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2013 Leicester Writers’ Prize –

Competition results:

The Winners: 

First Place: Hide and Seek by Alex Fender

Second Place: Nobody by Wendy McArdle

Third Place: Jack Jenkins and the Portal to the Past by Tracey Glasspool

Highly Commended:

4. That Was Then by Selina Wells

5. Christina Horrid by Mr Uku

6. The Winter’s Boy by Barbara Featherstone

Shortlist:

A Different Way Of Knowing by Diana Powell.

Christina Horrid by Mr Uku

Crystal Gazer by Suzanne Thorpe

Hide and Seek by Alex Fender

Network 26 by Simon Stevens

The Fault Finders Daughter by Veronica Bright

The Light Thief by Penelope Loveday

The Stranges by Kay Gee

Tides Gold by Penelope Loveday

Wychery Nook by Lorna Windham

A Year From St Petroc’s by Judith Tremaine Drazin

That Was Then by Selina Wells

The Slither by Joe Hackett

When I First Saw You by Lorraine Cooke

The Winter’s Boy by Barbara Feartherstone

The Tooth Conspiracy by Mandy Whyman

A Silly Place To Nest by Richard Pike

Edge Of Life by Karen Taylor

Jack Jenkins by Tracey Glasspool

Nobody by Wendy McArdle

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Huge congratulations to the winners, well done to everyone on the shortlist,

and thank you to all who entered.

Special thanks to all our committee members,

our Competition Secretary, Lara Higgins,

and our wonderful judge, Chris D’Lacey.

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A Date for your Diary;

Chris D’Lacey will be attending our prize giving evening on Thursday February 27th, when he will be talking about the judging process, and more generally about writing for children and young adults. If you would like to hear the winning story, and more from Chris, please sign up to follow Leicester Writers’ Club. Details will follow shortly.

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Drawing on Words

on December 24, 2013

exhibition new walk

Many poets use artworks as a starting point, but this year the Leicester Society of Artists have chosen to work with poems for their exhibition titled, Drawing on Words.

The large gallery at New Walk Museum has been taken over for the occasion, and the poems take their place among the artworks they refer to. It’s a powerful and intriguing exhibition, featuring five Leicester poets; Kate Ruse, Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson, Maxine Linnell, Siobhan Logan and Jayne Stanton, all well known to Leicester Writers’ Club.

The exhibition continues until 11th January and is well worth a visit.
Read more about these poets on our Membership Page.

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Leicester Writers’ Prize 2013

on December 7, 2013

This year the Leicester Writers’ Prize will be awarded to the best opening chapter (or first 2000 words) of a children’s novel.
First Prize £500, Second Prize £250, Third Prize £100.

Maxine Linnell

By Maxine Linnell
I’ve used entering competitions as a way to sharpen up my writing, as well as for the fun of it. When you know your work will only rise to the top of the pile if it’s clear and sparkling, it’s an incentive to make it the best it can be. Winning, even being shortlisted, is so great, however rare it is. The odd win gave me the courage to send out my first book – submitting to agents and publishers can be a long slog, and I’d sent off to twenty before the magic yes appeared.

I now have six books published in the children’s and young adult genre. Vintage and Closer are gritty explorations of being a young adult, and A&C Black published Breaking the Rules for reluctant readers. I’ve also retold three Thomas Hardy novels for Real Reads. Without the support of Leicester Writers’ Club, none of it would have happened.

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Image by Isabelle Holford

Image by Isabelle Holford.
Words by Mark Newman.
Oadby Library is launching a new series of author events called ‘Supporting
New Writers’ with the aim of promoting writers at the very beginning of their
careers. It is an opportunity to hear them talk about their work and ask them
questions about the writing process and how they came to be published.

The first author is Kieran Devaney on Saturday 1st February 2014 at 7pm. His debut
novel ‘Deaf at Spiral Park’, a surreal and touching tale of a bear who shaves
off his fur to live as a man, is gaining rave reviews. Booker shortlisted
author of ‘The Lighthouse’, Alison Moore, has agreed to introduce him and
interview him on the night. The second author, Christina James (Thursday 27th
March 2014 at 6.30pm), is the author of psychological crime thriller ‘In The
Family’: ‘a literary novel with the constant disquiet of a sinister
undercurrent’. Both events are Pay-What-You-Like (minimum £1.50), giving you
a chance to put whatever value on the evening you think is appropriate.

Supporting New Writers is launched during the Leicestershire Libraries Words
on the Street festival of author events, featuring Alison Weir, Leanda de
Lisle, Alison Moore, Gervase Phinn, Marianne Whiting and Stephen Booth and
Oadby Library is continuing its programme of author events throughout 2014
with upcoming appearances from crime legend M.C.Beaton and Historic Royal
Palaces chief curator Tracy Borman. For further information on any of these
events, or to book tickets, please ring 0116 305 8763 or email
mark.newman@leics.gov.uk

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Annual Awards Dinner 2013

on November 17, 2013

Awards Winners 2013

Congratulations to all the award winners this year. You are carrying on a long tradition of the club and giving all of us reason to cheer. (From left to right:)
Mahsuda Snaith, winner of the Margaret Penfold media award.
Lilian Butterwick, winner of the Doris Adams award for short stories AS WELL AS
winner of the Trude Dub cup for non-fiction.
Chris d’Lacey, winner of the Jean Chapman award for writing for children.
Anne Brown, winner of the Chris d’Lacey Endeavour award.
Cathy Mansell, winner of the Norman King award for novel writing.
Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson, winner of the Ena Young award for poetry.

Speaker Tim Grayson

I should have known the guy sitting there was our guest speaker. The jeans and waistcoat with the watch chain should have given it away. If not that then the neckerchief which, had it not been round a neck and elegantly tucked into a shirt, would have contained the worldly belongings of some romantic wanderer and been tied to the end of a stick. It should have been immediately obvious that this was Tim Grayson, founder of the Brothellian movement.

The Brothellian movement has long intrigued me. Its mix of chivalry with the seedier side of life links to the Dark Romantics that have always been my inspiration. Tim stood up, recited the ‘Byronic Oath’ and I was hooked. Despite the very high-brow references, he had an irreverence that I loved, poking just a little fun at the incongruity of Byron’s quote with his reputation. It fits with this whole new venture to make poetry more accessible by dispensing it from a ‘brothel’.

Tim’s revolutionary approach to life provided me with one hairy moment during his speech when he advocated that you give up banging on a door if it doesn’t budge! We applaud persistence  in our club. It takes a degree of dogged determination (as well as talent) to beat down publishers doors, denying all nay-sayers, to achieve your goal. We even have an award for it. I wondered momentarily if we were a bit too stayed and establishment to cope with any revolution. But Tim’s advice was actually common sense. “If it doesn’t budge,” he said, “change doors… It might involve taking a new direction… Sometimes the door won’t open with good reason.”   It suddenly rang very true: How many of us joined the club with a novel then discovered we were actually poets? Or vice-versa. How many used to write for adults but only found their true voice after taking the leap to write for children?

It made me realise that we are all revolutionaries and that our club is far from stayed. We have members who have taken new directions, found new doors and even created whole new doors for others to knock on. Our awards reflect these changes: The Media Award was introduced, by the very forward-thinking Margaret Penfold, who saw all the new opportunities being explored by our members when the usual route became barred. Our award for novel-writing, despite a history of being awarded for mainstream publishing only, is now pitting the hard work required for self-publishing against the effort of mainstream publishing in equal competition.

A huge thank you to Tim Grayson and to all of you who keep this industry interesting and exciting.
See more about Timothy Grayson and the Brothellian Movement.

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The Old Phoenix 50th Anniversary

on November 12, 2013

Old Phoenix 50th

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Sometimes a piece of news comes your way that is a joy to spread around. A new bookshop opening is a bit like the birth of a Panda. It is rare and precious and makes you feel all protective and nurturing. This one is especially joyous as it will be the first independent bookshop in the city since 2000. and because it comes from Ross Bradshaw of Five Leaves Publications, with all of his enthusiasm and experience in the industry.

Bookshop logo Neoplastic

Five Leaves Bookshop logo

From Ross Bradshaw:
“I had not planned to open a bookshop. I thought I was over it. I tried twice in recent years – the first time the landlord withdrew the property from the market at the last minute (and it is still empty, years later!), the second time I had a family crisis in Scotland that dragged on for more than a year. In fact I’d been starting to work out when best to retire from publishing and the other literature projects. But sometimes life just grabs you by the scruff of the neck and, well, Nottingham will have an independent bookshop again.

Jane Streeter at The Bookcase in Lowdham, an independent near the city, was the keenest of anyone on the project, and has been very supportive. And if she can run a bookselling business in the small village of Lowdham, surely there is space for an independent bookshop in Nottingham. The shop could not be more central in Nottingham, but is up an unconsidered alleyway on Long Row, opposite the Tourist Information Centre, next to a bookies. So people can buy books and lose their shirts in one shopping trip.
We .”

Five Leaves Bookshop opens for business on November 9th.
14a Long Row, Nottingham. (Alleyway opposite the Tourist Information Centre)

Read press release – featured in Nottingham Evening Post.
Visit us on Facebook.
For further information, email Ross Bradshaw

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Leicester Writers’ Prize

on October 24, 2013

Chris d' Lacey

By Chris d’ Lacey
At first glance, a children’s writing competition is not for everyone. This might be because there is a faint misconception that a) it’s difficult to write for kids, b) it’s not worth it and c) it’s not ‘proper’ writing. When I first began to explore creative writing, I shamefully believed all of these things. Twenty years and four million book sales later I have to ask myself, how wrong can you be?

My career was kick-started by a competition similar to the one I’ll be adjudicating for Leicester Writers’ Club. Back then, the challenge was to write a 2,500 word story for nine-year-olds. It had no appeal for me whatsoever – but the prize money did. The sponsors were offering the equivalent of a pound per word. A pound per word. That was more money than the deposit on my house. And though the most I’d ever won from writing up till then was free publication and a fountain pen, I cleared my desk and had a go.
I struggled. I really did. I hadn’t been nine for nearly thirty years. I didn’t have kids and I’d never been a teacher. So how could I be expected to get into the head of a snotty-nosed schoolboy (or girl)? The answer, in the end, was simple serendipity. After a dozen fruitless attempts, I gave up and went back to a serious (a proper) ecological story I was also getting nowhere with. Perhaps because my mind was still on the competition, I unintentionally found myself swapping my adult protagonist for a young boy. And, hello, the story came to life. Before the change, it had been quirky (most of my stories were) but rather weighty and dull. Now it was charming and humorous, and somehow its innocent premise carried a more potent message about global warming than the original adult story ever had.
Lift off. Thunderbird One had exited the pool.

I didn’t win the competition, or make the anthology that accompanied it. But on the advice of friends, who also recognised the story’s potential, I sent it to a publisher, who took it off a slush pile and turned it into that most magical thing; an illustrated book.

Nowadays, I hate analysing writing techniques. You might as well ask the world’s great songwriters to teach you how they came up with their classic tunes. You can’t be taught what is basically down to instinct. You can, however, hope to absorb it. My advice to anyone entering a competition like this would be to go and read a few children’s novels – at least the openings to them. If you’re lucky, the miracle of literary osmosis might give you a few ideas. And I would also add this; don’t try to think like a child, the result will be twee. Instead, imagine a story a child might be involved in and write it like an adult.  More than anything, enjoy.

Details of the Leicester Writers’ Prize can be found here.

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From David Roberts

on October 17, 2013

One of the jobs we do at LWC is to circulate information and opportunities we think will be of interest to our members. We try to keep the amount of information comprehensive without it becoming spam, but we seldom hear if any of it is actually useful. For this reason it was a joy to hear from David Roberts who originally wrote to thank me for the great timing of one of those member circulars, and then again recently, to tell me how it went. David is too ill to attend manuscript evenings at the moment, but he keeps in touch with the club and is keen to share his good experience:

David Roberts pic

“Most writers are happy to find someone independent who will read their work with a constructive and critical eye. That was my position earlier in the year when I had written about 70,000 words of a novel, but knew that it had many faults. I wanted to make progress but I floundered. I wasn’t well enough to finish it and send it to an agent, yet I needed comments from someone knowledgeable about writing.

At this point LWC had circulated the name of Philip Newey, who had contacted the club, offering free advice and comments, prior to establishing himself as a freelance critic and proofreader. What could be timelier? Most of what I had written had been done between periods in hospital over two or more years. The plot was disjointed, to say the least. Strangely, there were times when I was able to write almost a thousand words a day – my most productive ever – but then I would be back in hospital, and the thread disintegrated.

Philip’s comments were professional, clearly stated, of a very high standard and gave many pointers for improvement. He had in fact, provided a template for my revision. I would warmly recommend his services to any writer.

And the lesson for me? Write a detailed synopsis BEFORE launching into a novel!”

Philip Newey can be contacted by e-mail at:
all-read-e@philipnewey.com, quoting reference FS657621.

See more about David Roberts:

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Everybody’s Reading 2013

on October 1, 2013

Everybody's Reading 2013

These days it is essential that writers sell themselves. As much a part of the job as sitting writing, is promoting their work, reading in public and talking on radio shows. Reading work aloud is a skill that can be learned and the techniques can help you in other areas, like gaining the confidence to greet your editor, your agent and your adoring fans, the way you’d really like to.

As part of Everybody’s Reading,Siobhan Logan is running a tea-time workshop to get you voicing your words with more confidence:

Voicing Your Writing.
Thursday 3rd October 5.30pm – 6.40pm

Leicester Adult Education College
Wellington Street, Leicester, LEI 6HL.

In a friendly, fun atmosphere, you can explore ways of using your voice and whole body to bring your words to life. Then in a follow-up event, 7 -9pm; you are invited to join Leicester Writers’ Club in the Satta Hashem Hall, for one of their weekly manuscript evenings. Refreshments are provided and you will be able to read a short piece of your own work, if you wish.

Siobhan Logan has two collections of poetry & prose published by Original Plus press: ‘Firebridge to Skyshore: A Northern Lights Journey’ was sponsored by University of Leicester scientists and performed at venues including London’s Science Museum, the National Space Centre and the British Science Festival.
Another polar collection ‘Mad, Hopeless & Possible’ tells the story of Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated endurance expedition to Antarctica.
Siobhan teaches, and gives workshops, and talks to local audiences including community groups, astronomers and children. She has been a member of Leicester Writers’ Club for many years and has earned huge respect and admiration.
Read more about Siobhan Logan.
Read More about Everybody’s Reading and download the Events Brochure.
Look out for our own Rod Duncan, he has been busy, as always.
And Carol Leeming will be at the ‘Y’ Theatre on Saturday 5th October with a Celebration Jazz party; The ABC of Jazz


Evening with Georgia Twynham

on September 26, 2013

Georgia Twynham covers

LWC hasn’t done too many collaborative events and I confess I was one of the sceptics. I’d already decided that if the evening with self-published author Georgia Twynham ended up a disaster, I would blog about it here as being a Writing East Midlands event. If it turned out a success then it would be another great Leicester Writers’ Club evening to add to its glorious history.

Fact is, on our own we would probably never have invited Georgia Twynham to speak. By her own admission she is not a great writer, she left school very early and she made a lot of mistakes, both in her manuscript and with it. Stalking agents and submitting to publishers ten at a time, is not the way publishers like things to be done.
“Hmm yes perhaps you shouldn’t do it quite like I did,” she says, bringing  her wrists together like a naughty schoolgirl.
But Georgia uses her mistakes to learn from and to teach people, and her honesty about it is endearing. When she told us of an approach to someone who then snubbed her, I wanted just to hug her, I wish she’d been a member here, we could have helped with so many of those early approaches. But I’m not sure she would ever have allowed the help. She was spurred on by the knock-backs. She was driven and inspired by her independence.

Georgia now has a huge fan-base, is stocked in a hundred Waterstone’s stores and has won awards and plaudits alongside authors with the full weight of publishing houses behind them. She has sold thousands of books and now gets Society Of Authors recommended rates for her growing number of talks. But she is not resting on any laurels. She approaches her career with the same professionalism and discipline as if she had a stick-wielding boss. She talks about the freedom of having no publishing deadlines, but then she is motivated by her fans who are desperate to get the next instalment and she pushes herself for them. She has earned huge respect from everyone in the industry and has made the rest of us question everything we ever believed about the great and powerful wizard of publishing.

Georgia is in a good place now, but of all the things she could wish for, what does she answer when one of our guests ask her this question… she says she wishes she was a better writer. My hand flutters at my chest and a tear prickles when I hear this, then she tells us she is currently rewriting her first book to make it better. It has sold in the thousands and she knows its a great story, but she wants the writing to be better. That’s dedication to the craft.

Like all converts I am now more passionate than the most avid fan and have nothing but admiration for Georgia Twynham. She will make self-publishing the respectable choice for discerning authors. Her talk was great for the club because it affirmed, with each of her little catastrophes, what we do for our members. We help people to avoid things that will make them cringe in the future.

Georgia Twynahm book 4

Thank you Aimee Wilkinson for Bringing Georgia to us. Thank you LWC committee for agreeing to this joint venture. And Thank you Georgia for the inspiration, the affirmation and for pulling back the curtain on the man and his machine.

To see more about Georgia and her books go to:www.thethirteenth.co.ukwww.facebook.com/TheThirteenthSeries
For more about Writing East Midlands go to:  www.writingeastmidlands.co.uk

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Competition Deadline

on September 20, 2013

mixed_letters

You are running out of time to enter the
HOOK, LINE, WINNER competition.

“Enter a one-page opening of a short story, to see if you have Hook, Line, Winner potential.”
Adjudicator: SUE MOORCROFT  will be at the Adult Education College on Thursday 17th October, 7-9pm to award prizes and talk about her writing career.
CLOSING DATE MONDAY 30th SEPTEMBER 2013
Go to the competitions page and scroll down to HOOK, LINE, WINNER

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Nuts and Bolts of Self-Publishing

on September 5, 2013

WEM  Logo

Writing East Midlands and Leicester Writers’ Club presents:
Nuts & Bolts of Self Publishing with award winning self-published authorGeorgia Twynham
on 19th September 2013 7pm- 9pm
at The Satta Hashem Hall,
Leicester Adult Education College, Wellington Street, Leicester, LE1 6HL

Cost: £4 for non-members, free for members of Leicester Writers’ Club.

If you are tired of being rejected by mainstream publishers, if you have read some amazing self-published books and thought – I could do that, if you have an idea you would love to see on the pages of your very own book and in the hands of readers all over the world without the delay of the publishing industry; then come and meet Georgia Twynham, self-published author of The Thirteenth Series and find out what it’s like to be self-published and successful. Georgia will discuss how you can stay in control of the publishing process and find new ways of reaching your readership. Let her guide you through the pitfalls and give you all her hints and tips from day one, through to the finished copy. Hear all about her successful marketing, how to get readers and keep them. This will be a great source of inspiration and information for any budding author.

There will also be a Q & A session and the chance to network with like-minded writers and industry professionals.
For more information on this event please email aimee@writingeastmidlands.co.uk or call 01159 59 79 29
This workshop is brought to you as part of the Writing East Midlands, Routes to Writing series. Routes to Writing is the Writer Development programme at the heart of what we do, providing opportunities for emerging, mid-career and established writers to develop their craft.
For more information go to www.writingeastmidlands.co.uk

About Georgia Twynham:

Gerogia Twynham
When Georgia had the idea to write a six-book series, she never stopped to question if it was possible to make it a success. She just wanted to write her stories and wait to see if her readers enjoyed them.

Her first book in The Thirteenth series, entitled The Thirteenth, has not only sold in the thousands but has won the Lincolnshire Young People’s Book Award 2010, alongside David Walliams’ Mr Stinky. After high demand from children and adults alike, she released the second and third books in the series, The Turncoats and Nyteria Rising to even greater reviews – which took second place in the Lincolnshire Young Peoples Book Award 2013.

In recognition of her success and her ever growing fan base of avid readers and over 10,500 Facebook fans, Georgia was approached by AudioGo, home of the BBC audiobook, who have purchased the audio rights to the first three books in her series. These are now available in the UK and USA.

Waterstones, having seen the potential in her debut novel, now hold all three books in the series in circa one hundred stores across the UK. She has taken part in many signing events at some of their largest stores, including multiple events at their Nottingham and Manchester flagship stores, and was there to help re-launch the children’s section in the Manchester Deansgate store in the run-up to Christmas.
Having numerous BBC radio interviews under her belt, she was delighted to be invited to take part in the BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine show. This exposure, coupled with more than fifty-five newspaper and magazine articles; not to mention her tireless promotional work with schools, libraries and book sellers, has inspired Georgia to keep working on completing The Thirteenth series for her fans.

To see excerpts and buy the books go to: www.thethirteenth.co.uk
www.facebook.com/TheThirteenthSeries

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Garden Party 2013

on August 29, 2013

 garden party 2013

By Liz Ringrose

The day of LWC’s summer garden party dawned chilly and wet. After weeks of sunshine you’d think we’d be downhearted. But if there’s food, a lovely garden and the company of other writers we’re pretty much sorted.

garden Party 3013

This year our hosts were Lindsay and Jacob at their fabulous ancient house in the countryside. Sharing food is a key element of our writers’ club – we do the same during our annual weekend in the Cotswolds, our local day out at Friends’ Meeting House and the Christmas get-together we call a ‘Blind Reading’. The garden party food was stunning with aromatic garlicky bean salad, succulent chicken drumsticks and a lemony Eton Mess to die for.

Garden Party 2013

In between showers we ventured into the garden where new plots were divulged beneath tall fir trees and the pain of rewriting discussed in the gazebo. In the conservatory one of our members played guitar and sang while others related anecdotes about the Caribbean.

‘Wander round the house, if you like,’ our hostess said and we certainly did. We mounted 17th century staircases to cruck beamed attics, breathed in the scent of ancient wood panelling and planned historical novels we really hope we have time to write.

Above all it was wonderful to take time out from our high-octane manuscript evenings and enjoy becoming better acquainted – especially with our newer members. Whatever stages of writing we’re at there is nothing more soothing and supportive than an assembly of writers. Add cake and you have the perfect day.

Photographs by Jacob Ross

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Landscape of the Body

on August 15, 2013

By Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson.
John Siddique

John Siddique, a natural teacher who carries with him a warm and creatively supportive aura, led a workshop on sensual and erotic writing. Thirty writers attended the ‘Landscape of the Body’ event – an excellent turnout of both club members and non-members alike.

John began by breaking the ice and introducing us to his props; a whip, a pair of hand cuffs, and a ‘paddle’ (for the uninitiated, that’s not a type of oar), explaining that when writing about sex, bodies and eroticism it’s important to try to put aside our inhibitions, lose (or face) our fears and confront our taboos. If a subject feels like we shouldn’t be writing about it, then that’s exactly the area we ought to explore.
He shared with us several wonderful samples of text:

A Poem by Sharon Olds – Sunday Night In The City, which paints a beautiful picture of an intimate moment.

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“Hand on hand, we lie on the bed,
our long legs crossed like folded
wings, our long feet touching the
footboard in shadow, curved like a headstone
with grapes (…)”

A poem by Carol Anne Duffy – Warming Her Pearls, which looks at forbidden love and taboos.

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“Next to my own skin, her pearls. My mistress
bids me wear them, warm them, until evening
when I’ll brush her hair. At six, I place them
round her cool, white throat. All day I think of her,

(…) All night
I feel their absence and I burn.”

A prose passage by Josephine Hart from her novel – Damage, which explores obsession and a desire that is overwhelming, disabling, leaving us powerless to resist.

A poem by Pablo Neruda – Night On The Island, a conversation with a lover illustrating the width, breadth and complication of a real relationship and true intimacy.

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“bread, wine, love, anger ––
I heap upon you
because you are the cup
that was waiting for the gifts of my life.”

We worked through excercises inspired by the texts and a number of us even shared our sometimes raw, often exciting, always individual, writing.

At half-time break, John shared with us an exceptionally naughty chocolate and raspberry torte made by a friend and café owner, Gloria, from Hebden Bridge. He promised us that it was very light, but none of us believed him. It was, however, very delicious.

John ended the evening by reading us some of his own poems from his collection, Full Blood. This passage is from one of my favourites – Lightly

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“I want to make you come with just my tongue.
I want to make you come by barely touching you.
I will start by kissing the corner of your mouth,
gently moving deeper. First one corner,
then the other. Tracing the edge of your top lip
as if I am tasting you there.”

If you are interested in reading this poem, Full Blood, or any of John’s other poetry collections, check out his website here, his blog here, and Salt Publishing here.

I am sure I speak for us all in saying we enjoyed the evening hugely and came away inspired, moved and spurred on to explore love, desire, taboo, the body and the tantalising thrill of capturing eroticism in our own writing.

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That First Time!

on July 31, 2013

Lara Higgins bookshelf

By Lara Higgins
You know it’s summer when the doors to the Leicester Writers’ Club open and two people who you’ve never met before, stand up and wow the socks off you. To the guys who did this; Aaron and Jason, I would like to thank you and I hope it was as good for you as it was for us.

It is club policy to open its doors during July and August, to welcome and encourage
new writers. As members, we have all been there, that ‘first time, yikes! And we’ll always remember it.

I still can’t look ‘into’ the room when I read out now, standing before the microphone, well, when I say standing, it’s more a kind of nervous shuffle really, awaiting comments and feedback. But from my first time I’ve never looked back. I wouldn’t be the writer I am now if it wasn’t for the club. And I wouldn’t have a certain trophy sitting on my bookshelf  🙂

Being a member of the club is a privilege and an honour. We open our doors during the summer to show other writers what we’re about and sometimes that brings a real bonus. I hope we’re lucky enough to hear other new voices during the month of August. And guys, Jason and Aaron, thank you. Last week the honour was ours.

LWC Competition. 
Lara is currently taking entries for the Hook, Line, Winner competition. For details go to the competitions page or click on the link.

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Displacement Activity

on July 19, 2013

desk narrative

Cathi Rae is very modest about her writing. There is always a derogatory introduction when she reads, and disbelief at the raucous applause and delighted comments she receives. Cathi consistently wows the crowd, her work is pure entertainment and her blog has been nominated for a Leiber Award.

We are blessed with so many excellent manuscripts on a Thursday night, but the diversity of specialities means that rarely do we look around the room and see every single head nodding and smiling. This piece of Cathi’s (she swears it’s not a poem) strikes the chord of familiarity in all writers:

I cannot write a novel today because……
my friend is writing poetry for gerbils and I need to watch the letter box for the manuscript, small and brown, a forgettable butterfly of verse,
the towels in my airing cupboard cry out to be arranged not just by size and colour, but fluffiness, fraying and the frisson of pleasure they give against warm damp skin.
I cannot write a novel today, because somewhere, out there, the perfect shoes exist – red, patent leather, kitten heeled, whimsical lacing and my feet are restless with longing,
the sofa groans with undiscovered treasures, chocolate coins, half smoked cigarettes, a tiny china rabbit. I feel the urge for urban archaeology.
I cannot write a novel today, the dog seems depressed, not in touch with his inner wolf. I try to cheer him up by baying at the moon, its the least I can do,
somebody has updated their status, a photograph of mashed potatoes, onion gravy, steaming sausages, I need to comment – yum yum.
I cannot write a novel today, the horse needs me to stand, one foot resting on a gate, my chin against the sun-warmed metal of the fastening, watching her eat grass,
the ducks are all in disarray, facing the wrong way on the bathroom shelf, if ignored, disaster will certainly follow.
I cannot write a novel today, the biscuit tin contains only cut price, own label digestives. Nobody can expect creativity on such poor fare,
there are blue pens in the black pen jar and felt tips with the wrong colour lids and Duplo in the Lego box and the My Little Ponies are missing their mane combs.
I cannot write a novel today.
I didn’t write one yesterday.
But tomorrow… ah tomorrow…

Read more of her work: Cathi Rae’s Blog

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Reminder

on July 9, 2013

Our current competition is for a great opening. Stories all need a good hook and a good opening line. Visit our  competition page.

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Fortunate

on July 5, 2013

.Andrew Sharp

By Andrew Sharp.

There I was at the Writers’ Club being interviewed by Rod Duncan about the country I have been visiting (even living in at times) over the last three years. But no one else in the room, or in the world, has ever been to this country. Even so, there are people living there who I care about, places there that I know intimately and can find my way around. I’ve experienced events and situations there that have made me joyful or have made me despair.

Andrew Sharp's - Fortunate

This country is the land of my new novel, Fortunate. Sometimes it seems that it is no more a realm of the imagination than India or China, but is solid earth with weather, sunrises, crowds. But now my country, my novel, was on the table between Rod and I and – for the price of takeaway meal – readers had a ticket to travel deep into its realms. Before, my world was only populated by myself and my characters, but now there will be others making their journey in its landscape, discovering its characters, feeling its excitements, tensions, reliefs. However, I know from my previous novel that what is going to surprise me most is this: readers will make their own, unique, path through the landscape, enriching my own vision with theirs; more than that, making it their own. C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘We read to know that we are not alone.’ But we also write to know that we are not alone. Readers’ observations and insights become a conversation. So, like other writers who read their manuscripts – novel, short story or poem – at the club or publish their work for strangers to discover, it was a thrill to introduce and share a new country.

http://www.andrewjhsharp.co.uk

‘Unputdownable. An outstanding novel of love, courage and dangerous intrigue.’
Margaret Kaine.

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body landscape

How do we really write about sex, sensuality and eroticism?
It is one of the most notoriously difficult subjects to write well.
Join us for a highly practical writing exploration of these themes.
For poets and prose writers alike.

This one-off workshop run by acclaimed poet John Siddique for Leicester Writers’ Club, ’The Landscape of the Body’ is open to non-members as well as members. Please register your interest by email to: Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson
Full Blood by John Siddique

Date: July 11th 2013, 7-9pm.
(Arrive from 6.30pm)

Venue: The Satta Hashem Hall,
Leicester Adult Education College,
Wellington Street,
Leicester,
LE1 6HL

Suggested Donation: £10.00
Enquiries: Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson

Full Blood by John Siddique is published by Salt.
Visit: Salt Publishing

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