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Gifts for Writers in 2020

Do you have a writer friend and don’t know what to buy them, or are you a writer looking for something to treat yourself to? Then, boy, do we have the list for you!

We’ve asked our members, and scoured various shops and outlets to bring you some amazing gift ideas that would be perfect for any writer. We’ve tried to include gifts for every price bracket as well, so regardless of your budget, you should be able to find something.

The suggestions are in no particular order, and prices quoted were accurate at the time of writing this article.

  1. Waterproof Shower Notepad

Many writers comes up with their best ideas while they’re trying to fall asleep, or while they’re showering. While this gift won’t help you with the first problem, it offers a solution to jotting down any ideas that crop up while you shower.

This item is inexpensive but will find so much use for the writer who is prone to brainstorms in the shower.

Price: £10.54

2. Story Generator

Sometimes it can be tough coming up with an idea. Maybe you’ve just finished a project and don’t know what to do next, or maybe you’re trying to write a short story for a competition and need some help, or maybe you’re just looking to flex your creative muscles. Either way the Story generator is here to help! It can help generate thousands of prompts.

Price: £10.99

3. Novelty Mugs

Many writers enjoy a warm beverage while working, so why not grab a novelty mug worthy of a writer. Here are a few we recommend:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/653767602/pay-no-attention-to-my-browsing-history

Price: £14.90

Price: £9.99

4. Online Membership

Being part of a writing group can be vital for many writers. They offer support, help promote one another, offer help and advice, and sometimes you can find a critique partner at a group. However, not everyone has the luxury of being able to go to one. The Norwich Writers’ Circle offers an online membership.

An Online Membership comes with the following benefits:

  1. Free entry into our 3 in-house competitions, plus free entry into the Members Shield Challenge of the Olga Sinclair Prize. The entry fee is £5 for non members, saving you money.
  2. The chance to be published in the Members Showcase.
  3. An additional chance to win in the Olga Sinclair Prize. Entering as a member means you not only have an entry in the main competition, but you can select one entry to be put into the Shield Challenge, where it will be judged by a different adjudicator. Shield Challenge winners and highly commended are published in the Olga Sinclair Anthology.
  4. Even if you don’t win the in-house competitions you enter, you are guaranteed to get a critique from our adjudicators. This will help you improve.
  5. A special members-only area where you can access past workshops, talks, and hints and tips.

If you have a writer friend who would like to be part of a writing group but can’t make meetings in person, this gift is ideal for them.

https://norwichwriters.wordpress.com/online-membership/

Price: £18

5. Subscription Box service

These days, you can get subscription boxes for all sorts of things! These are what the writers in our group recommend. Most boxes allow you to choose to gift a single month, or multiple months. It’s up to you.

Scribbler

Scribbler is a subscription box designed especially for writers! Each month you’ll receive a box containing ‘…teaching tools from bestselling authors, live chats with publishing pros, writing gifts, and an autographed novel.’ Perfect for any writer.

Price: From $29.99 (roughly £21.88)

Papergang

https://papergang.com

Papergang are perfect for that writer friend who is obsessed with stationery. Each box contains ‘4+ exclusive pieces of stationery designed with an artist’ which in the past has included pens, notebooks, writing sets, cards, and stamps.

Better yet, every box sold goes towards planting more trees. Papergang also partners with various charities which has included ‘Marine Conservation Society, Arthouse, Butterfly Conservation, Bee Conservation Society, ME Society, Switchboard LGBT+, Blurt Foundation, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’

So Papergang is a great choice for the environmentally conscious notebook aficionado.

Price: From £14.00

Book subscription boxes

Books that Matter

Books That Matter is a book subscription for writers who like to read thought provoking books with strong themes. Each month, the box contains books with a specific theme in mind. Past themes have included ‘Strong Female Leads’, ‘Banned Books’, and ‘We Glow Through What We Go Through!’.

Price: From £17

The Willoughby Book Club

https://www.thewilloughbybookclub.co.uk/

The Willoughby Book Club is a great subscription for the writers who is are also a voracious reader, as many writers are. Each month, the Willoughby Book Club will send one novel to read, which is chosen based on your reading preferences. The book will be a surprise until you open it.

From £39.99 (3 month gift subscription minimum)

Food subscription boxes

Got that writer friend who likes to snack while they work? Perhaps you can try a snack subscription service.

Snack Crate

Snackcrate offers a selection of tasty snacks from around the world every month. Sometimes the best gift you can give a writer is snacks. You can pick which country you want your snacks to come from, or choose a selection from all over.

Price: From £8.99

Coffee

Ah, coffee, many-a-writer’s best friend. Our final subscription box suggestion is a one that offers coffee.

Horsham Coffee Roaster

https://www.horshamcoffeeroaster.co.uk/collections/coffee-subscription-gift

There are various subscription boxes on offer, from a different coffee every month, to organic, or single origin. What we like most about this service is that it is not only local, but they also strives to ensure their coffee is sourced responsibly, including sourcing fair trade beans. So you would not only be supporting a small business, but also supporting small businesses elsewhere in the world.

Also, if you can’t quite manage a subscription you can buy individual bags of coffee as well.

Price: From £8.25

6. Writer’s Block Pad

Writer’s block can be frustrating, so having tools to fend it off is a great gift idea. This block is small enough to fit on most desks or writing spaces. Not to mention the price tag is more than reasonable!

Price: £8.99

7. Reading Support Cushion

Many writers work from their beds, resting their laptop in their lap. This can cause them back problems. This cushion is designed to support them. It can also be used on armchairs and on sofas, offering much needed lumbar support wherever they are choosing to write or read. Give the gift of comfort!

Price: £21.99

7. Book Marks

Book marks can be a practical yet beautiful gift, and they can be slipped nicely into a card. There are plenty of places you can buy them – local book shops and gift shops, but we personally recommend:

The Bookmark Emporium – Etsy

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebookmarkemporiums

Our Vice-Chair Kathy highly recommends The Bookmark Emporium for several reasons. First, each is handmade by a local small business owner. Second, the bookmarks are gorgeous, and there is a design to suit every taste and genre. Thirdly, they’re very reasonably priced – each at just under £5. Above are just a few examples.

Price: From £4.75

8. Grammar/spelling checker

Pro-writing aid

https://prowritingaid.com/Premium

Editing can be a real headache for any writer. Even the most thorough writer can miss silly mistakes. In this regard, advanced spelling and grammar checkers can be invaluable. The ones which come with word processing software can help pick up some spelling and grammar issues but they are far from perfect.

Vice-chair Kathy recommends ProWriting Aid. Kathy has used other software like Grammarly before but prefers ProWriting Aid for several reasons. First, it’s cheaper, and secondly, it comes with more tools. You can check for echoes, pace, check acronyms are consistent, and it will even check how natural your dialogue sounds. Not only that but it will teach you why something is an issue, and how to fix it.

It can also be integrated into Word, Pages, and you can also get an add-on for your browser to help you check emails as well.

Price: £20 per month, £79 annually.

So these are our recommendations. We hope they have been helpful. We’ll be releasing an article on gifts you can give the writer-friend in your life that are free, or virtually free.

In the mean time we hope everyone has a very merry Christmas.

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Results of the Olga Sinclair Prize 2020

Olga Sinclair 2020 Results

1st Making the News by Clare Marsh
2nd Doorstepping by Fiona Ritchie Walker
3rd There’s Always a Story by Veronica Swinburne

Shortlisted (in no particular order)

Made Up by Sherry Hostler
Under Offer by Phyllida Scrivens
A Reasonable Person by Lucy Porter
The Storm by Helen Murray
Repeat Offence by Christie Davies
The One That Got Away by Cathy Rushworth
Correction by Amanda Moscou

Member’s Shield

1st: Trailing Arbutis by Christie Davies
2nd: Orphan by Kathy Joy
3rd: Grandma finds a Stolen Spitfire by Anne Funnell

Highly Commended – A Knife Remembered by Iain Andrews

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Science Fiction Workshop

On Tuesday 20th October we’re hosting an online workshop on writing science fiction. The workshop will be led by Ian Nettleton – award winning novelist and creative writing tutor for UEA and the National Centre for Writing. The workshop will be between 19:30 – 22:00.

The meeting will be held via Zoom. If you are interested please email us: norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk to register your interest and we will send you the Zoom link a few days before the event.

All you need to participate is access to Zoom, something to write with, and an open mind!

Cost:

Free – NWC members (including Online Members)

£5 – Non-members

Payment:

Payment can be made in two ways:

E-Banking:

Send money directly to our bank account.

Sort code: 77-68-22
Account Number: 00010414
Name: Norwich Writers Circle

This can be done either via your e-banking, or you can visit a TSB branch and pay it into our account over the counter. Please email us when you have paid so we can check it has come through.

PayPal

If you are from outside the UK, you might prefer to send payment via PayPal, in which case please send payment to:

norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk

Your receipt may confirm payment was made to Alan Rosser. This is our treasurer.

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Writing Party

On October 6th, we were supposed to hold a critique evening, but due to new restrictions, we are unable to meet in person, and it would be tricky run a critique session over Zoom, so instead we’ve decided to throw a party… a Writing Party!

Our vice-chair Kathy will be putting together some fun writing exercises, challenges, and prompts to help jump-start your creativity.

All you need to participate is something to write with, a little creativity, and access to Zoom.

The meeting will be free to both members and guests. Our hope is to all come together and have a good time from the safety of our own home. Join us, bring your own nibbles and drinks, and have some fun!

The Facebook event page can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/655663421733533

The Zoom link for the meeting is:

https://zoom.us/j/91541742093?pwd=d2Z3WU9XTDdlMWxLOURIVHVFOUp1QT09

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Ivy Ferrari Cup 2020

Due to COVID-19 the group has had to adapt to a lot, but this didn’t stop us from kicking off our new season off in style on Zoom!

Sarah Passingham joined us and officially set the Ivy Ferarri competition, and also offered help and advice on what she is looking for in a winning entry.

If you weren’t able to make the meeting, don’t worry, you can watch the recording of the meeting:

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COVID-19 Update

Due to recent government guidelines, we are not able to meet at The Chantry as previously planned. However, this doesn’t mean we are cancelling our meetings. Instead, they will be held online via Zoom.

Full details of our first meeting can be found on our Facebook event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/647992212789368

This meeting, where Sarah Passingham sets the brief for the Ivy Ferrari Cup competition, will be free to both members and guests. Zoom link:

https://zoom.us/j/94650319601?pwd=TFA1eTVXZmdpWEdocHhZRGgxTWJoUT09

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Upcoming Online Workshop

To help you tune up any work you’ve managed to get done over the summer, we’re hosting a self-editing workshop. The workshop will be free and will be held via Zoom.

Kathy of Fine Tune Your Fiction – a critique and editing service – will be leading the workshop and using her years of experience to guide people on how to spot mistakes and how to fix them.

For this workshop, it is recommended that you bring 4-5 double spaced pages of a current work-in-progress. These pages can either be printed or worked on via word processing software.

The workshop is completely free and suitable for most ages and skill levels. So whether you’re a seasoned vet, or just starting out in the writing world, learn some tricks and tips to fine tune your writing.

The workshop will be held on Saturday 22nd August between 14:00 – 16:00.

Join the Zoom Meeting
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Olga Sinclair Virtual Launch

Normally, we would host our launch gala in Chantry Hall, serving drinks and nibbles, however, due to COVID-19, we were unable to do so. Most of our meetings for the season had to be cancelled, but we still wanted to run the gala. So, we got creative and ran a virtual launch instead.

For those who were unable to attend, here is what you missed.

Iain, our Chairman, opened with a brilliantly edited introduction:

Next, we were treated to what Keiron Pim, the adjudicator for the main competition, was looking for in a winning entry:

Next, Amanda Addison, adjudicator for the Members’ Shield Challenge, shared what she was looking for in a winning entry: 

Finally, Kathy, our Vice Chair, offered a series of tips, advice, and exercises in regards to interpreting and exploring our theme of ‘news’.

Overall the night was a success and it was wonderful we still got to engage with entrants and share lots of useful tips and advice.

If anyone still have any questions, feel free to email us: norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk

Any questions posted on the Q&A thread should be answered and posted on the website within a week.

 

 

 

 

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Everything is better with free cake!

Last night we held our very first free-writing event where we offered a distraction free environment for members and guests alike to get some writing done. This was aided by complimentary cupcakes which were kindly provided by our Vice-chair Kathy, and tea and coffee.

cake

We had a fantastic turn-out, and even had 3 guests join us.

The goal was to bring work in – whether it was a short story, a novel, or some editing – and make use of the time to get work done. We understand it can be difficult to find time to write. Even at home, it can be all too easy to be distracted by other things that need doing – laundry that needs doing, dishes sitting by the sink, windows that need washing.

writing-933262_1920

Everyone who attended was productive, managing to get work done. Whether it was editing a few more chapters, figuring out the plot, or writing from one of our prompts. Given the success, we’ll definitely look into doing it more often. Watch this space.

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Results of the Past Search for Non-Fiction 2019

We’re pleased to announce the winners of the Past Search Prize for Non-Fiction, kindly sponsored by Gill Blanchard of Past Search.

Winners:

  • 1st Helen Murray with Jane Sellars
  • 2nd Cathy Rushworth with The Wretched Life of Thomas Vaughn
  • 3rd Iain Andrews with An account of Amelia Lightharness
 

Runners Up

 
  • Anne Funnell with How a Case of Mistaken Identity changed the law
  • Alex Sykes with The Vitriolic Weaver
  • Phyllida Scrivens with The Hanging of Hubbard Lingley in Norwich

 

Well done! Special thanks to Stephen Carver for his excellent adjudication and his generous offer to feature all entries on his blog.