July at the Circle

The July meeting of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle focused on writing craft, specifically dialogue. It was a lively discussion covering how dialogue adds pace, how it can be used to add depth to characters and how ellipses and the ‘Em dash’ can be used to increase drama and tension in a story. We concluded the evening with a demonstration of a story plotting plan and how it had been used in planning a novel.  

Our next meeting will be at Newby and Scalby Library and Information Centre on 9th August at 7:15. It will be a poetry workshop facilitated by local poet, Felix Hodcroft.  The Shirley Waite Poetry Competition will be opened and guidelines for submissions announced.  

Attendance is £4.00 for non-members – but membership is open and we very much look forward to welcoming new members and non-members alike. For more information and our year timetable browse this website.

June’s Circle Session

The June meeting of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle celebrated the awarding of the Nikki Barker Prize. The trophy was won by local poet Adrienne Silcock for her evocative short story ‘The Girl in the Lemon Dress’.  Adrienne delighted the attendees with a reading of her story. The quality of competition submissions was, as usual, to a high standard and judging was challenging but the well-attended group agreed that Adrienne was a worthy winner.  After the reading, the group discussed their current works in progress.  The Scarborough Writers’ Circle is a lovely mix of both published and beginner writers and the sharing of story ideas and ‘how to beat procrastination’ proved to be a lively and enjoyable discussion.

Our next meeting will be at Newby and Scalby Library and Information Centre on 12th July at 7:15 where the group will be discussing writing craft, plotting, dialogue and publishing requirements.

£4.00 for non-members – but membership is open and we very much look forward to welcoming new members and non-members alike. For more information and our year timetable see Diary.

Report submitted by Lel Meleyal – Chair SWC

Lel Meleyal awards the Nikki Barker Shield to the winner, Adrienne Silcock

May’s Circle Session

The May meeting of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle were delighted to welcome two new members to our ever-expanding group of wordsmiths. This month’s session was on writing practice and developing our craft. Drawing on found examples of both dull and exciting texts, the group had a useful discussion about words which add energy pace and excitement to written words.

Our next meeting will be at Newby and Scalby Library and Information Centre on 14th June at 7:15 where the winner of the 2022 Nikki Barker writing competition will be announced and the trophy awarded.  Story entries to the competition will be read by their authors, which is always a joy.

£4.00 for non-members – but membership is open and we very much look forward to welcoming new members and non-members alike. For more information and our year timetable see our Diary section.

(submitted by Lel Meleyal – Chair SWC)

April’s Circle Session

A lively April meeting when we talked about elements of writing: different ways of writing short stories, point of view, show don’t tell and genre. Members had researched in advance and shared what they had found out. One member had exciting news-more about this soon, if everything works out. Lel Meleyal sent details of the second members’ short story competition of the year.

Our next meeting will be on 10th May 2022 when we will be bringing a short piece of writing to share: something dull made to sound exciting or something exciting made dull! And our usual writing chat.

Hope to see you there.

We meet at Newby Library, Scalby Road, Scarborough at 7pm for a 7.15pm start. We’d love local writers to join us. Come and spend an evening with us. Sessions for non-members to attend are £4 plus £1 for refreshments (optional) or if you want to become a member the cost is £36 per year (pro-rata). Over 18s only.

For further information please browse our website.

News from the Scarborough Writers’ Circle

The March meeting of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle saw a bumper turnout to hear the submissions to the annual Arthur Hastings trophy short story competition.  The theme of the competition was ‘A Silent House’ which generated an interesting mix of stories ranging from the atmospherically spooky, to the influence of wise angels, to how hearts can be healed. The competition winner was Julie Fairweather and judge Dorinda Cass handed over a trophy saying the story ‘A Light In the Darkness’ was moving and thought provoking.  Julie delighted her audience with a reading of her evocative tale.

Our next meeting will be at Newby and Scalby Library and Information Centre on 12 April at 7:15 where we will be discussing writing craft considering story structure, character development and creating atmosphere.  £4.00 for non-members – but membership is open and we very much look forward to welcoming new members and non-members alike. For more information and our year timetable see our diary page.

(submitted by lelmeleyal@hotmail.com – Lel Meleyal – Chair SWC)

Julie Fairweather receives the Arthur Hastings trophy from competition judge Dorinda Cass

Valentine Night at the Circle

The February meeting got off to a cracking start with three new members joining us to discuss Valentines related themes. Some writers read their original poetry and prose covering the whole range of love including devotion to biscuits! Others shared beautiful classics from the likes of Elizabeth Barratt Browning or more modern words from the pen of, for example, Carol Ann Duffy. The group considered the relevance of quotes to inspire our own writing. It was a lively and inspiring meeting. News was shared of the group’s application for membership of the National Association of Writers Groups.

Our next meeting will be at Newby and Scalby Library and Information Centre on 8th March at 7:15 where we will be reading through newly created writing based on the theme ‘A silent house by the sea’.  £4.00 for non-members – but membership is open and we very much look forward to welcoming new members and non-members alike.

For more information and our year timetable see our Diary

Submitted by Lel Meleyal – Chair SWC

Glenda Young enthrals Circle Members & Guests

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.

Blog post submitted by Lel Meleyal, Chair of SWC

Read more about Glenda on her website: https://www.glendayoungbooks.com/bio

Post Lock-Down Catch-Up

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:

We’re Back!

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. 

Julie presents Dorinda with The Arthur Hastings Cup for 2021
Carol presents Julie with The Arthur Hastings Cup for 2020 (belated because of lock-down!)
Anne presents Lel with The Nikki Barker Shield for 2021

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.

Julie Fairweather


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.

Felix presenting Julie with prize

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.

Felix presenting Dorinda with her prize

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.

More details from: https://scarboroughwriterscircle.com/

Shirley Waite 19.4.1953-9.11.2018
B.A. (Hons) in Creative Writing (1st)

Julie Fairweather


9th November 2021 – The Leslie Richards Competition Results

Gloria Swansong

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?  

Julie receiving the Leslie Richards Cup from Jill

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.

Jill Boyes


Christmas Meal

A HUGE happy festive season to everyone.

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.