Diary – 2018

tour de yorkshire

Calendar  2018

Welcome to our new season of exciting events!


Our first session of 2018 will be on the 16th January 2018 at Scalby Library. It will be a ‘work sharing’ session. Please bring along anything you’ve written recently – it could be a story, a poem, a travelogue, non-fiction or something that forms part of a longer piece of writing you are working on. Approximately 1,000 words only please. We’ll read the pieces and, if you wish, you can specify any constructive feedback that you would find helpful. 


Coming up on 13th February 2018

Felix H

Felix Hodcroft will talk about different forms of poetry.  Those attending will be encouraged to try writing some poetry on the night.



Tuesday 13th March 2018

The main theme of the evening is to find out the results of the Arthur Hastings story competition, where members read out their entries and the winner is revealed!

Members and guests who didn’t enter the competition are invited to bring along a piece of writing of around 500 words to share if they wish. It can be a poem, a story, or a non-fiction piece.

Tuesday 10th April 2018

Dorinda Cass will be facilitating this evening’s session and has prepared a set of writing exercises for us to attempt in preparation.   It would be good if you could have a go at all of them, but if you don’t have time, just one or two will be fine.

The idea is to see what different writers come up with given the same brief.


Scarborough Writers Circle Exercises
In each case, write a short extract from a possible work of fiction.  Your extracts don’t need to stand alone. Naturally, their style and tone will be determined by the genre, plot etc of the longer works they might come from, but you can provide the context needed to understand each piece when you introduce them.

Suggested length for each extract: 100 – 300 words.
Exercise 1: description
Suppose that all or part of your story’s action takes place at Scarborough harbour and
write a descriptive passage that introduces the place to your reader.
1. Focus on originality. Follow George Orwell’s first rule of writing: “Never use a
metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.”
2. Brownie points for vividness and keenness of observation. Make the reader really
feel that they are there.
Exercise 2: dialogue
Write an exchange between two characters in which one is jealous of the other, for any
reason you choose.
1. No character should describe their or the other’s feelings directly. Leave the
reader to draw inferences about the emotions involved.
2. Brownie points for naturalness of speech. Make the dialogue as fresh and realistic
as you can.
Exercise 3: character
Describe a character commuting to work (your choice of method). The reader should
perfectly understand their personality simply by the way you describe their journey .
1. Avoid describing your character directly. The reader should get their
understanding of them from what they do and how they behave along the way.
2. Brownie points for adding colour and interest to the experience of the
(potentially boring!) journey.



Tuesday 8th May 2018     mandy sutter

Mandy Sutter, Novelist and Writer,  will talk about her new book;  Bush Meat’ which was published in October 2017, and about the process of Life Writing.  Read more about her on her website by clicking here:

Mandy Sutter


mandy sutter



Also on 8th May 2018, we will be announcing the Nikki Barker Competition:  ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ award 2018 – for members.

The theme is:  A Fairy Tale for our Times 

Critics and writers have frequently presented Fairy Tales as neglected, spurned, on the point of being lost (Newton, 2015).  My intention is to encourage a revival of the Fairy Tale, by bringing old traditions to the fore in this century.

Your story could take the form of

  • A re-write of a fairy tale already in existence that would be applicable to modern life,  Or
  • A brand new tale of your own imaginings



Fairy tales are not just for children, and of course do not need to include a fairy!  In the original Danish, fairy tales were known as ‘fantastical tales’, so I’m looking forward to reading some creative entries!   Please see below for some background information on the historical context of fairy tales.

Please feel free to add illustrations – any words on these will not be included in the total word count.

1,000 words; normal competition rules apply (see competition rules page)

Entries in: 5th June 2018

Results and reading of entries: 3rd July 2018


Historical Context

In Britain and Ireland during the nineteenth century, writers started creating their own fairy stories, sometimes for children and sometimes also for adults, transforming a form based in the shared telling of tales into self-conscious, authored literary texts. They were also imitating a tradition of collecting and writing down such oral tales, or making up new ones, that had begun centuries before in Italy, had moved to France in the late seventeenth century, and then around the turn of the nineteenth century flourished in the German states. In doing so, those British and Irish writers responded to their own notions of what those original, anonymously invented texts meant, and therefore also to ideas of ‘the folk’, the fairy, and the child. They experimented with the form to explore political and social concerns, as well as questions of identity, love, and the moral life. Together they built up a body of work that contains some of the most vivid, most astonishing, and most entertaining writing of the century.

Some have decried the literary fairy tale as sentimental, escapist, and kitsch. Though much substandard work was published, in the finest examples there is a lot of tough-mindedness, wit and genuine humour, as well as cognizance of suffering, and traces too of the numinous. The literary fairy story involves the fantastic, a supernatural that is neither eerie nor horrific, but rather is whimsical, playful, or invitingly strange. Condemnations of escapism should further be tempered by the fact that for loathers of industrialism such as John Ruskin or George MacDonald, for women like Dinah Mulock Craik and Mary De Morgan, for gay men like Oscar Wilde or Laurence Housman, there was much in contemporary Victorian life from which one might want to escape. Moreover, far from pure flight from life, such stories are rather a way to expose social tensions and psychological conflicts and to devise their potential solutions.


Source: Newton, M.  (Ed), 2015, Victorian Fairy Tales, Oxford University Press



Tuesday 5th June 2018

First half of the evening:  Anne Morley discusses her publication; ‘Curiosities from Scarborough’s Children’s Charities’ 

Curiosities from Scarborough's Children's Charities

Two tin trunks labelled ‘Scarborough Amicable Society’ were dumped at our house. I blew the dust off the old Minute Books and allied documents to find a real treasure trove from a  forgotten world. Coincidentally I was given a pivotal contact, David Moore in Australia was researching his great-grandfather in Scarborough, an early secretary of the Society would you believe! I was hooked.

As a result we have a full-blown journey through Scarborough’s fascinating history meeting real people who walked the same streets as we do today. A guide to the three inter-linked charities, Scarborough United Scholarships Foundation, the John Kendall Trust and the Scarborough Amicable Society simply grew and grew.

Tostig, Roundheads and Cavaliers, Thomasine Farrer, Robert North, the Rowntree family, the Woodalls, fossil hunters, neglected children, shipwrecked sailors, a variety of clergymen and dozens more emerge from the pages. We travel to the cotton mills of Lancashire, to Chesapeake Bay and Tasmania. Did you know that a mariner from Scarborough almost made it to Australia six years before Captain Cook landed there? You’ll have to read the book to find out who he was . . .


And after coffee . . . 

Members and guests can share some of their current writing and writing issues.

Entries for the Nikki Barker competition will be collected.



Tuesday 3rd July 2018

Lesley Young;  Results of the Nikki Barker Competition – reading of members’ entries.

And announce Leslie Richards Competition (Judy Woodroffe)



Tuesday 31st July  – A Writers’ Miscellany – facilitated by Dorinda Cass

This session is going to be a mix of writers’ tips and help.  Dorinda would like us to bring along something to share with other members and our guests – wise writing advice from a writer you admire, a website link to something writing related, a helpful crib sheet or hand-out that you’ve come across, or if you have a a particular skill, pass on some useful advice – how to set up a blog, how to set out your writing, how to publicise yourself.
We look forward to seeing you there!