Saturday 29 December 2012

Greenacre Writers: Going Places. A roundup of 2012

2012 took off with our four groups meeting regularly and two workshops held at Trinity Church Centre. The first, Get Yourself A Reputation, took a new slant by focusing not on writing exercises, but encouraging new writers to create a digital presence, with plenty of practical advice. The second was a creative writing workshop for beginners as part of Trinity in May Arts Festival. Stimulating exercises encouraged the ideas and ink to flow.

Hard on the heels of the workshop was our first Literary Festival. From a barely formed idea, we decided to go for it! The venue was provided courtesy of the Trinity in May Arts Festival. The authors we approached, Paolo Hewitt, Andrew Bradford, Emily Benet and Lane Ashfeldt were very supportive and our members were keen to take open mic slots to showcase their work. In no time at all, we had a programme! Then we added another author, Alex Wheatle, because he was too good to refuse! We had an even better programme.

It was time to launch our second short story competition. Paolo Hewitt accepted our request to be the judge, so we were off. Thinking of digital presences, it was time to consider on-line submissions and payment for the competition so Rosie grappled with PayPal and got a new website up and running.

Our members’ successes have continued. Rosie Canning was selected as a judge for Chris Evans’ ‘500 word’ contest for young story writers in March. She was also busy writing her own flash fiction and had five stories long-listed or short-listed in competitions (Spilling Ink, The New Writer, Flash 500, The Yellow Room and The Word Hut). Lindsay Bamfield had a flash fiction piece short-listed in a competition held by BadLanguage, which was read out at a flash fiction event in Manchester on her behalf. Katie Alford won first prize in a competition for short stories in the manner of a nineteenth century author with A Matter of Timing, her Sherlock Holmes story and she won round three of the Dragon’s Keep story contest held by with The Fairy and the Princess. Linda Dell has been publicizing her latest novel, Earthscape, and Liz Goes marketed the third of her trilogy: The Not Quite English Teacher. (See links for Linda and Liz on our blog.)

Having always presented workshops together, Rosie and Lindsay both ventured into solo teaching: Rosie held a  Greenacre Writers ‘Plot’ workshop on our home-ground in Finchley while Lindsay was pleased to accept the offer to teach a specialist course ‘Getting Started in Fiction’ at the renowned Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in Derbyshire.

Two other GW members attended Swanwick as delegates, Liz Goes, one of Swanwick’s busy committee members was there for her 7th year while Helen Barbour returned for her second visit.

Helen succeeded in clambering off the slush pile. She sent her submission package for her first novel The A-Z of Normal to Lucas Alexander Whitely Ltd in March and Araminta Whitely asked to see the whole manuscript that same month. Although she did not take it on, she gave Helen some very complimentary feedback: ‘Your subject is spot on…the women’s fiction market looks for genuine portrayals of real-life issues. You write fluently and have a good ear for dialogue… I hope it is some encouragement that your novel caught our attention among the hundreds of unsolicited we have received so far this year.’ We are proud of Helen’s achievement and supporting her through some rewriting and further submissions.

Wendy Shillam graduated from Chichester, gaining her MA Creative Writing in October with a distinction for her thesis comprising the first 20 chapters of her novel Thinking Makes it So, which she is completing within one our Finish That Novel groups.

Greenacre Writers’ main aim has always been to support and encourage our members to become the best writers they can be, whether they are aiming for publication or not, and through our regular critiquing groups we have all learned from each other. Some of our members submitted short stories to our first anthology, which also featured winning entries from our first competition. We were delighted when it was short-listed in the NAWG competition. Rosie represented GW at the NAWG festival in Nottingham and accepted our certificate when we were awarded third prize.

In November we ran a creative writing workshop in the local, and now famous, Friern Barnet Community Library which hit headlines when, having been closed by the council in April, was re-opened by members of the Occupy movement along with local campaigners in September. A court case or two later, its future remains uncertain but we have all made the most of it while we can. While a number of our members have supported the library, Rosie and GW member, Keith Martin, have been closely involved with the campaign.

Greenacre Writers brought the year to a close with the announcement of the winners of our second short story competition. Congratulations to all who were long listed and especially our winners. We look forward to publishing these stories in our second anthology, which is just one of our many activities planned for 2013.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Monday 17 December 2012

And the winner is......

We are very pleased to announce the  winners of the second Greenacre Writers Short Story Competition.

Congratulations to you all.

1st prize: A Perfect World by Veronica Bright

2nd prize: God the Homeless by Simon Farnham

3rd prize: The Art of Being Late by Julie Swan

Runners up (in no particular order)

The Veteran by Elliot Mayhew

Up to the Ankles by Amy Flinders

An Accident Waiting to Happen by Marie Campbell

Many thanks to judge Paolo Hewitt

Saturday 8 December 2012

The Greenacre Writers Short Story Competition Shortlist

Twelve stories from our competition have been short-listed. They are presented in no particular order.

Ejecting Foreign Objects - Joanna Campbell
God the Homeless - Simon Farnham
Picture - Erik Lofroth
An Accident Waiting to Happen - Marie Campbell
The Art of Being Late - Julie Swan
A Perfect World - Veronica Bright
The Phantom Cavalier - Wanda Sellar
Up to the Ankles - Amy Flinders
The Art of Infinite Patience - Joanna Campbell
Watermark - Barbara Leahy
The Deaths of Zlatka Vlachova - Sue Healy
The Veteran - Elliot Mayhew

About our judge: Paolo Hewitt

We were delighted when Paolo agreed to attend the Greenacre Writers Mini Literary Festival in May 2012, as he is a much sought after writer and commentator on British popular culture, focusing on music and fashion. He was recently a major contributor to the BBC documentary series ‘British Style Genius'. At the festival he read from his book on Oasis and from his autobiography, gaining a few new fans in the process. 

Paolo first came to prominence when he joined Melody Maker in 1979 where he stayed for four years before joining the NME. At the same time his first book was published The Jam: A Beat Concerto. In 1990, he left the NME and started writing for Vogue Germany, Fare Musica in Italy and The Sunday Times. 

In 1993 his first novel was published: Heaven's Promise the first of its kind to focus on Britain's Acid House scene. After his third book The Small Faces: The Young Mod's Forgotten Story he was asked to write the major biography on the band Oasis - Getting High: The Adventure of Oasis.

In 1999 he wrote Forever The People - Six Months on the Road with Oasis along with his anthology of Sixties writing The Sharper Word.

In 2007 he had two more books published - The Changing Man, the definitive biography on Paul Weller and The Mumper a novel about seven friends who meet every week in their local pub. When a stranger asks them if they'd like to buy a racehorse, things get interesting. The book is the basis of the recent film 'Outside Bet', starring Bob Hoskins and Jenny Agutter. 
Paolo 's heart-wrenching autobiography The Looked After Kid - My Life in a Children's Home, led to the BBC shooting a 45 minute documentary on Paolo as part of their 'Taking Care' season.

Paolo has had no fewer than three books published this year: The A-Z of Mod; his book on The  Beatles  Love Me Do: 50 Great Beatles Moments, and Bowie: Album By Album