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The Results – 2017

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The results of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition are as follows:

Shortlisted winners (in no particular order):

  • Jan Harvey with Perfect Strangers (Oxfordshire)
  • Donna Tracy with @Crowstarver (Norwich)
  • Thomas Woodland with Strangers On A Train (Stratford-Upon-Avon)
  • Glenda Young with The Caller (Seaburn in Sunderland)
  • Clare Walsh with Breaking the Ice (Lancashire)
  • Iain Andrews with Babylon’s Falling (Norwich)
  • Alison C Wassell with The Comfort of Strangers (Merseyside)

The finalists were:

3rd Prize – Willian Brakes with I Never Go To The Seaside (Norfolk)
2nd Prize – Phillip Vine with The Thirteenth Station (Norfolk)
1st Prize – Bella D’arcy with A Shift in the Gallery (Essex)

Congratulations to all our winners!

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Norwich Writers' Circle

Don’t Be A Stranger To Your Voice

It’s official!  On Tuesday 18th April, we officially launched this year’s Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition.  We were joined by Ralph Jackman, our adjudicator, Frank Meeres, author of Strangers: A history of Norwich’s incomers, and Charles Wilde, marketing and development manager for Norfolk Museums Service, who have kindly agreed to assist us with the competition this year.

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First, Frank Meeres gave a fascinating talk on some of the mysterious and intriguing ‘incomers’ into Norwich.

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Then it was up to our adjudicator to offer advice to prospective entrants:

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“I’m afraid, that if you have come today to glean what it is that the adjudicator will be looking for, or what kind of writing I like, then I’m afraid I’m not going to be very helpful.  Because the answer is I like such a wide range of writing, just as I do with music … When something’s good, it’s good.  It stands out.  It captures the reader.  It lingers in the memory afterwards.  So I encourage everyone, whatever their style, to give it their best, no one can ask more, but also to have the courage to submit.”

– Ralph Jackman

Ralph went on to detail his take on the theme, what sorts of images or ideas it conjured for him:

“A brief google of ‘stranger’ led me to the following: A person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar; A person who does not know, or is not known in a particular place or community; A person entirely unaccustomed to a feeling experience of situation.  What a broad palette this allows us … The first thing that crossed my mind, is how we were all strangers once, even to those who love us the most, not just our partners,  but our mums and dads, our brothers and sisters, our best friends.

How do we move from stranger, to dear friend?  Is there something there, to be explored?

Then in the news, Prince Harry spoke of the need to speak about his grief “even to a total stranger” and I thought, what is it about strangers, that we can open up to them? Why is it, that we can share with them our deepest secrets or worst pain?

What other opportunities does meeting a stranger bring? A chance to start again? A chance to pretend, to assume a different persona.

People deliberately move, uproot their entire lives, in order to become a stranger, as a means to start again, to protect themselves from painful memories, or distance themselves from sins of the past.

So being a stranger can, on the one hand, feel lonely, isolated, even frightening.  But on the other hand, it can be desired, wanted, liberating.  Celebrities might seek to be a stranger, to escape the recognition, and they haven’t necessarily sinned … Then I thought how interesting it is, that even in the modern world, with the internet, mobile phones and the like, it’s still possible to be a stranger.  The mask of the internet allows people to hide who they really are.”

– Ralph Jackman

So in short, there is no secret formula that will pique the adjudicator’s interest.  The best way to set yourself above other entrants is to write the story you want to tell and tell it well.  The theme of ‘strangers’ allows for a variety of different interpretations and there are countless ways to explore it.

“I am open to all styles and all genres. 2000 words is not a large number, but it’s enough to change a reader’s life … This does not mean your stories must make the world a better place but perhaps it needs to have entertained, or been thought-provoking – something that makes it an experience … Don’t try to second-guess what I might like. Write a story that you want, in the manner that you want it to be told.  Ultimately, don’t be a stranger to your voice.”

– Ralph Jackman

With this in mind, we wish all entrants the best of luck!

For full details of the competition, including terms and conditions, please visit the competition page.

Remember if your entry wins, not only do you have the chance to win a cash prize, but also see your work in print in a future anthology.

The anthology containing the winning entries of the 2015 and 2016 competitions is available to buy at our meetings or online at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/various-authors/norwich-writers-circle-anthology-2017-stepping-out/paperback/product-23103350.html

Copies are £7 each plus postage (where applicable).

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The NWC would like to thank Frank Meeres for giving his talk, the Norfolk Museum Services for their generous offer of help – particularly Charles for coming to the gala and for his steadfast support.  Finally, we would like to thank Ralph Jackman for his enthusiasm and thoroughness, as well as for agreeing to be our adjudicator.

Norwich Writers' Circle

The Anthology Is Ready

We are pleased to announce that Stepping Out, our new anthology, is finally ready.  Anyone who filled in our interest form should be contacted shortly.

We can confirm the cost is £7.00 plus postage (where applicable).

Books will now be available to buy at our meetings.  Alternatively, you can order them online:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/various-authors/norwich-writers-circle-anthology-2017-stepping-out/paperback/product-23019691.html

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Norwich Writers' Circle

Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016 Anthology

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During the prize giving gala for the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016, not only did we announce the winners, but we also revealed our plans to release an anthology.

It will contain:

  • The winning entries of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016.
  • The shortlisted entries for the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016.
  • The winning entries of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Fiction Competition 2015.

The estimated price of the anthology is £7.

Copies will be available to order in time for Christmas.  Further updates will be posted on our website and Facebook page!

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!

Norwich Writers' Circle

Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition Gala

WordPress Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition Logo 2016The wait is over …

On Tuesday 18th October, we will be announcing the winners of the Olga Sinclair Short Story Competition at Anteros Arts Foundation.

To celebrate, a light buffet will be served, and a raffle with some fantastic prizes to be won will be held.

The doors open at 7pm with the main event kicking off at 7:30PM.  You are welcome to bring a guest with you.  The more the merrier!

A door fee of £5 for visitors, £3 for members applies.

We hope to 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

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

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.

Norwich Writers' Circle

19th April 2016

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Everyone is welcome to joins us on Tuesday 19th April when we will be launching our second Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition. This time our popular competition has the theme of shoes.

The launch will feature a whole handful of speakers, including Rachel Hore, who is judging this year’s entries.

Other speakers on the night will be local historians Michael & Frances Holmes, Ashley Stokes from Unthank Books, plus Simon Goodman from Van Dal Shoes, who are sponsoring the competition.

The evening starts at 7.30pm (doors open from 7.00pm) at Anteros Arts Foundation. Refreshments will also be provided.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.