Adjudication of ‘Blast From The Past’


Gary Booth, an English teacher for 35 years, was the adjudicator this time round and began by telling us that he was judging the twelve entries as a reader rather than a writer. In addition, he had focused on the quality of the writing rather than the aspect of history chosen and tried to minimise the influence of his personal interests. He preferred the pieces with a personal angle but considered them all worthy of publication.

Gary then turned to the individual entries in random order and gave comments on each. The winners were as follows:

1st ‘Musical Notation’ by Anna Greenwood: reflections on how this has allowed musicians to connect across the centuries

2nd ‘A Most Remarkable Woman’ by Joe Peters:a potted biography of 19th century Dutch woman Jeanne Merkus

3rd ‘The Wonder of Woolworths’ by Maggie Cobbett: an account of a teenage schoolgirl’s Saturday job

Anna wasn’t present to receive the trophy, but Joe and Maggie are pictured above with Gary. Jan Maltby thanked Gary for an outstanding adjudication and presented him with a token of appreciation from the Group.

Cathy on the radio!

Our very own Cathy Grimmer has taken part in an episode of ‘The Kitchen Cabinet’ on Radio 4. It’s available for the next 28 days at

Adjudication of the Poetry Competition


We were delighted to welcome York based poet Alan Gillott, joint proprietor of Stairwell Books small press and co-host of The Spoken Word, as our adjudicator.

Alan began by making some general points about what makes a good poem and recommended testing its effectiveness by reading it out loud. Rhythm is important. Rhymes, if used, stand out and should, therefore, always be intentional. A word with more than one meaning depending on how it is pronounced – he gave ‘bow’ as an example – can cause confusion in the mind of the reader. Alan also heavily discouraged the use of similes.

There were more than a dozen entries to the competition this time around and Alan commented on each poem individually before announcing the results. With so many different themes and styles to choose from, his task had been a difficult one, but he awarded the trophy to Cathy Grimmer for Kazakhstan Wedding, a colourful and moving account of a stolen bride’s forced transition from childhood to womanhood. Caroline Slator took second place with He’s Gone and David McAndrew came third with Golden Wedding.

There was time to listen to all the entries before we broke for refreshments, after which Alan was invited to read a selection of his own poems and Jan expressed thanks from the Chair on behalf of the Group.

Christmas Event 2014

Members and guests sat down to a three course meal in The Old Deanery, with plenty of fun and games to occupy us in between courses.
Joe presented the President’s Cup to Susan Perkins and said that the result had been a close one this year with Cathy and Caroline not far behind.
We scratched our heads over the Chair’s Christmas Challenge.
Members had been asked to compose Christmas limericks or other poems to suit the occasion.
A ‘Who Am I’ game caused considerable hilarity. The ‘volunteers’ in the masks did eventually work out who they were supposed to be – Charlie Chaplin, Carmen Miranda, David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Clint Eastwood …

The proceedings ended with a rousing chorus of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ and everyone having a dip into Santa’s sack.

For more photographs, see below. Apologies for the quality, but lighting conditions weren’t ideal for Admin’s camera phone!

2014 Annual General Meeting

The AGM was well attended. Cathy reported that finances were healthy and her recommendation of a reduction in the annual subscription was accepted. Retiring Chairman Audrey gave a short report reviewing a successful past year and Jan, elected to take her place, expressed the Group’s thanks to Audrey for her service in various offices over the past twelve years. Peter H succeeds Jan as Vice Chairman and the rest of the committee remains unchanged. A number of suggestions for meeting themes was put forward to assist the incoming committee in preparing a programme for the coming year.

A lucky win for TWO of our members!

Hearth Gladstone Library with Maggie

Cathy won a free weekend at the ‘Hearth’ micro literary festival at Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden and took lucky Maggie along as her ‘plus one’.

Hearth Cathy with James Runcie

The writers in residence were James Runcie (seen above with Cathy), whose series of novels about a vicar turned sleuth in Grantchester has now been turned into a television drama screened on Monday evenings, radio, TV and screen dramatist Lucy Gough and novelists Rebecca Abrams and Patricia Bracewell.

Hearth hearth

As well as enjoying the more formal events, both ladies were more than happy to sit round the eponymous hearth with glasses of wine in their hands and take part in the discussions.

For more information about their weekend, take a look at or Maggie’s website. Future ‘Hearth’ events will be posted on

Literary Allsorts 2014


Our annual ‘open mic’ event was once again held at the Golden Lion, Allhallowgate and we were happy to welcome guests from Harrogate, Nidderdale and York. Between them, they treated the audience to poetry, prose, fiction and non-fiction, story telling and ‘performance’ pieces. Some read from their own published work and others from ‘work in progress’, including a blood curdling story written as late as that afternoon!


The readers, in the order in which they signed in at the start of the evening, were Peter Page, Richard Cobbett, Daphne Peters, Joe Peters, Nick David, Cathy Grimmer, Alan Gillott, Carol Mayer, Sheila Whitfield, Sue Hardy-Dawson, Jan Maltby, Paul Zealand, Claire Cox, Maggie Cobbett, Caroline Slator, Anna Greenwood and Kathleen Atkinson.


Earnest discussions took place during the interval and then time permitted more readings and a second slot from a few of the above.

Unfortunately lighting problems led to some photographs not turning out well and we do apologise to anyone who appears to have been left out. Their contributions to the evening were, of course, just as highly valued as the rest.

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Our friendly group meets once a fortnight in the Old Deanery on Minstergate, opposite Ripon Cathedral and is always open to new members from the Ripon area and beyond. Whether your interest is in poetry or prose, novels, short stories, plays, wacky humour, a more analytical style of writing, or just listening for the time being, you're very welcome.

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