For the first meeting of 2022 Scarborough Writers Circle was delighted to host its second visit from writer Glenda Young.
Glenda is an award-winning author, a member of both the Crime Writers’ and Romantic Novelist’s Associations, runs two Coronation Street blogs and is the creator and writer of the first ever weekly soap opera Riverside to appear in the People’s Friend – the longest running women’s magazine in the world. Glenda writes saga novels set in the North East which feature strong female characters and more recently has been thrilling readers with her cosy crime novel Murder at the Seaview Hotel which is set in a B & B in Scarborough and features 12 Elvis impersonators!
Glenda, in Scarborough for a combination of holiday rest and writers retreat as she writes her next novel in the Helen Dexter cosy crime series, told Circle members and guests about her personal pathway to becoming a professional writer, starting with a decision to take a journalism course. The course – and her writing talent – led to a range of exciting writing opportunities but it was also clear that her drive and enthusiasm for the written word is central to her success. Her experience of ‘stories coming to her’ or snippets of heard dialogue or unusual objects which piqued writer curiosity or prompted ideas was familiar to many of her audience but Glenda gave valuable advice about how to shape writing into forms suitable for publication. Her enthusiasm for writing for women’s magazines, in particular, was keen and encouraging. She shared tips both about the structuring of stories for publication but also how to promote and protect one’s writing, which was helpful and inspiring.
However, Glenda also encouraged the group to consider the market for novel length works. She advised that reader interest in both historical saga and cosy crime fiction genres remains strong and her encouragement certainly prompted some of the group to reconsider if the genres had a fit with their own writing.
Scarborough Writers’ Circle is grateful to Glenda for giving some of her precious writing time to come and talk with us. We look forward to welcoming her again in the future.
Glenda’s book Murder at the Seaview Hotel (Headline Publishing. 2021) is available to buy now.
Her new novel in the cosy crime series Curtain Call at the Seaview Hotel will be available to buy later this year and is pre-orderable at bookshops and on-line outlets.
In June 2021, we emerged from our online meetings and began meeting tentatively at Scalby/Newby library, as we had done pre-Covid days, following the re-opening of venues after the Government’s lock-down restrictions were lifted.
Here’s a glimpse of some of the things we’ve been up to in our sessions:
9th June 2021:
The results of the Nikki Barker Shield short story competition were announced at the Scarborough Writers’ Circle session which was held in our usual abode at Scalby/Newby Library at 7pm on 9th June.
This was our first live meeting since the pandemic started! It felt great to be back there and on such a lovely night we were able to sit in the garden to hear the eight stories read out by the entrants before enjoying our tea/coffee/biscuits, promptly followed by discussions around writing and the ever-changing circle format. What joy!
The Nikki Barker Shield was presented by Anne Morley (judge) to our newest member Lel Meleyal for her winning story, Into the Depths. She comments: ‘I am chuffed to bits to have won – a lovely surprise and honour.’
The Arthur Hastings Cup was presented, duly engraved, to Julie Fairweather by Carol Bell (judge) for her winning story Final Resolution in 2020 (pre-pandemic days) which Julie then presented as judge of the 2021 competition to Dorinda Cass for her winning story First Impressions.
Congratulations to all winners. A strange year indeed! Hopefully normal service is now resumed (pending data of the R rate for the Corona strains).
The theme of our next meeting is An Unsung Hero – Mini Biography. The challenge is to find and research an example of an unsung hero/heroine then present it in its context in an interesting way (500-1000 words for a story/narrative or up to 40 lines as a poem) to be shared for discussion at the next session on Tuesday 13th June at 7pm at Newby and Scalby Library.
Scarborough Writers’ Circle is open to writers over age 18 to come along to a meeting or become a member. For more details please contact Dorinda Cass (SWC member) on (01723) 377139.
14th September :
The Shirley Waite Poetry Award Cup Competition 2021
Shirley Waite, who died suddenly on 9th November 2018, was known across the literary spectrum in Scarborough as a prolific writer of poetry, short stories and novels. She was a kind, caring person with a wicked sense of humour, generous with her time in encouraging others with their writing and a great friend to all who knew her. Thus, this award has been introduced into the circle syllabus as an annual celebration of National Poetry Day in her memory.
Members of the circle, Scarborough Poetry Workshop and U3A writers were invited to submit poems to this FREE competition on the set theme of CHOICE.
The meeting on 14th September began by sharing memories of Shirley followed by the reading of three of her poems: Felix Hodcroft (Sonnett for a Seagull), John Cooper (Offenbach’s Barcarolle), and Julie Fairweather (Essence of Love). There was a selection of memorabilia available to reflect on as the evening progressed.
The anonymous entries had been judged prior to the meeting by Felix Hodcroft: poet, creative writing tutor, speaker and performer based in Scarborough. Felix, a captivating speaker, gave an in-depth commentary on poetry in general and an intricate analysis of the poems entered, stating that it had not been an easy task in choosing three winners from the good standard of entries received.
He commended four poems to the meeting before announcing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners in reverse order: Reflecting on Choice by Christine Evans, A Time to Choose by Jean Martin, Parent by Lel Meleyal and Weekly Shopping by Judith Woodroffe.
1st Prize of £50 and the coveted cup were awarded to Julie Fairweather for her poem, Fall from Grace.
2nd Prize of £30 was won by Adrienne Silcock, who could not attend the meeting, for her poem, Fist.
3rd Prize of £20 was won by Dorinda Cass for her poem, Saucery.
The atmosphere was dramatic to the end and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
All entries will be on display to the public at Scalby/Newby Library from 8th to 15th October as part of the celebrations for National Poetry Day.
The next meeting on Tuesday 12th October invites members (and guests) to bring along a work in progress for sharing, discussion and feedback – whichever is called for by the writer. The session begins at 7.15pm at Newby & Scalby Library, Scalby Road, Scarborough, YO12 6EE.
Anyone over 18 years of age is welcome to attend. There is currently no charge. Optional refreshments at break are available from the library for £1.
9th November 2021 – The Leslie Richards Competition Results
That’s not a misspelling. It’s the winner of Scarborough Writers’ Circle autumn competition. There was much soul-searching and regret — missed opportunities, words left unsaid, in ‘The Letters’ (the chosen theme). There have been songs, poems and stories written on the subject, and this postbag did not disappoint. There was a letter to Mary in York, a brave feminist pioneer and nun to boot. Another one to a William in Stratford (from a woman called Desdemona) the years having miraculously melted away. There was a letter within a letter regarding one Guido Fawkes – treachery cleverly juxtaposed with hints for marmalade-making. Through modern technology a woman caught up with an ex (Rhyl 1960s). It could have all been so different (sigh). ‘Sandie’ wrote to her old friend and mentor — too late, he’d moved on. Just space dust in the universe. Two sisters discovered a third sister, with never a chance to love her as they should have.
But back to ‘Gloria’, with ‘Contemplating a Eulogy’, a dynamic tragicomedy: a woman striving to provide clarity at her funeral (at some point in the future) when her voice would be silenced by death. ‘I don’t want all and sundry running up to the lectern on my big day adding their own bits in to fill the time slot’. Gloria had sometimes wondered if she was even at the right send off — so she’s written her own eulogy. The woman, who reinvented herself many times, tells of her limitless talents. Her prowess in dancing is, ‘Not just strictly ballroom, but ballet, burlesque and belly…’. She’d have you believe she’s a published writer, a singer, a pianist of great renown, a pillar of society and general good egg. So convincing.
It turned out that ‘Gloria’ was Julie Fairweather all along. Was it all fiction Julie? Hmm, maybe some, but not all surely?
Everyone is welcome to join us at Newby and Scalby Library on the second Tuesday of the month – no experience necessary. The next meeting is Tuesday 11th January at 7.15. Information on the website. Hope the New Year will bring in some budding new talents.
What a wonderful Christmas night out we had at Pomodoro’s to celebrate the end of a hugely successful year (and it’s all down to the guidance of our Head Witch!)
I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the great joy that can come from this time of year – looking back on achievements, friends and special occasions. And for us to pause and consider those less well placed who can find this time of year especially difficult.
Let’s all have a grateful, generous, fun and compassionate festive holiday.
Robert, SWC Secretary
ps, A big thanks to Stewart for taking the photo (see empty chair)
pps, sorry Dorinda
ppps, A reminder – Terror Tales for a Winters Eve is now out for sale through The Bookshelf on Victoria Road, Scarborough.
Terror Tales for a Winters Eve: A collection of original stories, to chill even a winter’s night – due for publication from Saturday 22 Dec 2018 – featuring; not one, not two, but four original works by members of the Scarborough Writers Circle.
Judith Woodroffe, Julie Fairweather, Stewart Ashton and Robert Adams.
Supernatural stories from Phantasm Press.
with Daniel Wilkins at The Bookshelf in Scarborough.
A great – stocking frightener at only £7.50
ps, all monies raised will be going to charity. Go on – you know you want to!
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
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.”
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)
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.
WOTL PERFORMANCE 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 […]