Norwich Writers' Circle

Nick Williams Reveals Research Techniques

WordPress Nick Williams March 2016

On Tuesday 15th March, Norwich historian and writer Nick Williams gave a presentation to Norwich Writers Circle, detailing his research techniques whilst preparing a number of publications. These included a series of heritage walks, The Blue Plaques of Norwich, a Guide to Rosary Cemetery and Trades and Industries of Norwich. A former Volunteer Co-ordinator for the recently disbanded Norwich Heritage Economic And Regeneration Trust (HEART), Nick still retains a strong interest in local history and is currently preparing a further book.

In an entertaining and informative talk, Nick stressed the benefits of using local archives, including Norfolk Record Office, Norfolk Heritage Centre and the Archant archives. Nick spoke of the importance of having a plan, close editing and the value of a comprehensive index. Members listened attentively, listening for tips to improve their chances of success in the annual non-fiction competition, the Past Search Trophy, sponsored by Gill Blanchard.

Nick will adjudicate the competition at our meeting on 17th May. Entries must be a narrative of no more than 1,000 words, detailing and justifying the writers’ choice of a person, place or event that deserves a Blue Plaque in Norwich, because of the part played in the history of the city. Nick will be looking for evidence of research, conclusions clearly based on research and whether such a plaque would grab the attention of a passer-by. Sources should be listed at the foot of the document (in addition to the maximum word count). Deadline for entries is 19th April. For full details of how to enter our competitions please click the Competition tab. Members can enter for free; non-members are welcome for a  fee. One entry only per person.


Writing Your Family History Course

Saturdays 10th October, 31st October and 14th November 2015
10.15am to 3.45pm

Cost £65 (Total)

At Norwich Quaker Meeting House
5 Upper Goat Lane, Norwich, NR2 1EW

Tutor Gill Blanchard
Author of Writing Your Family History (and other books), Professional Genealogist and Tutor

Three progressive and practical workshops guiding participants through the different phases of writing and developing a family history. Each workshop includes writing exercises, feedback, discussion and readings. The course includes one to one feedback from the tutor.

For more information and to book contact Gill Blanchard, Office 14, Meadow View House, 191 Queens Road, Norwich. NR1 3PP. Tel: 01603 610619. Email: Web:

Cheques made payable to Gill Blanchard or via PayPal account

10th October Part One
Starting out and expanding your family history biography
Please bring a family history related object with you to the first workshop.
• Developing a writing style
• Format and what to include.
• How to stop researching and start writing.
• Introduction to adding social, geographical and local history context.
• Writing exercises and feedback.
31st October Part Two
Developing your writing further and bringing the past to life
• Bringing the past to life with local and social history resources.
• Dealing with family stories, missing pieces and anomalies.
• Writing exercises and feedback.
14th November Part Three
Publishing, layout and production
Review of progress
• What type of family history?
• Printing and publishing.
• Editing and layout.
• Reviewing, feedback and sharing written work.