Norwich Writers' Circle

Reading Up A Storm

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On Tuesday 16th May we welcomed Robert Welton, librarian of the Jane Austen College.

Robert regaled us with the journey that led him where he was today – how he started in Borders as a children’s specialist book seller.  He was the first ever national children’s book seller.  When Borders closed down, Robert moved to Jarrolds and became part of their events management team, working specifically with children and  schools.  He was later head-hunted for the job of librarian at Jane Austen College following a chance encounter with the head teacher.

He then moved on to discussing something very important: getting children and young adults to read.  Just how do you accomplish such a task?

Robert explained that at Jane Austen College, students are encouraged to be the best they be, whether that is going to university or working in a pub.  With this in mind, Robert explained that it is far more important that children are reading rather than what they are reading.

“We have this thing where if they don’t want to read a novel, if they want to read the sports page, if they want to read the Beano, The Dandy, Empire Magazine … if they’re reading the back of a cereal packet every morning, they’re reading something.  It doesn’t matter what they’re reading, as long as they’re enjoying it.”

– Robert Welton

Robert went on to explain that they have form periods and thirty minutes of that is dedicated to reading.  Students can bring in anything they want and read it – no matter what it is.

“Too many schools have this ‘you will read this and you will enjoy it!’. And what’s the best way to put children off reading?  By forcing them to do it …  If you keep pushing children to read, they won’t do it.”

– Robert Welton

The evening was capped off with some excellent book recommendations and a slight tangent on the importance of not relying on wikipedia for information.

Overall, everyone greatly enjoyed Robert’s talk.  For most, the reading bug caught us young, so it is fantastic to know that there is at least one person out there still working hard to create a new generation of readers.

The NWC would like to thank Robert for his informative talk.  Also, a special thanks to everyone who joined us, either as a guest of a member.

We hope to see you again soon!

 

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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

AGM16b
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

End Of Season

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5th July:  Yes it’s that time again, your Annual General Meeting. As is policy on these occasions there will be no door fee to pay. Nevertheless you may still like to bring some spending money along for additional raffle prizes. Just as we did for the Summer Social, tickets we be available at £1 a ticket and £2 a strip.

The AGM is your opportunity to help make that improvement you’ve been wanting to see in how well the Circle works for you. Be it your thoughts, your ideas, or practical help in running events, without you there would be no Norwich Writers’ Circle.

Following the reports and general business we end each year with the in-house competition prize givings. Those of you who’ve been long-term supporters and members will know that we have two regular competitions that leap frog one another; one year we’ve the Ivy Ferrari Cup (for Romantic Fiction) and the next, the Cooper Prize (for an adventure or thriller with a strong male protagonist). This year it was the latter.

Originally the Cooper Memorial Award, just like the Ivy Ferrari, it was named after a former member.  But which one? Curiously, early records show that in 1946 the Circle had a librarian called Mr Cooper and a Mr A E Cooper as secretary. What we have here is the kernel of a home-grown thriller. Who can shed light on this mystery fellow?

Those of you who’ve added your name to the booking list for the supper afterwards may have information to share.

See you there.

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

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

WordPress Mindfulness

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

WordPress Speed Dating

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

Different Perspectives

WordPress Benjamin Scott Author

Tuesday March 1st:  Hosted by children’s author and creative writing tutor, Benjamin Scott aka Max Chase, members are looking forward to another entertaining workshop. This Tuesday is Benjamin’s return visit, and he is all set with a series of exercises sure to inspire and unleash our hidden potential. We all know how good it is to experiment and succeed in genres we might not otherwise try.

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

Norwich Writers' Circle

Escaping Hitler

WordPress Phyllida Scrivens Escaping Hitler Cover

Exciting news about another member in the spotlight. This time it’s Phyllida Scrivens, our recently elected chairman with her biography of Joe Stirling. Escaping Hitler: A Jewish Boy’s Quest for Freedom and His Future has its official launch event at Jarrolds Department Store in the centre of Norwich on Thursday 4th February from 6.00pm.  Both the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff will be attendance.  I will be making a brief presentation on Joe’s life and how the book came about, followed by a Question and Answer session with both Phyllida and Joe.  A book signing will follow.

Tickets are on sale NOW! They can be purchased both in Store from Customers Enquiries on Floor 2, and from the Events page on Jarrolds website. A glass of wine is included.
Phyllida wants to be sure that everyone who has either helped with the creation of the book or has shown an interest has an opportunity to come along.  “It would be lovely to see you there to share our big moment!” she says.
Here is the link to the online events shop: http://www.jarrold.co.uk/events-diary/events-list