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Welcome to the Scarborough Writers’ Circle!


Scarborough from the Star Map

Don’t forget to scroll down for all previous posts…

The Scarborough Writers’ Circle, which has been going for over sixty years, exists to share practical writing experience, encouraging  both new and more experienced writers.

Our meetings are held at the Scarborough Library, Vernon Road, at 7-30 pm on alternate Tuesday evenings. (See programme details for dates and events)

Our aim is to be a friendly and supportive group, and if you are not already a member, but would like to write, then why not join us? You can come any time to a meeting as a guest, and if you decide to become a member you can join later.

Members should be able to use this site as a reference, because dates, reports, competition details and members profiles will be regularly added. (If you want to add your details, such as a brief paragraph about yourself, your current projects, and previous writing successes, please contact us.

The range represented by our members is very wide. We have novelists and crime writers, magazine article writers, and some who write short stories. There are  poets amongst us, and some who like to write children’s stories. Family history is researched, and our visiting speakers have ranged from successfully published authors to publishers.

Some of us just write for friends and family, and some try to earn money from their work. Whatever your interest, writing about it can be exciting and rewarding, so what are you waiting for?  If you’re a member already – keep coming; keep writing! and if you have an inkling you might like to start, don’t wait any longer-come along, and get scribbling!

Contact  Secretary SWC gsec.swc@gmail.com

A Modest Proposal

I think it’s time to alter the way we judge our competitions. Putting the decision in the hands of just one member of the circle means at best you will get an idiosyncratic view of good writing; at worst, the entry will be appeal to the whim of one particular member.

I believe it’s time to post all competition entries on the website with no indication as to author. Writers then adjudge their favourite entry based on THE WRITING. They will also be in a position to make constructive comment on any of the items they have read.

This way we are simulating proper publishing rather than indulging ourselves in our own little world. You have to write to catch the eye and please the ear of Joe Public, even if it is a limited cross section of writers.

No writer should be allowed to vote for their own entry. The person previously appointed as judge would now be the competition secretary. Only she/he would know the true author of each piece and would therefore be in a position to check that no one had cheated and voted for their own entry. It would also mean, of course, that the judge could enter the competition.

I think this method would give the ultimate winner far more satisfaction, knowing that the piece written brought pleasure to the most writers.

Because all writers will have seen all entries, we would be in a position to have an amazing follow-up meeting where we actually talked about what had affected us as readers rather than a church-like atmosphere and polite applause with no one being any the wiser.

That’s what I think, anyway.

Alan C

The above letter (the title was down to me – you can’t stop a former magazine editor from editing!) was received in response to my appeal for contributions to the website from members of the SWC.

You may agree or disagree with Alan’s comments, but whatever your thoughts, please don’t just sit there – let us know what you think. Do you want to carry on as before, with ‘recital evenings’, or would you prefer to actually READ what a fellow member has WRITTEN?

Tony W

I believe Alan’s suggestion is worth consideration. The judging system is historical in origins. At one time individuals were coerced into judging – which was not necessarily the best idea. It was then decided that the previous year’s winner would then judge, to save any arm-twisting.
In my opinion, this matter would not require committee approval, but that of the membership as it relates to their work being on the web. If the webmaster is happy to add the mss perhaps it should be proposed and put to the vote at this year’s AGM? Members have plenty of time to consider and can make their comments known at the meeting.
If this were mentioned at other times, then it could potentially turn into a debate and cut into the schedule for the evening. The AGM is the place for discussion.
Val Kitson
I’d be more than happy to put any member’s mss on these pages. In fact I’d be ecstatic!
Tony W

Nora Knox Trophy

Nora Knox Award 27.5

Bob Jackman and Jutta Marshall

I have been bumbling through the world of literature in many ways over the years, I have successfully written four books about the escapades of my pals in the Merchant Navy, had a book of poetry published, have had articles published in the national newspapers and made war with politicians on many subjects.

I make no apologies for being a writer, my arrogance lends much to my success. Jutta Marshall’s story, ‘My Childhood of Fear under the Third Reich’ has a different foundation that she bases her story on. There is the strong taste of a child’s fear in her written words, a taste that makes the readers mouths run dry and their hands tremble.

Her story was published by ‘Down Your Way’, one of Yorkshire’s most elite magazines. She read it out to an audience in Scarborough Writers Circle and won ‘The Nora Knox Trophy’, the Writer’s Circle’s highest award.

Bob Jackman

Nikki Barker Award 27.5

Ann Morley and Dorinda Cass

Nikki Barker Competition

Ann Morley presented the Nikki Barker Trophy to Dorinda Cass, for her entry titled, ‘Open or Shut Case’, an apt title for keeping libraries open, written by Dorinda Cass. It contained interesting research on ancient libraries, the benefits of today’s libraries and pertinent illustrations.




 Famous Last Words

At the meeting on June 10th, Lesley Young is challenging the members to dig up (groan) quotes interpreting the phrase (in any way you wish) Famous Last Words

Lesley is asking you to write a short piece of fiction or an informative account to read on the night of around 750 words.

Some ideas include:

An ironic comment on an overconfident assertion that may later be proved wrong:

I told him categorically that we could never be anything more than friends.

Famous last words! Within a few months we were engaged” (Anon).

Famous last words of people on dying:

“Either that wallpaper goes, or I do” (Oscar Wilde).

Famous last words in novels or films:

“I can’t lie to you about your chances… but, you have my sympathies”  (Alien 1979)

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known” (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities).


Editor’s Note:

This would be a good opportunity to have the best entries shown here in the website. Come on, let the world see your work!


Fantastic Books Publishing

At the meeting on Tuesday 15th April, our president, Bill Kitson, commented on the takeover by the larger publishing houses of the smaller independents. It was therefore a pleasure to welcome the speaker for the evening, CEO of Fantastic Books Publishing, Daniel Grubb.

Dan, a former agent, explained that his small independent company, established two years ago, began with a cookery book when he realised that many old family recipes risked being lost. From his experience within the industry he expanded into other genres including crime, poetry, children’s, science fiction and fantasy, producing books in both digital and paperback formats.

His business model is simple; fairness to authors. His aim; ‘To achieve respect in the industry.’ Most publishers take ninety-five per cent of profits, but Dan believes this should work on a 50/50 split, as a fair division of labour, as without authors, there would be no stories, and without publishers, there would be no books. His authors agree to both sides contributing five per cent to charity. Larger publishing companies have attempted takeovers but Dan remains steadfast in his goal. He is currently working on the Elite books linked to a new computer game. His new division, Fantastic Books Audio, recruited actor Toby Longworth (Star Wars) as narrator and Dan intends, in time, to record the entire backlist.

During the Q & A, Dan advised members not to rely on their overworked publisher to publicise their work, but to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc., and their own author websites. His own website, www.fantasticbookspublishing.com is packed with information, including submission guides for would-be authors, competitions and the site will soon host a new bookstore.

The next meeting on 29th April, Geoffrey Wilson will host a session of Call my Bluff.


Free story from Bill!

A Case of Crime

Bill Kitson, along with five other authors at Accent Press, was asked to write a short story for an anthology. The eBook was released yesterday and for today until close on Sunday is available to download for FREE. You’ll find the link below:

STOP PRESS: This free offer has now finished, but the eBook can still be purchased from this link for only £1.81



Val Kitson
Agent to Bill Kitson.
Creator of DI Mike Nash, Eden House Mysteries and the Byland Crescent Saga.
Web: http://www.billkitson.comimage

Anne Bond – A Tribute from Bill Kitson

Anne Bond was President of Scarborough Writers’ Circle when I applied to join the group. I was more than a little wary, as Val had told me that among the Circle membership were playwrights, novelists, former newspaper editors and columnists.  The process of submitting a sample of writing to be assessed for my suitability did little to lower my trepidation.

Within minutes of meeting Anne, she not only put me at my ease, but contrived to convey how much fun was to be had by attending Circle meetings, and how much I would learn by joining. Anne took a special interest in new members and fledgling writers, praising, encouraging and providing valuable criticism, all delivered with a warm smile. She did much to fire my enthusiasm for writing and supported my determination to become published.

I can think of no finer tribute to Anne than by repeating the excellent advice she gave me regarding the characters within my books. “They should be so believable that you would recognize them instantly if they knocked on your door.”

She paused then, grinned and added, “However, if they do knock on your door, you’ll know you have a problem.”

Thank you, Anne. It was a privilege to know you.

Bill Kitson


Anne Bond


Long-standing Circle member and novelist, Anne Bond, died on Friday 2nd May after a sustained period of illness.

Anne was born and bred in Scarborough and worked in a variety of jobs locally, but found an interest in writing while still a child. Over the years, she had many short stories and articles published in a variety of magazines, but her greatest achievement came in the late 1980s when she started on the road to becoming a successful romantic novelist.

Her first book, ‘Dance Without Music’ (published under her full name of Frances Anne Bond) was an instant success. Set in the period leading up to WW2, it tells the story of local girl, Sarah Armstrong, a barmaid in a seaside holiday resort, who meets and marries Victor, a strange and taciturn man who works at the local theatre. The book proved especially popular with readers at Scarborough libraries. A further six books followed throughout the 1990s (available on Amazon, from booksellers or the library).

Anne attributed much of her success to the support and advice she got from her fellow members in the Writers’ Circle, where she was a long-time member and served as Secretary for a number of years. And, although self-effacing about her own undoubted talent, she was always ready and willing to pass on her considerable knowledge to aspiring writers.

She had been out of circulation for a few years due to severe illness, but she will be remembered and much missed by those of us who knew her and counted her as a friend, and our deepest sympathies go to her husband, Peter, and her two daughters.

(Book list 1989-1999: Dance Without Music, Return of the Swallow, Darling Lady, A Different Tune, Changing Step, Catching the Lark, Old Acquaintances)

Mike Park

Scarborough Airings Alert!

Scarborough Airings for the Stanley Wilson Trophy. 2014

Entrants are invited to submit either a sketch, or the first scene of a longer play accompanied by a 250-word synopsis of the remainder of the play. Either method should lead to a script lasting no longer than eight minutes in reading. Extra time will be allowed for reading out the synopsis. The competition will be formally opened on April 29th, with a closing date August 5th, and a rehearsed reading performance date by Outreach on September 16th 2014.


  1. An entry should have up to six main characters at the most, though there could be allowance for extras in a very minor role.
  2. An entry should last approximately eight minutes maximum in reading;
  3. An entry will be conceived and written as a play /sketch rather than as short story or prose;
  4. It is recommended that entries should be typed and laid out as far as possible in UK Stage Style, BBC Scene or Cue style for Radio, BBC Taped Drama, Sitcom, or Screenplay depending on the type of script (see BBC WritersRoom for information, http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/insight/scriptsmart_formats.shtml).
  5. If the entry is the first scene of a play, then the writer can append a synopsis of the whole play up to a maximum of 250 words.
  6. Each person is allowed one entry.
  7. The person should be a member of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle at the time of submission, even if they join specifically for this event. Writers’ Circle rules will apply except where specifically changed for this competition by these competition rules.
  8. The play/sketch should involve the development of character, and a change or realisation occurring.
  9. The play should not have been previously submitted to the Scarborough Airings for the Stanley Wilson Trophy.
  10. The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript, which should bear a pseudonym. A small sealed envelope labelled with the pseudonym should contain the author’s name. The manuscripts will be clerked in and the identities checked by a member of the Circle who has not entered the competition.
  11. Entries will be judged on several criteria by an independent judge organised by Stephen Joseph Outreach programme.
  12. Criteria used will include, but not be limited to: the quality and standard of the writing; the development of character, atmosphere and overall world of the play / sketch; the imagination and originality of the writer.


One Hour of Entertainment

Scarborough Flare in the Sitwell Library at Woodend was one enjoyable hour, packed with humour, acidic, funny, heart wrenching and romantic poetry. Alongside stories of the darkest kind. If you missed it make sure it is in your diary for next year. Yes, you only get one chance per year to see this fresh new work from John, Julie, and Ian Scarborough Writers Circle members, along with University student Shirley whose acerbic witty poems will make you smile. Ian and John read an extract from Johns new play and he is eagerly awaiting offers of publication.



Scarborough Flare


A varied menu of verse, short stories and live theatre script, ranging in genre from darkest black to fairly broad comedy, was extremely well received by a full house in the Sitwell Library on 28th April.

The performance by Writers on the Loose (WotL), which featured three Circle members, John Cooper, Julie Fairweather and Ian Baird, together with final year university student, Shirley Waite, ensured a lively start to FLARE, the fringe festival.

After a spoof introduction( in which John recited Woodend’s rainfall levels from 1927 – to the bewilderment of the audience), the performance kicked off with comic poems by Shirley “bang-up-to-date” Waite. Julie read extracts from short stories in her book “Picking at the Bones”, described by Shirley as being blacker than a Swedish TV script! John and Ian then combined to read an amusing scene from the former’s new play “Medical Complications” before Shirley and Julie returned with romantic poetry. John then read some of his new verse featuring three different kinds of love, that of man for a woman, that of a man for his gundog, and that of a man for his country.

Nikki Barker Competition

Nikki Barker Competition
‘All in a good cause’
My intention is to encourage passion for some burning issue out there that really fires up individual members. I would like to see some background knowledge, research and campaigning.
It could take the form of
· a plan of campaign,
· an account of an achievement for the cause
· a story about a campaign, fact or fiction
· an article for the media
· or anything else you want to make of it
Please feel free to add illustrations, no more than three, and any words on these will not be included in the total word count and indicate under ‘market’ where you intend it for.
Go on, move me to tears, to signing up or, even more difficult, to putting my hand in my pocket!

1,000 words; normal competition rules apply (see website)
Entries in: 13 May 2014
Results and reading of entries: 27 May