Michael Pearcy (3rd place), Mike Walker (judge), Terry Adlam (1st place), Duncan Mclarty (judge) and Lee Taylor (2nd place).
- Slough Writers welcome band leader Ronnie Smith (2008-10-12 13:36:03)
Being arrested for driving the wrong way round Trafalgar Square and having to admit your name is Smith and that your profession is an underwater pianist is not likely to placate an arresting office. This was one of the colourful highlights that band leader Ronnie Smith revealed about his life to twenty-five members of Slough Writers at their meeting on Monday night in The Greyhound in Eton Wick.
Ronnie Smith with Slough Writers:
(Photo by Mike Pearcy of Words&Pictures.)
"It got worse," explained Mr smith, "when I had to tell the same story to the judge the next morning. But it was true. My best trick at private parties was to sink a piano in the pool and then release special weights so that I would float to the surface playing the host’s favourite song."
Among the self-mockery Ronnie Smith revealed an impressive career as a musician starting in the Army school of music where he studied classical music and the piano. He later studied jazz under the great Dill Jones and went on to become a successful band leader at the age of 23 and later musical director of The Rank Organisation.
But his career was never conventional: "I don’t know how it happened but I was a film stunt man for a time with the young Mike Reed. I worked with Gerri Halliwell at the start of her career, Rick Wakeman has become a great friend of mine through music and with my own big band I have performed with many stars including Bob Monkhouse, Lesley Crowther, Jon Pertwee, Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele and Jimmy Young. Plus Terry Wogan’s and Dave Lee Travers's shows on BBC Radio One."
Ronnie Smith revealed a spiritual side to his life when he talked about his passion for swimming with dolphins and the time he made a film in which he played the piano under water to Willie the Whale at Windsor Safari Park. "They are beautiful creatures," he said.
Ronnie Smith started life as a teenage gang leader in Ladbrook Grove when it was one of the toughest areas in London and went on to write his own symphony which was recorded by Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004.
"My father was a classical violinist so my symphony was written for him," Mr Smith said. "I started it in 1988 and it was not performed until 2004 but that was one of the proudest moments of my life. It’s called Four Seasons of Woman and having been married three times I’ve leaned to appreciate all the aspects of womanhood." Ronnie Smith cannot speak for long without making a joke.
Chairman of the Slough Writers Terry Adlam thanked Mr Smith for a facinating evening and explained where these events fit into the group's activities: "We like to have a wide range of speakers because as writers we need to try and understand what makes people tick. We’ve had ex-policemen, firemen and a talk about the air ambulance recently. If Ronnie doesn’t inspire us to write it’s hard to think who could."
- Slough Writers goes international (2008-08-21 00:00:00)
The group was represented at recent book festivals on the French Riviera and in Scotland. In June, Ted Jones was one of three Brits among the 300 authors who presented their books in “Meet the Author” sessions during the three-day Nice Festival du Livre. He is pictured with (left) Carol Howland, travel author, and (right) Elizabeth Morgan, novelist and travel writer.
A few weeks later, Ted was in Scotland, where he talked about his book, The French Riviera: A Literary Guide, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival where, together with novelist and biographer Nicholas Murray, he was interviewed by Radio Four’s Lesley Campbell. The authors' presentations were followed by signings in the Festival Bookshop.
- AGM, Awards and Poetry Competition Results (2008-07-08 01:06:26)
The Slough Writers 2008 Annual General Meeting has closed with another round of awards, competition results and review of the year.
The chairman noted it has generally been a good year for the group and a great way to build on the 40th anniversary.
Trophies were presented to the following members:
- Writer of the Year award to .
- Taylor Award (for services to the group) to .
- Newcomer of the Year Award to .
It was agreed that the hard work of all members continued to make Slough Writers a brilliant and dynamic group.
The results of the poetry competition were also announced by Sue Evans and Jules Bowes of Reading Town Women's Guild. The competition theme was to write a poem in the style of the Cautionary Tales of Hilaire Belloc. Sue and Jules agreed that the judging was fun and challenging thanks to the high standard of entries, but the final results were as follows:
- Joint 1st place: The Sad and Cautionary Tale of Lieutenant James Owbuthnot Mogg and with How Terence had To Eat His Words. with
- 3rd place: Herbert. with
Lee and Kathleen, 1st and 3rd in the competition:
- Lee Taylor shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize (2008-07-07 08:00:00)
Slough Writers member Unfinished Business, was shortlisted in the Bristol Short Story Prize. The shortlist comprised the top 20 stories out of over 1200 submissions from around the world.had an outstanding acheivement when his short story,
Lee said he was surprised but gratified by this result as this was the first short story he has ever written.
- Slough Writers Anthology Available Electronically (2008-07-07 00:07:36)
We are pleased to announce that The Slough Writers Anthology, produced in 2007 to celebrate the group's 40th year, has now been released in electronic form.
The anthology is the perfect way to sample the breadth and depth of activity at Slough Writers.
- Ted Jones at Edinburgh Festival (2008-04-11 00:00:00)
The French Riviera: A Literary Guide (ISBN 978-1-84511-455-8) at the Edinburgh International Festival of Literature (August 9-25, 2008). He will be speaking there on the evening of Monday, August 11th. The Literature Festival, part of the mammoth Edinburgh Festival, will feature more than 600 authors from over 40 countries.has been invited to present his book,
Ted will be sharing the platform in the Peppers Theatre with Nicholas Murray, the famous novelist and biographer (of Bruce Chatwin, Kafka and Aldous Huxley, among others). Ted will be talking about, and reading from, his book,. The authors' presentations will be followed by signings of copies of their respective books in the Festival Bookshop.
As part of an ongoing series of events to launch the book on the French Riviera, Ted participated in a combined event featuring his book, together with an exhibition of the paintings of Bernard Payet, the illustrator of the book, at the Villa Luciane in La Gaude on Saturday, May 17, 2008. See picture below.
View previous news item on Ted's book launch at Cannes.
- Short Story Competition results announced (2008-03-17 21:30:00)
The 2008 Short Story Competition had the theme: through the eyes of a witness. The brief was to write a story in which a real historical event is witnessed by the character(s).
The result was announced by the judge, local historian and writer, Hester Davenport:
- 1st. I Was That Close concerning the 1980 death of John Lennon. with
- 2nd. Right of Passage about the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989. with
- 3rd. All Fools Triumphal relating Neil Kinnock’s last conference as Labour leader in Sheffield, 1992. with
Two other entries were highly commended by the judge:
- River of Destruction on the Lynmouth floods of 1952. with
- Waterman’s Tale concerning the death of Christopher Marlowe in 1593. with
The photo shows judge Hester Davenport presenting the Story Competition cup to Terry with Tony and Roy.
- Notes for "Introduction to Play Writing" online (2008-02-07 23:30:25)
Notes from Mike Pearcy and Kathryn Watson's evening, "Introduction to Play Writing", are now available online.
- Sally East signing her book on Saturday 9th Feb (2008-02-06 23:28:17)
Slough Writers member MS Talent on Saturday 9th Feb. She will be joined by her co-author and her editor.will be signing copies of her new anthology
The anthology is a collection of short stories, poetry and memoirs, produced in aid of four Multiple Sclerosis charities.
To support Slough Writers and a good cause, catch Sally at Gerrards Cross Bookshop (in the high street), 10:00-12:00, on Saturday.
- Welcome to our website (2008-02-04 18:00:00)
Well, here it is! Our new improved all singing, all dancing, impressive website. I hope you enjoy looking, using and discovering its cyber delights as much as the team did whilst designing and authoring it.
Talking of which, a massive well done and thanks to James, William and Ray for all their hard work in getting it to this point.
This is just the begining. Welcome to the future of Slough Writers on the Web. Once again, enjoy! Terry.
- New term started and spring competition announced (2008-01-07 22:00:00)
The spring term has started at Slough Writers. If you're a budding new writer, now's a great time to join up and meet like minded people. If you're a returning writer, welcome back!
The spring competition has also been announced; more details are on the Competitions page.
- Article Competition results announced (2007-11-26 21:30:00)
The group’s article competition for 2007 had the theme: Is religion relevant today? The two judges, Michael and Verity Elson, spoke of their criteria for evaluating the entries, mentioning the strength of rhetorical persuasion over reasoned argument in some entries. They noted some writers tackled the meaning of the word ‘religion’ while others were concerned with ‘relevant’ in the sense of beneficial or otherwise.
The winning articles were:
1st. Isms and Schismswith
2nd. Ultimate Placebowith
3rd. Comfort of Firelightwith
- Ted Jones’ launch at Cannes (2007-11-17 00:00:00)
Following the success of the hard cover version of his book The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers, launched the paperback edition at Cannes on the 17th November 2007. The photo shows Ted (centre) with illustrator Bernard Payet and clients at the launch signing. More details can be found on Ted Jones' webite.
The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers by
The sunlight and the calm of the French Riviera have drawn countless writers into its embrace: the Cote d’Azur has provided the inspiration and setting for some of the greatest literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The French Riviera offers a literary tour of the region, covering the lives and work of the writers who found inspiration there – from Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham, who spent much of their lives there; through those writers whose work it dominates such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Guy de Maupassant; to those who simply lingered there.
Ted Jones’ encyclopaedic work covers them all, including Louisa M. Alcott, Hans Christian Anderson, JG Ballard, Simone de Beauvoir, Bertholt Brecht, Albert Camus, Casanova, Bruce Chatwin, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, TS Eliot, Andre Gide, Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling, DH Lawrence, AA Milne, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, Sylvia Plath, Marcel Proust, Jean-Paul Sartre, Robert Louis Stevenson, Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, Evelyn Waugh, Oscar Wilde, PG Wodehouse, Virginia Woolf and WB Yeats amongst many others.
- Summer Competition results announced (2007-11-12 21:30:00)
This year’s Summer Competition was a self-judged and critiqued story competition. The story, for this fifth running of the popular format, had to be based or themed on one of The Seven Virtues.
The results were announced by the competition administrator:
1st. Honour Thy Fatherwith
2nd. Thrills of the Chastewith
3rd. The Waiting Gamewith
The winner of Guess the Author was, who correctly identified the author's style of every entry.
- National story competition win for William Campbell (2007-09-28 12:00:00)
Computer Dating. William was chosen as the over-16 winner of the BCS WriteIT competition by cult fantasy fiction novelist Jasper Fforde (left, in photo).won a national competition organised by The British Computer Society (BCS) with his short-story,
“The standard of work was incredibly high,” said Jasper. “I really loved the story that won. It was very imaginative.”
After the prize-giving in Swindon, William said: “It is very rewarding to know one’s story-telling entertains and engages other people. That’s one reason for writing.” The writer is also delighted with the prize money, enabling him to leap from a Windows 98 PC to a 21st century machine.
William’s winning story is published in PDF format on the BCS website. The competition was part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the BCS, the leading organisation for IT professionals.
- Slough Writers 40th anniversary celebration a great success (2007-07-14 12:30:00)
To mark 40 years of Slough Writers, the group pulled out all the stops for a huge celebration this weekend. Taking over Maidenhead Sailing Club, there was food, drinks and dancing aplenty as the group partied while the sun went down.
Ending with words of support from famous authors and friends of the group, a fireworks finale welcomed the start of the next forty years.
Many thanks to all those who helped make this great celebration possible.
- Anthology launched at Waterstones (2007-06-26 12:00:00)
This weekend Slough Writers launched their new anthology to celebrate their 40th Anniversary year. The group had a display in Waterstones to present their work to the public. The anthology is the culmination of several months work and provides an amazing tribute to all the writers who've attended Slough Writers over the years.
- Eton College Library visit (2007-06-04 19:30:00)
On 4th June 2007 the group was invited to a private talk by Michael Meredith, the librarian at Eton College Library. Eighteen members and relatives travelled to the famous school in Eton to sit among numerous and priceless books. They listened avidly to Mr Meredith’s eloquent knowledge and amusing anecdotes.
The librarian concentrated his talk on the background to and stories behind some of the first folios and renown books in the library collection. There were samples for the members to look at and examine, ranging from Shakespeare through Gray, Byron, Austen and Dickens to Susan Hill and Harold Pinter.
Mr Meredith also expounded on samples of writers’ correspondence on display from the library. He offered insights to the sub-text in some of the letters.
The visitors experienced an extremely interesting and enlightening evening. To a person they agreed it was a memorable privilege to have handled the original manuscripts and letters.