Member Successes, Uncategorized

Glowing Reviews for Gill Blanchard

Member Gill Blanchard has received amazing reviews for her book ‘Tracing Your House History’, which was published  19th July 2017. Well done Gill!

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‘This book has been thoroughly researched and presented; and I believe it should be considered the book for those researching houses or a One-Place Study. It was a true delight to read and review.’

– FFHS

 

‘Among the most comprehensive books on tracing house history, packing a great deal of information into just over 200 pages. A complete guide to house history.’

– Your Family Tree

 

‘I was particularly impressed by the great detail the author goes into with each source and how she explains some of the mystifying terms used in old documents. Highlighting the relevant websites as you progress through each chapter is another useful tool, and the ‘Finding…’ part at the end of each section is a great idea, as it can help you hunt down sources with ease. Gill’s text is not only easy to follow for beginners, but also contains up-to-date information for more experienced researchers. It may inspire those who think they have exhausted all records on a particular house to pick up their notes and try again.’

– WDYTYA Magazine

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

A Talk to Go Down in History

On Tuesday 19th March we welcomed the award winning historical fiction writer Rory Clements to talk to use about his books, his writing process, and what led him to write historical fiction.

 

When asked whether he considers himself to be a historian or a novelist first, Rory commented:

“I’m definitely a novelist first. I’m no a historian. I didn’t go to university, I didn’t study history. But I’m very widely read – I read huge amounts of history and when I fix on a subject – say like the Babington plot, I’m probably one of the worlds experts for a few months on that subject and then I forget it all … But I do a lot of research, I do take it very seriously trying to get the historical background as close as I can to what I think it is.”

Clements explained that he had been inspired to write by his uncle, who ran away at a young age to become a sailor. He wrote many books about his adventures, which made Clements want to be an author.

He started out as a journalist, but soon moved on. During this time he read extensively, which helped him become the writer he is today.

Clements went on to talk more about historical fiction:

“Historical fiction vs history … I went to Oxford University to argue with a lot of historians who were sort of knocking down historical fiction. I think it has a real place in out life. I think we fill in the skeleton. History is a skeleton. There’s a lot missing from it … the fiction writer can fill that in and hopefully bring history to a lot more people in that way.”

After answering a variety of questions form the group, Clements has some excellent advice to offer anyone thinking of writing historical fiction:

What you’re trying to find first and foremost if you’re writing about a time long ago is you’ve got to find a voice …  you can’t write in  Elizabethan English you can’t write in Shakespearean English, because nobody would read it. They simply wouldn’t. Nor can you write in twentieth century English slang. You have to find something in the in-between… you don’t want it jarring to the reader.

The NWC would like to thank Rory Clements for his frank and open advice and intriguing stories. We’d also like to thank everyone who attended and had plenty of questions to ask.

 

 

 

 

 

Member Successes

Congratulations To Gill!

cover.jpgNWC member Gill Blachard has recently had not one but TWO books published.

First is I Therefore Post Him as a Coward: An anatomy of a Norfolk scandal, which documents a disagreement between a clergyman and a knight in 1836 and how it affected the small Norfolk town it took place in

Next is Lawson Lies Still in the Thames: The Extraordinary Life of Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson, which details extraordinary life of John Lawson.

Both books are available for purchase.

Well done Gill!

 

Norwich Writers' Circle

E-Course In Writing Your Family History

WordPress Gill Blanchard Portrait

Gill Blanchard, one of our members, and owner of Past Search, is repeating the first module of her E-Course in Writing Your Family History in May 2017.

It is a practical writing course that guides participants through the process of bringing their ancestors to life in an entertaining manner. It will enable students to choose the most suitable format, decide what to include (and exclude) and how to find and integrate relevant background context.

The course consists of two ten week modules, although module one can be taken as a stand alone unit. Lessons are delivered electronically. Students receive individually tailored in-depth feedback; have regular live discussions with the tutor and each other and access to an online learning hub.

Module One starts 13th May 2017. 10 Weeks. £125

  • Starting Out
  • Expanding a Family History Biography
  • Bringing your Family History to Life – Building Background Material
  • Developing a Family History Further
  • Introduction to Publishing, Layout and Production

For more details, please contact Gill:

gill@writingyourfamilyhistory.co.uk

Or see the website at: www.writingyourfamilyhistory.co.uk

About Gill:

Gill is a historical biographer and writer, professional genealogist and qualified tutor. She has had three books published, including Writing Your Family History (Pen and Sword). Forthcoming books include a local history based around an 1836 scandal and a biography of Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson (1615-1665). She writes regularly for national family history magazines and  holds an MA in Biography.  She also regularly undertakes commissions to write and produce family and house histories for clients.

Writing Your Family History is part of the Past Search historical research business run by Gill Blanchard. See: www.pastsearch.co.uk

Author of Writing Your Family History: A Guide for Genealogists, BA, MA, Post Grad. Cert. Ed. (Adults).

 

 

 

 

Past Search Family, House and Local History Research and Tuition

Office 14 Meadow View House

191 Queens Road Norwich NR1 3PP

Tel: 01603 610619

E-Courses email: gill@writingyourfamilyhistory.co.uk

Work email: gblanchard@pastsearch.co.uk

Her forthcoming biography of Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson can be ordered at: http://tinyurl.com/hak7o49

Sign up for Gill’s email newsletter at: news@pastsearch.co.uk

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GillBlanchard

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/laqzoc7

 

Norwich Writers' Circle

Ghost Stories

WordPress James Dimelow Norwich Evening News Eastern Daily Press 180816

Congratulations to Norwich Writers’ Circle member James Dimelow, who can be seen in Thursday 18th August’s Evening News and Eastern Daily Press ‘Event’ section.

In the article James is discussing his forthcoming ‘Ghosts Of Gressenhall‘ play. The family-friendly half-hour drama, which has been written on behalf of Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse, is an extension of the museum’s recently revamped ‘Voices From The Workhouse’ exhibition.

It is hoped that James’ play will be performed at the national heritage centre before the end of 2017.

In addition to the above, the NWC member shall also be featured in EDP Norfolk magazine. The popular publication shall be highlighting the playwright’s ‘Ghosts’ project in its September 2016 edition.

For more information please visit James’ website at newplays.org.uk, or alternatively follow him on Facebook.

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

Everyone’s A Winner!

WordPress Nick Williams May 2016

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

WordPress Nick Williams March 2016

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

Feeling Animated

WordPress Gressenhall Farm And Workhouse Museum Of Norfolk Life

Norwich Writers’ Circle member James Dimelow is looking for an animator – or a group of animators – to work with on an exciting local history project for Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse and Norfolk Museums Service.

To discover more about the animation(s), tentatively titled ‘Ghosts Of Gressenhall’, please go here.

We wish James every success on his search. The playwright can contacted via his website, or alternatively via Facebook and Twitter.

Norwich Writers' Circle

We Have Lift Off!

WordPress Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition Logo 2016

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.