The President’s Cup being temporarily unavailable, Peter presented Sheila – the clear winner – with the next best thing. Watch this space for an update!
Members also enjoyed Christmas readings, a quiz, a dip into the Secret Santa basket and some delicious cake (thank you, Ella) to go with their teas and coffees.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!
PS Sheila did receive the actual President’s Cup from Peter at the earliest opportunity.
Our adjudicator, Anne Carrick, began by saying that she had enjoyed all the pieces and that one had even taken her back to her misspent youth in Northumberland. She went on to suggest that her credentials to act as an adjudicator rested on her experience as a critical reader. What she was looking for was something that had a striking beginning and an ending that rounded things off. She reminded us that every word must count and that proofreading before submission was essential. The need to consider the target audience, be it academics, newspaper readers or whatever, was also important.
Anne concluded her introductory remarks by saying that she had found a strong streak of feminism in many of the stories. She then went on to give her thoughts on each of the ten entries. Finally she announced the winners in reverse order as follows:
• 3rd place – ‘A Show of Hands’ – Sheila Whitfield
• 2nd place – ‘Dancing Feet’ – Maggie Cobbett
• 1st place – ‘A Picture Telling Many Stories’ – Phil Cook
Anne presented the trophy and this was followed by Phil reading his winning entry. It concerned the pleasure he had got from a print, bought for £5 at a boot sale, showing a Vienna streetscape painted by Herta Czoernig (1886-1970) above a few bars of Beethoven’s Appassionata Piano Sonata.
Maggie then read ‘Dancing Feet’, which explained how one look at a professional ballerina’s feet, scarred by her years en pointe, had killed any childhood notion of following suit. She had gone on to explore other dance genres, though, finishing with a love of salsa.
Sheila, inspired by the Group’s 2019 outing to Littlethorpe Potteries, had begun with the importance of hands to the work of the potter and continued into a reflection on the complexity and dexterity of hands in general and their place in both art and culture. She then read Malcolm Glasby’s entry, ‘A Personal Collection’, which described some of the artists from whom he had purchased original work and also the role of his wife Margaret’s own work in their art collection.
Finally Joe Peters read his entry ‘The Sound of Music’ which described how he came to be interested in and active in the world of folk dance – in particular Scottish, Irish and Dutch – and song, meeting Daphne at Scottish Country Dancing when living in The Hague. Today he finds watching Morris Dance very moving while he and Daphne have a large collection of traditional and folk dance music.
Malcolm and Phil are both retiring from the Group and Maggie paid tribute to the great contribution that both have made over the many years of their membership.
Finally, Maggie thanked Anne Carrick for her very positive and thorough adjudication and presented her with a token of the Group’s appreciation.
Some changes to the Group’s constitution were approved, relating mainly to the committee structure.
After three years in the post, Sheila Whitfield stood down from the Chairmanship and was thanked for her services. Maggie Cobbett was elected as the new Chairman with Caroline Slator continuing as Treasurer and Peter Page as Secretary. Janet Barclay, Carol Mayer, Susan Perkins and Christine Summers complete the new committee. Peter Hicks will be President.
The committee will meet soon to begin drawing up a programme for 2020. Watch this space!
This has been quite a week for Carol and Kate (see posts below), culminating in the launches of their new collections.
A packed room very much enjoyed the readings from all three poets. Hazel Cameron isn’t a member of our group YET, but would be very welcome to join us!
RWG made a very good showing in this year’s Anthology with Lindsay Trenholme winning first prize for ‘Bottled Ocean’and seven other members – Carol Mayer, Christine Summers, Ian Gouge, Kate Swann, Maggie Cobbett, Susan Perkins and Sheila Whitfield – also having one or more of their poems included.
Also pictured are the indefatigable Andy Croft and Sarah Moor, who seem to have been omnipresent throughout the Festival. We’re very grateful to them and to their colleague Philip Trewhitt for all their hard work as well as to Simon from the Little Ripon Bookshop for manning the stall at many events.
Unfortunately Susan was unable to attend this event, so we’ll look forward to hearing her poems on a future occasion.
There was a good audience turnout for this event, with short talks on different wines and cheeses interspersed by poetry and song.
It was unfortunate that the original positioning of the festival banners was beyond the reach of the sole microphone, but they were moved part way through the evening to give a better background to performers.
Participants from RWG were Sheila Whitfield, Carol Mayer, Daphne Peters, Maggie Cobbett, Ian Gouge, Kate Swann and Christine Summers – who performed with her husband Dylan. An enterprising gentleman from their table was able to improvise a microphone stand for them! Audience member Lizzy Goddard also read one of her poems. The photographs below show the performers in the same order as above.
Anne Powell began her adjudication by giving some background to the trophy presented to the Group by her mother. She went on to say that she had enjoyed the eleven entries, which had covered such a wide range of topics – including eco issues, murder and geriatric drug dealing – that it had been difficult to make a judgement.
After presenting her comments on the individual entries Anne announced the results as follows:
• Winner – Susan Perkins with ‘Brief Notes on the First Week of a Very Big Undertaking’
• Runner-up – Christine Summers with ‘Parenthood’
Anne presented Susan with the trophy. The entries were then read in the following order:
• Susan – ‘Brief Notes on the First Week of a Very Big Undertaking’ – a retelling of the Genesis Creation story
• Christine – ‘Parenthood’ – a young woman mourns the loss of a baby whose heart had stopped beating several days earlier
• Caroline – ‘Stop the World I Want to Get Off’ – a man sitting by a canal gets a disapproving look from a passing jogger
• Phil – ‘When is a Good Turn not a Good Turn’ – a spider rescued from a house is eaten by a bird
• Peter H (Read by Sheila in Peter’s absence) – ‘It’s Time to Tell her’ – a man wants to tell a woman that he loves her but when he spots her she is with someone else
• Sheila – ‘You Couldn’t Write it . . . . ‘ – an Oregon novelist who has written on the subject of husband murder eventually becomes the suspect when her own husband is murdered
• Peter P – ‘What the Picture Suggested’ – a story of possible murder inspired by a painting of an empty potting shed seen in a local art exhibition
• Maggie – ‘Vaudeville Stars’ – piano playing Siamese twins discuss a former lover
• Carol – ‘These Days’ – the frustrations of growing old
• Janet – ‘The End of the Line’ – a bee killed in a kitchen fails to fertilise the flowers in a nearby orchard
• Joe – ‘Self-help at St Peters’ – a very elderly stalwart of a local church is discovered to have been involved in growing cannabis
After all eleven entries had been read Sheila invited Anne to share a piece of her own writing. She obliged with the short story ‘Ripples’, inspired by childhood memories of her grandparents’ house in Denby Dale.
Sheila then thanked Anne for her adjudication and presented her with a token of the Group’s appreciation. Members present reinforced the thanks in the usual manner and Anne took her leave as she had a 1½ hour journey to return home.
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