Norwich Writers' Circle

A Flying Start

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On Tuesday 20th September, Norwich Writers’ Circle came together for their first meeting of the season.

We were joined by Benjamin Johncock, author of The Last Pilot.  His inspiring talk delved into his inspiration for The Last Pilot as well as offering some sound advice to the group.

The NWC would like to extend a special thank you to both those who attended the meeting and to Benjamin for giving such a phenomenal talk.

Our next meeting on the 4th of October promises to be just as spectacular.  Susan Burton, UEA PhD research student, will be giving a talk on her experience of the Fukushima earthquake and its connection to her interest in oral history.

We hope to see you there!

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Norwich Writers' Circle

We’re Back!

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After breaking up for the summer, Norwich Writer’s Circle are back. Benjamin Johncock, author of The Last Pilot and winner of the Author’s Best First Novel Award 2016 , will start us off with a bang with his talk entitled: ‘Leaving Things Unsaid: the process of writing The Last Pilot and why less is always more’.

Visitors are always welcome.  Please be reminded that there is a door /admission fee for room hire which includes entry into a raffle at the end of the evening.  We look forward to seeing you at Anteros Arts Foundation at 7.30pm (doors open 7.00pm).

Norwich Writers' Circle

Summer Times

As per usual throughout the summOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAer members will be able to meet at the Greenhouse Cafe. 42-46 Bethel Street, Norwich NR2 1NR from around 1pm. These are simply informal get togethers over a light lunch or simply a coffee, for as little or as long as you like.

We try and be sure that at least one committee members turns up so you will never be alone! It is a good opportunity tOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAo discuss ongoing writing projects, bounce ideas and maybe offer suggestions for improved meetings. Or just talk about the weather or a controversial TV programme!

No need to let anyone know you are coming. The dates agreed are:-

SATURDAY 13th AUGUST

SATURDAY 27TH AUGUST

SATURDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER

Norwich Writers' Circle

End Of Season Part II

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Andrew Heron, Over all Winner 2016

Thanks to those who attended the AGM last week. It was an excellent night, enhanced by a raffle and post business dinner downstairs in the café. This year sees a couple of big changes to the Committee: Séan Hindle is after more than ten years in various roles, stepping back as Vice Chairman & Webmaster and is replaced by Kathy Joy. Also resigning from the Committee is Gill Blanchard who as Programme Secretary has already organised our next series of guest speakers, workshops and “club nights” for us.

Although we have an up-and-coming programme of events for the 2016 – 2017 season, we are for now without a volunteer to take on this rewarding job. The Circle maintains good relationships with writers and other local literary professionals, and new guests are always welcome. If you have time and enthusiasm to offer and would like to be Programme Secretary, (co-incidentally raising the literary world’s awareness of your good self into the bargain, of course) now is

Mickie Dann gets her reward: The 2016 Past Search Prize
Mickie Dann gets her reward: The 2016 Past Search Prize

your best chance.

We had a new champion of champions in this year’s prize winning stakes. President Elizabeth Bencze was unable present him with

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Elizabeth hands Phyllida her award

his cup (“him” being Andrew Heron). Coming a close over all second and indeed joint winner with Andrew of the Past Search Prize was Mickie Dann.

Recipient of the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour was Phyllida Scrivens.

Well done to all 2016 competition winners and runners-up.

Norwich Writers' Circle

A Busy Week

21st June kicked the week off with a well attended and varied, entertaining Club Night. Notices came first , particularly St. Peter Mancroft Church requesting contributions from Circle members to its glossy magazine. But it wasn’t long we were listening to a fair old mix of pieces from the members.

Anne Funnel explained her contribution was a contemporary theme, international terrorism. More specifically, an updated version of how to accidently-on-purpose get yourself a new car.

Other readers included Margaret Turner and Andrew Heron who each gave us a couple of poems;  Christopher Woodall with his developing novel, mixing historical biography with fictional thriller; Phyllida Scivens with a sample of her next project: the life and times of a Norwich Lady Mayoress; and Barré Funnell who treated us to his entry for last year’s Olga Sinclair Open Short-Story Competition, which you’ll recall required clever use of the word “mustard”.

This nicely leads to another reminder of this year’s deadline: 17th July (Postal) and 31st July (Email). So you’ve still got a fair amount of time to perfect your brainchild.

And so to Saturday 25th: A big “thank you” is due to Anne & Barré for once again inviting us to their home. A pleasure in any weather, which is just as well when considering the thunder, lightning, and downpour we had.

Thank you also to Margaret for organising her quotes quiz. And well done to Ian for winning!

Those that able to make it came laden with food and raffle prizes. Rain did not stop play. In fact towards the end it was the rain that stopped, enabling us to venture outside for a group photo.

Norwich Writers' Circle

Club Night

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June 21st “If you’d like constructive comment on your writing, join our…”

Yes, it’s that time again. Whether you’ve an on-going work-in-progress, a completed piece of fiction or factual account, come share and shine with us. Constructive critisism works in all directions, give and take. If it looks like we may have time for one, we can get things buzzing with an exercise or two.

You may also have your winning entry for this year’s Olga Sinclair Open Short-Story Competition to hand in. If so, please remember the £8 fee per entry.

This coming Saturday, the 25th is the day of our annual Summer Social. This year, members Barre and Anne Funnell are again kindly playing host. The fun starts at 4pm. More details and directions will be available on the Club Night.

Norwich Writers' Circle

Closer Ties

WordPress Writers Centre Norwich Alice Kent

7th June’s meeting was a very relaxed affair in Alice Kent’s company. There to share with us the aims and work of the Writers’ Centre Norwich, and tell us something of Dragon’s Hall.

Beginning in 2003 as a joint enterprise between the UEA, Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council and the Arts Council England, the WCN supports and extends the university’s contribution to literature. Its aims include support to writers, commission of new works and, through its many workshops and Online Studies, encourage young talent.

Click here for details of all of the 2016 events the Centre are running.

In 2012 the Centre led our winning bid (in competition with Nottingham) to become an UNESCO City of Literature. This has done much to boost the city’s status as a major cultural and educational tourist destination – our literary heritage dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. Is it not fitting that the Centre’s home is around the corner from where the first woman published in the English language made her home?

Today Dragon Hall is staffed by twenty Writers’ Centre workers.  Alice herself has been the Centre’s Director of Communications since March 2015. One of her biggest pleasures in her role is taking literature into schools and a love of literature to the hearts of tomorrow’s talent, principally via the UNESCO Young Ambassador Scheme.

Several building maintenance and renovation plans are currently on the table and it is hoped that come 2018, Dragon Hall will have evolved into a National Centre for Writing. And what might that gains our fine city? Capitalising on its existing status, it is hoped the Centre will offer accommodation for writers and translators in residence from around the world, a meeting place for writers to network and find space and peace in which to read and compose. It will also house its own teaching spaces for children and young adults.

Alice spoke with such infectious enthusiasm we were sorry she could not stay longer. Phyllida gave the vote of thanks, including a request for Alice to return at some stage as the redevelopment continues to keep us updated.

Just as an aside: An update is just what the Writers’ Centre Norwich is having right now. We look forward to announcing and featuring more of the Circle’s events and competitions there too in the coming months.

If you’ve not yet entered the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition you may be thinking you’ve not given yourself time to develop your plot, you’ve not lost your chance to win. There is still until next month to get your entries in.  Deadlines: 17th July (Postal) & 31st (Email).

Click here for full guidelines.

Good Luck!

Norwich Writers' Circle

Inner Voice

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3rd May‘s turnout was affected by all sorts of factors, but those that did make it to the meeting had a very enjoyable, relaxing evening. Yes, there were fewer of us, but we still had much to exchange in way of thoughts and ideas.

Vice Chairman, Sean Hindle drawing on his psychotherapist training, got everyone paying mindful attention to their bodily senses. More precisely, this was an exercise in honing in on that personal, intuitive gut reaction we have to different situations. How does the body respond to: “Everything in my world is as it should be?” Does it flinch in disagreement or comfortably agree?

For some this was a warm-up, for others, an opportunity to chill out.

For Circle newcomer, Kathy had the biggest surprise – her very first poem. And she never knew she had it in her.

So, on to the speed dating itself. Half the fun is in the milling around. In pairs and threes we cross pollinated, nurtured further the odd cernel of an idea, and perhaps here and there fertilised a dormant plot that had stopped growing.

Entries for the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition are already coming in. But there’s no rush to the deadline. You’ve still time to read through, revise, edit and perfect.

Norwich Writers' Circle

Speed Dating

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3rd May: Returning this week by popular demand is the manuscript evening with a spin.

Bring along any work in progress or a short piece you’d like feedback on, or simply your ideas for a plot. We’ll begin with a brief workshop. Then, modelling the rest of the evening on the traditional speed dating procedure, attendees will be divided into two groups, one stationary, one in motion. You know how it goes.

Flash fiction, missile missives, stories on steroids. Frenzied fun and feedback.

Usual house rules re: door fees applies.

Just to remind you that the time to get working on your entry for this year’s Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition is NOW. Click here for more details and guidelines. But please, we ask, do not bring your entries Tuesday. We’d rather have no clues as to who is submitting what.

Norwich Writers' Circle

We Have Lift Off!

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Thank you to everyone who made the Launch Night of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition a success. One member who deserves a mention is Anne Funnel who kindly brought along her collection of porcelain Van-Dal shoes for our interest, including a large and decorative, shop window display piece.

With guests and presentations, food and drink aplenty we had ourselves what in old fashioned parlaLaunch2016ance could be described as “a gay old time”.

With Frances & Michael Holmes getting proceedings started with their “History of the Norwich Shoemaking Industry”, old times was the theme. A pity more of us didn’t attempt a verse or two of “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”, but to be fair the wine hadn’t yet started flowing.

Next up, a word or two on behalf of our sponsor, from Simon Goodman. Simon’s grandfather was one of the founders of Van-Dal Shoes. Simon is now retired but happily gives talLaunch2016bks about his family heritage. He was particularly appreciative of Norwich Writers’ Circle asking Van-Dal Shoes to sponsor this year’s open competition, since his mother was a biographer and member of the East Anglian Writers. In addition to regailing us with his stories, he also brought along his treasured and historic Chain of Office of the Norwich Footware Manufacturers’ Association.

It may not have escaped your notice that we have an additionalLaunch2016c page on this site: Unthank School. The School is the brainchild of last year’s adjudicator, Ashley Stokes. He too was there on Tuesday evening, announcing an EXCLUSIVE 15% DISCOUNT OFFER to Norwich Writers’ Circle members when enrolling on Unthank School courses. This is very generous of Ashley and we hope many members wanting to benefit from personalised tuition in their chosen genre will take it up.

And so lastly to this year’s competition. This year, best selling author Rachel Hore is adjudicating for us. Here for those who wanted to join us on the night but couldn’t, are Rachel’s extended guidelines. She will be looking for:-

  • A sense of narrative. The story needs to be going somewhere. Make your stories dramatised rather than described.
  • Good structure. No complex plotting. Instead use small shifts in perspective.
  • A feel for the characters – ordinary people made distinctive. Illuminate an aspect of their lives written in a fresh way.
  • Maybe a twist at the end.
  • Avoid cliches and make imaginative use of the “shoes” themeLaunch2016d

Happy writing one and all.