Hastings Writers’ Group

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October has been a busy month for the group.

On October 13 we met to hear the results of our ‘Hidden Gems’ competition, for new writers who have not otherwise been placed in our internal competitions.

Our judge was one of our favourites, the extremely knowledgeable Dr Elizabeth Allen. In fact, she has enjoyed her work with the group so much, she has now joined as a member. As the entry to the competition was relatively small, we decided to award only first and second places. In second place was John Taylor with Loved Ones, and the winner was new member Vicky Armstrong with Mr Hat.

October 27 saw our annual AGM and Programme Planning Session. The big news this year was that Jill Fricker, our popular chairman, was standing down to concentrate on her developing creative writing work, and there are other changes in the Committee. Stephanie Gaunt is standing down, as is Marcia Woolf who has been an interim member of the committee for the last few months.

We actually had a contested election for the chairman, the first in the group’s history, and Eileen Masters was chosen to succceed Jill. The rest of the committee members are Kate O’Hearn, new treasurer Samantha Davey, Janet Kates, Elizabeth Allen and Roz Balp, who is returning to the committee after a few years’ break.

In her final chairman’s report, Jill said that 2014 had been another successful year for the group. Our new website had brought in numbers of new members and raised our profile. Our membership was consistently at its upper limit with a waiting list, and the healthy state of our finances meant that we are able to invest still more in professional judges and tutors for our writers.

The final part of the evening was given over to planning our programme for next year. Members were given a list of options to choose from, based on their responses to a questionnaire sent out earlier in this year. Thanks to Marcia Woolf for undertaking this task.

Members were also able to see our award for Animal Writes, which recently won the National Association of Writers’ Groups Anthology prize, and also to purchase copies of our new anthology, Strandline 14, which showcases members’ work.

Hastings Writers’ Group meets fortnightly at the White Rock Hotel. If you would like to know more about our activities or to be put on our membership waiting list, please email membership.HWG@gmail.com or telephone Stephanie Gaunt on 01424 252888.

Our current anthologies, Strandline 14 and Animal Writes, which benefits RSPCA Bluebell Ridge and also Dogs for the Disabled, can be purchased online from our website, www.hastingswriters.co.uk. You can also find our page on Facebook.