Norwich Writers' Circle

The Results Are In!

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On Tuesday 18th October, we were pleased to announce the winners of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016.   There was a huge turnout to the gala where we had five of the ten shortlisted entrants with us.

Before we announce the winners, the NWC would like to take a moment to thank everyone who entered the competition.  It certainly wasn’t easy for Rachel Hore, our adjudicator, to pick just ten stories from the 139 entries we received.  It was even harder for her to pick the three winners.

Now, without further ado, the winners of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition  2016 were:

 

The Winners:

1st Place:  Mary Outram from Headingley, Leeds.
Story Title: Boots
A contemporary tale of aid workers in Iraq.

2nd Place: Sarah Evans from Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
Story Title: Clatter of Love
A social tale of separation and a tug of love.

3rd Place: Mickie Dann from Norwich.
Story Title:  Save Your Soul
A story inspired by meeting a refugee while on holiday in Italy.  Mickie is a long-time member of Norwich Writers’ Circle.

The runners up (in no particular order):

Jonathan Bowman from Coltishall, Norfolk.
Story Title: The Rawi.

Anne Pearce from Attleborough.
Story Title:  The Creative Writing Class

Sue Ryder Richardson from Framlingham, Suffolk.
Story Title:  Twisted Feet

Bridget Bowen from Beccles, Suffolk.
Story Title:  The Last Dance.

Sarah Isaac from Perthshire, Scotland.
Story Tile:  Souterrain.

Judith Drazin from Bristol.
Story Title:  The Reunion.

Sandy Norris from Malden in Essex.
Story Title:  New Shoes

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Runners-up Jonathan Bowman, Sue Ryder Richardson, Anner Pearce and Bridget Bowen, with 3rd place winner Micki Dann, Adjudicator Rachel Hore and Jason Larke from Van Dal Shoes.

 

Why did Rachel choose these particular stories?  In her own words:

“The stories I recruited for the shortlist were usually ones that engaged me from the first paragraph or even the first line.  Where I was quickly drawn into the character’s world and made to care what happened to them.  Even the lighter tales among them I chose because between the lines of entertaining narrative the offered truth; some striking observations of, or a slant of human behaviour.”

The NWC would like to congratulate the winners!  Your entries were memorable, expertly crafted tales.  It is easy to see why they were the pick of the bunch.

If anyone is interested in reading any of these amazing stories, we are going to be producing an anthology which will contain all of the shortlisted stories of 2016 plus the top three of 2015.  It will be released mid-November with an estimated price of £7.  If you are interested in buying a copy, keep your eyes on this website and our Facebook page for updates.

Finally, the NWC would like to thank everyone who attended the prize giving.  It was wonderful to see you.

We would also like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Rachel for all her hard work and excellent adjudication.  Given the high caliber of the entries, we know it wasn’t easy!

If you didn’t win, don’t worry; we will be hosting another competition next year.  The theme will be ‘Strangers’.  Once again, keep an eye on this website and Facebook for details.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 1st November.  Sheridan Winn, author of the Sprite Sister books, will be joining us to help us launch our second competition of the season, The Colin Sutton Cup for Humour.  We hope to see you there!

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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

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

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

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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

One Year On

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7th June:  It is now a whole year since the Writers’ Centre Norwich relocated to Dragon Hall. Marking the anniversary with us will be the Centre’s Director of Communication, Alice Kent. Alice will be sharing the year’s highlights and giving an insight into forthcoming plans.

WCN is now well established addition to the East Anglian literature scene, offering lots of excellent workshops and more.

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

Everyone’s A Winner!

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At the meeting of Norwich Writers’ Circle on 17th May we received the adjudication of entries for the Past Search Trophy for Non-Fiction, as sponsored by writer and NWC member Gill Blanchard.

Local writer, historian and former Sheriff, Nick Williams had taken time to read and carefully analyse the 2,000 word essays, proposing people, places or events that deserve a coveted Blue Plaque in Norwich.  In his opening remarks, Nick said: “These competition entries have been a pleasure to mark and I am impressed by the high standard of both research and writing.”

’He went on to give feedback to each writer. The wide variety of topics included Gurney Court, Robert Watts, a former Lord Mayor, New Mills, Jenny Lind and Lawrence Scott.  And then the moment we were all waiting for.  The winners!

Joint 1st

Andrew Heron on Jenny Lind, popular Swedish opera singer and philanthropist who gave her first concert in Norwich in 1847. The Children’s Department at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital is named in her memory.

Mickie Dann on Robert Watts, 18th century notorious murderer and the last man to be executed in Norwich on the actual site of his crime.

3rd place

Barré Funnell on New Mills Yard on the River Wensum, now a neglected landmark in the city, yet with a rich history since 1430 of grinding corn and supplying water.

Highly commended

Iain Andrews on Gurney Court.

Phyllida Scrivens on Joyce Morgan, Lord Mayor of Norwich 1975-6

Paul Taylor on Laurence, Scott and Electromotors

As is our tradition, each entry was read aloud with members and visitors agreeing how much we had all learnt about our city. Sponsor Gill Blanchard endorsed the adjudicator’s comments about the evidence of research and resulting narratives.  Chairman Phyllida thanked Nick Williams for his endeavours and invaluable feedback before the meeting enjoyed refreshments and conversation.

Norwich Writers' Circle

Marks For The Plaques

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17th May: Nick Williams’ return for his adjudication of the entries to this year’s Past Search Competition.

This competition is for  non-fiction  with an historical theme, sponsored by Gill Blachard’s Past Search business. The task this time was to suggest a new 40th blue plaque for the city.

Nick is the award winning author of Strangers – A History of Norwich’s Incomers,  and others published by the Norwich Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust.

Never mind how major or minor the subject commemorated, so long as your explanation as to why he, she or it warrants recognition is well given within 1000 words, your entry stands every chance of winning. Presentation of the prize will take place at the forthcoming AGM, along with other awards won throughout the programme.

Please don’t forget the £400 cash & £100 Van-Dal gift voucher top prize and others to be had by winning the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition. Click here for more details.

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.