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.

Artistic Licence Competition

Graham Chalmers

Graham Chalmers, Weekend Editor of the Ripon Gazette and its sister papers, adjudicated for us for the first time. After giving considerable insight into his journalistic background and approach to judging, he provided valuable feedback on each of the twelve entries.

The winner of the competition was Lindsay Trenholme with ‘The Rose of York’, an imaginative story with a background of intrigue at the court of Henry VII. Peter Page’s ‘The Art Show’, inspired by visits to a couple of local shows and the nursery rhyme ‘Little Miss Muffet’, came second. Eileen Walters was third with ‘Portrait of a Tree’, the tree in question being one which meant a great deal more to her than to the neighbour who owned it.

Graham also commended Susan Perkins for ‘My Enlightenment’ and Cathy Grimmer for ‘A Fair Bargain’.

Following the presentation of the trophy, all five of the above members read out their entries.

A talk on Wilfrid Owen

Roger Kendall

We were delighted to be given the opportunity to share Dr Roger Kendall’s insights into the short life of Wilfrid Owen; in particular the months he spent in Ripon in 1918, where he celebrated his 25th and final birthday. Whilst based at the nearby army camp, the young poet rented a room in a cottage in Borrage Lane and took advantage of its quiet location to write many of his best known works. These included A Tear Song, School Mistress, Arms and the Boy, Futility, Mental Cases and The Send-off, all of which Roger read to us, making frequent reference to local sources of information that he had discovered during the course of his research.

The question and answer session which followed Roger’s talk provoked a lively discussion. Topics covered included the influence of Siegfried Sassoon, Owen’s relationship with his Welsh mother and the fact that most of his poems were published after his death. We could only speculate sadly on what might have been achieved if Wilfrid Owen had not been killed just one week before the Armistice.

Swanwick 2014


The annual summer school known affectionately to writers all over the world just as ‘Swanwick’, the Derbyshire village which is home to The Hayes Conference Centre, has attracted many of our members during its 66 years. To discover why, click on the link to the right.

Swanwick lake

Cathy Grimmer and Maggie Cobbett, regular attenders, always opt for rooms in Lakeside – and yes, there really is a lake – and aim to make the most of the literary, networking and social opportunities on offer.

Swanwick prizewinners by Bruce

Maggie was happy to be once again amongst the prizewinners, but this was definitely Cathy’s year.

Swanwick Cathy singing

Not only did she sing beautifully at Buskers’ Night…

Swanwick Cathy's play

… and perform so well in her own play Requiem that she was voted Best Actress, but she has also been elected onto next year’s Swanwick committee. Well done, Cathy! You did us proud.

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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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