It was almost all change this evening. After nine years on the Committee – three as Secretary, three as Vice Chair and three as Chair, Maggie Cobbett gave her final report and retreated gratefully to the back benches.
Joe Peters took over as President, leaving Audrey Blackburn free to take the Chair. Jan Maltby was elected Vice Chair and replaced as Secretary by Peter Page. Cathy Grimmer will continue as Treasurer and Susan Perkins will act as Members’ Member.
The formal business of the evening concluded, a lively discussion ensued about what members would like to see on next year’s programme. Watch this space!
The feature below forms part of the WRITERS’ ROUND-UP page of the December 2013 issue of Writing Magazine/Writers’ News. (Formerly two separate publications, WM and WN are now stapled together.)
One of Maggie’s last acts as Chair was to accept an invitation to drive over to Pateley Bridge and speak to this flourishing group, some of whose members joined us in June for our Literary Allsorts evening.
There was a wonderful array of refreshments on offer, but – and this will come as no surprise to those who know her best – Maggie had so much to say that she didn’t manage to eat any of it and even let her coffee go cold!
The return visit of Louise Cole from White Rose Media had been eagerly anticipated and the eighteen members present were certainly not disappointed. Louise, speaking without notes, gave us a very lively talk on the nature of self publishing in 2013 and why writers shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. Some may wish to do so only for limited distribution amongst family members and friends; others hope for a much wider circulation. Pockets of snobbery undoubtedly remain, particularly among some well established authors who fear that their own sales might be affected, but the stigma has largely disappeared. Having said that, there’s no excuse for shoddy work. Drafting, redrafting, editing and critiquing all play a valuable role. These are very important criteria for publishing via Firedance Books, the writers’ co-operative of which Louise is a leading member. Much more information about that initiative can be found at www.firedancebooks.com.
Louise encouraged questions throughout her talk, including during the ‘break’ for refreshments. Such was the enthusiasm that we could have continued for another hour at least. Amongst other things, members were keen to learn about formatting, the difference between Amazon Kindle and Smashwords and the pros and cons of print on demand through an organisation such as CreateSpace. Louise also suggested that we might work together to showcase our work in the form of a regular blog such as WriterLot (www.writerlot.net) or maybe an anthology of members’ fiction.
Unfortunately, time caught up with us, but Louise declared herself willing to answer any email queries and has also supplied the Chair with a list of relevant contacts and websites to be circulated amongst the membership.
As well as leaving us with plenty of food for thought, Louise had brought along a selection of Firedance bookmarks for distribution, a publicity tool well worth bearing in mind for the future! Self publishing a book is relatively simple these days. Expanding one’s readership beyond the immediate circle of family and friends is the hard part!
Our adjudicator this time round was actor, writer and director Nobby Dimon. Particularly well known for his involvement with North Country Theatre, the company he founded and set up in the 1990s, Nobby was able to give us a fresh perspective on the spinning of a convincing yarn. He had obviously put a great deal of time and thought into his comments on each story and these, together with some interesting insights into his own work, were very much appreciated.
Unfortunately, Susan Perkins wasn’t with us this evening, so Nobby was unable to present her with the trophy. We shall look forward to handing it over and hearing her winning entry, A Local Love Story Or Tragedy on another occasion. In second place was Joe Peters with 69 Toulouse Avenue, based on his recollections of a Cockney landlady and her strange household, and Lindsay Trenholme’s In Technicolour came third.
We caught up with Susan at the next meeting and very much enjoyed her winning story.
For some of us, the countdown to ‘Swanwick’ begins when the last one ends. This year saw the 65th anniversary of the Writers’ Summer School at The Hayes Conference Centre in the Derbyshire village of Swanwick and Cathy and Maggie (captured above by talented photographer and fellow Swanwicker L.Fox Thomas) were there to enjoy it along with writers from all over the UK and many from further afield.
‘Swanwick’ really does have something for every writer and it is hoped that RWG will be represented there again in 2014.
This year’s programme notes will give you a fair idea of what went on this year, but there were lots of informal sessions in between the official ones.
Today is our turn to be featured on the Club Focus page of the Ripon Gazette and all its sister newspapers. The limitations of an A4 scanner have made it necessary to upload the article written by Daphne and Maggie in two sections.
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