Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Greenacre Writers Round up of 2014

Greenacre Writers has had another busy year, with the year kicking off with a Writing Retreat at St Katharine’s in Oxfordshire in March.

Josie Pearse ran a new teleconference group: Getting it Written, for writers with a longer piece of work underway. The sessions lasted 75 minutes once a week on a Wednesday evening.

At the end of May, the third Finchley Literary Festival exploded into a week-long event. There were fund-raising activities beforehand, including a quiz and Bettina the Abseiler who abseiled down the side of Church Langley Water Tower in Harlow.

The festival kickstarted with a Poetry and Music Palooza organised by Anna Meryt at Cafe Buzz where we were treated to some moving poetry and music. We launched our third short story anthology and were delighted that Alex Wheatle had agreed to be our judge. Two of our winning authors, Sal Page and Andy Byrne, were able to attend the launch to receive their prizes. We enjoyed the hospitality from Café Buzz owner, Helen Michaels, who plied us with coffee and cake! Read more here.

Finchley libraries and especially, Steve Saunders, at Church End, supported the festival. We held various events including CliFi for Kids with Sarah Holding, How to Kill your Darlings with Bettina Von Cossel, Charles Dickens: Walking and talking in the green lanes of Finchley, Hendon and Barnet with Theresa Musgrove aka Mrs Angry. Paul Higgins and Ruth Cohen from The Reader Organisation, ran a couple of their excellent reading sessions. Maggie Butt ran a How to get your poetry published. The popular Dragon's Pen* with Gillian Stern, Cari Rosen and Mary Musker gave writers the opportunity to showcase their writing. Most of the events were fully booked including Getting Started with Allen Ashley.

A Spoken Word event took place at Friern Barnet Community Library and they also hosted, a children’s workshop with A.L. Michael; Ally Pally Prison with Maggie Butt; and The Story of Private John Parr with Mick Crick.

As well as workshops there was also a YA event held at Waterstones Finchley with Miriam Halahmy, Lil Chase and Gina Blaxill. This proved so popular they repeated it at Camden Waterstones. Paul Baker organised A Literary Finchley Guided Walk. Mr Greenacres organised A Finchley Literary Slide Show with muses who read poems and literary extracts.

The final day began with a Develop your Online Author Profile: A Blog & Twitter Workshop with Emily Benet. The day was rounded off with a lively panel discussion on Men Writing as Women and Women Writing as Men. In between, GW writers read from their works in progress. Guest speakers were Alex Wheatle, Caitlin Davies, Rosie Fiore and Miriam Halahmy. You can read more about the final event here. Moderator was Allen Ashley who kept the passionate writers in line.

Hot on the heels of the Finchley Literary Festival, Rosie Canning, ran a WW1 writing workshop at Stephens House & Gardens WW1 Centenary celebrations. A.L. Michael also ran a WW1 writing workshop for children and Sarah Harrison, invited readers for afternoon tea. Sarah read from her bestselling WW1 novel, The Flowers of the Field.

In October, Rosie Canning and Mr Greenacres led The Walking Writer. Writers were encouraged to concentrate on sight, sound, smell, touch and hearing and there were some poetry readings. Mr G organised morning coffee at the Finchley Golf Club. Later after more walking, writing and poetry, the writers stopped for lunch at the Redwood Cafe in Swan Lane Open Space.

Our members have been busy with their writing and we are always pleased when they achieve success.

Katie Alford, finished her novel and has been published. Atlantis and the Game of Time, Kristell Ink, Grimbold Books (Aug 2014). When Katie first joined Greenacres and brought along some of her Steampunk writing for critiquing, it ended up Katie explaining how the writing should be read rather than the other way around. You may ask, as we did, What is Steampunk?

Rosie Canning led a spring and autumn writing retreat at St Katharine's, Parmoor. See here for the 2015 Early Spring Retreat.

Linda Dell wrote a guest blog about self publishing for GW. In November, following on from their successful self-publishing talk at the Finchley Literary Festival, Linda, and Eliza Jane Goes, also a Greenacre Writer, went on to give another talk about the merits and pitfalls of self-publishing at Mill Hill Library.

Anna Meryt was one of eight members of Highgate Poets who read with a group from Aberystwyth, the Word Distillery Poets, at the London Welsh Centre as part of the centenary of Dylan Thomas. Anna organised a Poetry and Music Palooza, event for the Big Green Book Shop in April where she launched a second collection of poetry by Tambourine Press called Dolly Mix.

Mark Kitchenham has been concentrating on six word stories (which is good practice for writing short stories) and every month has a batch of them going out on the Morgen (with an E) Bailey website.

Kate Wong is the newest member of Greenacre Writers. The FLF Dragon’s Pen event kick-started her to distil her ideas onto paper for her historical fiction novel in progress “The Authentic Voice” which is about a boy born with a supernatural gift for music but at the wrong time in history.

GW ran a couple of monthly short story competitions leading up to Christmas, you can see November’s winning story here.

Our regular groups continue to meet regularly, there is also a new monthly Writers Meet-up. We look forward to more achievements next year.

*14 writers who attended the Finchley Literary Festival Dragon's Pen event were kept on edge for some time while the Dragons decided which writer they intended to mentor. We were delighted when they made the announcement that Lindsay Bamfield was the winner of this year's Finchley Literary Festival's Dragon's Pen for her novel-in-progress Do Not Exceed Fifty. Lindsay will now have the opportunity to be mentored by Gillian Stern, an editor and writer for Bloomsbury, Orion and Penguin.

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