Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult book review

Having just got back from a short holiday, I read a couple of books whilst I was away, the first of which I read on Kindle:

Plain Truth

The premise of the book is that a young Amish girl, named Katie, gives birth in secret in the barn in the early morning, prays that God will make this go away and then passes out.  She wakes up and a miracle has happened, the baby has disappeared.  She goes back to bed hoping that this is the end to it all.  Sadly, it is not.  The body of the baby is found that morning hidden under blankets and when the police turn up, it is clear that Katie is the main suspect because although she denies having had a baby (she has hidden the pregnancy from everyone), her body gives her away and she is charged with the murder of her infant as all evidence points to the baby being smothered.

Katie's second cousin Ellie, a city lawyer suffering a personal crisis of her own, happens to be visiting their Aunt and she finds herself agreeing to be both counsel and guardian of Katie whilst the trial progresses, necessitating her living within the Amish community.

I liked the career crisis of Ellie coinciding with the personal crisis of Katie, but did not like the twist.

SPOILER do not read on if you intend to read the book.

At the end of the trial when we already have a satisfactory resolution, Katie's mother Sarah mentions in passing to Ellie that she murdered the baby.  It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for Sarah to have killed her innocent grandchild, whether she felt she would lose another child (i.e. Katie, like she lost her son when her husband ostracized him due to his continuing education) or not, (the reasoning the author gives) as it is both against her religion to do harm to another and with the new grandchild, she would have been gaining a child (and a male one at that) to ease the pain of losing her son to the non-Amish world.  It is so far out of the character that his been built up (her wishing to protect and keep her daughter) to have done this, especially as, if this were the case, she would have come forward when Katie was accused of murder.

To me, it felt added to the end for both shock value and extra wordage, rather than a genuine twist.  Also, I think it would have made a better twist to use the pregnancy of Ellie being in jeopardy due to her likelihood of catching listeria as Katie did (the reason the jury found her not guilty of smothering her child), but there is no mention of Ellie even worrying about having milked the cows etc. when she goes into hospital scared that she might lose her baby.  That would have been far more believable character-wise, would have added extra wordage (if that was what was needed) and tied up the loose ends nicely within the plot in a believable manner.

This error was a shame, as I really enjoyed the book otherwise.  I loved the insight into the Amish way of life, the court and medical procedures that would be used in a trial of this nature and even the mentions of paranormal investigations.  I would have preferred more of this, including more detail on the apparition of Katie's sister, rather than the way the author decided to go.

An out of character end to an otherwise enjoyable book.                                                    6/10

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Clecheaton Writers Group meeting 28 April 2014

Another successful meeting of the CWG last night where A, D, P and I were in attendance, N & L having sent their apologies.

We started by having a feedback session on the writing we are working on at the moment.  A has been editing his children's novel (he shared the first three chapters with the Group for the feedback session).  D has been working on a new MG children's story and arranging a visit to a forge for research purposes and I have been editing and have sent out my novel T to another publisher.

This moved us on to talking about agents and publishers and the feedback you may get.  We discussed waiting times, which can range, but that three months seems the norm and when a manuscript would be ready for submission.

Several members of the CWG have signed up for a free OU creative writing course and I am sure the notes on this will be shared at future meetings for those members that could not join.

We then discussed plagiarism as I have recently read a post from a fellow blogger who has had his work plagiarised from a writers group member that he taught and has known for nine years.  We all agreed this was terrible and that it did not seem to be in the realm of someone having a similar idea coincidentally, as is usually the case.

D and I then gave feedback on A's three chapters that he had shared.  We both really enjoyed it and want to read more.  We loved the similarities in tone to Hitchhikers Guide, Star Wars and Red Dwarf and that the description of the psychiatrist was suitably creepy.  There were only a couple of small points in that I felt that a minor characters name jarred and we both felt that a little less backstory of the main character's father would work better and to drip feed the information in future chapters so that when the reveal comes, it is more satisfying for the reader.

D told the members about the HLF Literary Lunch that she and I stewarded for and this lead us on to a discussion about steampunk.  She recommended the work of Phillip Reeve as a good example of the steampunk genre (Mortal Engine's in particular) and P recommended the websites and

There was not time for a timed writing session, but we hope to rectify this at the next meeting.  There are two spots open for the feedback session at the next meeting, scheduled for Monday 12 May 6-8pm at Cleckheaton Library.  New members always welcome.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Dancing on Ice

Last night we went to see the final night of the final tour of Dancing on Ice and what a fabulous night it was.  Not only were the dancing stars entertaining, but the professionals were amazing.

The stars were Kyran Bracken (who won Series 2 in 2007 and won on the night with a flawless routine), Bonnie Langford (who came third in Series 1 in 2006), Gareth Gates (who came fourth in Series 3 in 2008), Suzanne Shaw (who won Series 3 in 2008), Ray Quinn (who won both in Series 4 in 2009 and in the final series), Hayley Tamaddon (who won Series 5 in 2010), Joe Pasquale (who came 6th in Series 8 in 2013) and Beth Tweddle (who won Series 8 in 2013).

All of the skating was wonderful and with added pyrotechnics and humour, and it was a lovely night out for all the family.

As it was the last night of the last tour, there were tears and speeches and this only added to the occasion.

Kyran Bracken deserved his win with Nina Ulanova, but Ray Quinn was a close second with his partner Maria Filippov, only let down by a fall during his energetic routine.

The other skating professionals partnered with the stars were Brianne Delcourt, Andrei Lipanov, Robin Johnstone, Matt Evers, Daniel Whiston and Lukasz Rozycki (Alexandra Schauman and Andy Buchanan completed the tally for the professional skaters).  A beautiful routine with the professionals where the three girls resembled swans was breath-taking.

Judges Robin Cousins, Karen Barber and Nicky Slater were emotional as well as the main duo, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, who danced both a new number together and their iconic bolero.  For me, it was just beyond words to see the Olympic-winning routine live as I remember watching it as a little girl when they won the Gold.

Ray Quinn asked more than once that 'it couldn't be the end' and Chris did cryptically avoid the question of whether there would be more Dancing on Ice, but he did admit that he and Jayne were not retiring and that it wasn't goodbye it was just goodnight.  Let's hope so.

A spectacular evening for all the family                                             10/10

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Saga Magazine Ghost Story Competition, deadline 1 May 2014

My Mum passed along the March issue of Saga magazine to me as it has a Ghost Story Writing Competition running.  As the deadline is looming, I thought I would post the details for those followers who may also wish to enter:

Ghost story writing competition
Here’s your chance to get published. Pen us a ghost story that chills to the bone – and you could soon see your name on the bookshelves.

Handwriting and fountain penDim the lights, enter the creaking, cobwebby corridors of your mind and get writing
Attention, all short-story writers! Knowing how talented our readers are, Saga Magazine has teamed up with award-winning independent publisher Profile Books to create a book of ghost stories – written exclusively by YOU.
We’re looking for amateur writers to pen a thrilling story of up to 3,000 words to include in a new anthology to be published this autumn – in time for Hallowe’en, if all goes well.
The story judged to be the best by the judges will win £250 and two runners-up £100 each. All those chosen to be in the book will win £100 worth of Profile Books – and everlasting glory, of course.
We’re looking for spine-chillers in any style – humorous, magical, supernatural or just plain terrifying. The choice is yours.
From Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens and Henry James right up to Stephen King and Alice Sebold, the ghost story has a long and celebrated history. Witness the runaway success of Susan Hill’s novella The Woman in Black.
A MORI poll discovered 19% of us claim to have seen a ghost and twice that number believe they exist. Perhaps that’s why ghost stories are so popular in Britain: some 98% of them are written in English. Psychologists suggest that they are a safe, cathartic outlet to purge repressed anxieties. And we Brits are pretty good at repression.

What makes a good ghost story?

In 1929, the great ghost story author Montague ‘MR’ James identified five key features he thought made them work:

• The pretence of truth
• A pleasing terror
• No gratuitous bloodshed
• No explanation of the machinery
• Setting: those of the writer’s (and reader’s) own day.

He had no time for sex, either. ‘Sex is tiresome enough in the novels; in a ghost story, or as the backbone of a ghost story, I have no patience with it. At the same time don’t let us be mild and drab. Malevolence and terror, the glare of evil faces, “the stony grin of unearthly malice”, pursuing forms in darkness, and “long-drawn, distant screams”, are all in place, and so is a modicum of blood, shed with deliberation and carefully husbanded.’

Here’s how to enter our great ghost story competition

Entries can be submitted by email:
Or by post: Saga Ghost Stories Competition, Profile Books Limited,
3a Exmouth House, Pine Street,
London EC1R 0JH.

Include a covering note giving:

• Postal address and email address (if available)
• Your full name
• Date of birth
• The title of your story,
• Contact telephone no(s).
• Your story should be fiction, your own original work, previously unpublished and not already licensed to another publisher.
• Entries should be typed, not handwritten, with pages numbered in sequence.
• The winners will have their stories published in one anthology by Profile Books, subject to full terms and conditions (see below).
• One or more of the winning stories may be featured in an autumn issue of Saga Magazine.
• The competition is open to anyone currently resident in the UK.
• Maximum length of the story is 3,000 words.
• One winner will receive £250, two runners-up £100, and all chosen to be published £100 worth of Profile books.
For a printed version, send a stamped self-addressed envelope to Saga Ghost Story T&C Request, Saga Magazine, Enbrook Park, Folkestone, Kent CT20 3SE.

Closing date is May 1, 2014

Judging panel

  • Andrew Franklin, MD, Profile Books
  • Katy Bravery, Editor, Saga Magazine
  • Emma Soames, Editor at Large, Saga Magazine

Some words to inspire…

‘Doubtless, in such a place as this, with its eerie marshes, sudden fogs, moaning winds… any poor old woman might be looked at askance; once upon a time, after all, she would have been branded as a witch.’
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

‘We have not cared to live in the place ourselves,’ said Lord Canterville, ‘since my grand-aunt, the Dowager Duchess of Bolton, was frightened into a fit, from which she never really recovered, by two skeleton hands being placed on her shoulders as she was dressing for dinner.’
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

‘It had found them. Since Eleanor would not open the door, it was going to make its way in… Little pattings came from around the doorframe, small seeking sounds, feeling the edges of the door, trying to sneak a way in.’
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

So, over to you…
Dim the lights, enter the creaking, cobwebby corridors of your mind and get writing!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Yorkshire Writers newsletter

I thought my followers would be interested in seeing the latest Yorkshire Writers newsletter:

Yorkshire Writers' Newsletter

April 2014

Hello and welcome back. Eggs all eaten and we're ready to go ......


Daniel Blythe – Writing and Publishing Books for Children and Young People Masterclass.
Want to write for children or young people, but unsure where to start? This introductory session by a published writer will give you the information and will try to answer all of your questions. Whether you are a writer of picture-books, first reader chapter-books, stories for confident mid-range readers or gritty teenage novels, this session will cover the essentials. We’ll be looking at how to approach agents and publishers, what they are looking for, what to avoid, the role of editors and illustrators, e-books, etc.

This is the second in our series of Writing Yorkshire masterclasses and will be led by Author Daniel Blythe. Daniel Blythe is a writer with 20 years’ experience in both traditional and digital publishing. He has written four of the official Doctor Who books for the BBC and Virgin Publishing.

This Saturday 26th April between 10:00am and 1:30pm.
Where: Bank Street Arts, Bank Street, Sheffield, S1 2DS
Cost: £13.50 for Writing Yorkshire members / £18.00 for non-members
How to book: To book a place on this workshop please e-mail
More information: here.

Newspaper & Magazine Journalism Masterclass with Colin Drury
This July Writing Yorkshire will be hosting a masterclass led by Sheffield Star columnist Colin Drury.
Colin is a double-award winning columnist who has worked as a feature and leader writer for The Star, Sheffield for three years. In the last year, he has had articles published in The Times, The Guardian and The Independent, as well as FHM magazine and NME. Colin was named UK Press Gazette Columnist of the Year in 2008 and 2010. He has broken several exclusive stories which have gone onto make headlines around the world. Currently, he has his own daily ‘diary’ page in Local Sheffield newspaper The Star.
The masterclass will be held at Bank Street Arts on Saturday 5th July between 10:00am and 1:30pm. Details of the session are as follows:
 •A look at non-writing skills required to be a journalist (knowledge of law, shorthand, how to find stories, etc..)
 •How to write news stories (and crucially how not to write them) – including four rules and six questions which should enable you to write as well as anyone.
 •how to write reviews and opinion pieces.
 •how to get your work published and paid for, and what to do next.
This masterclass is a great ‘taster’ or starting point for anyone looking at a career in journalism.
Cost: £13.50 for Writing Yorkshire members / £18.00 for non-members
How to book: You can book a place by clicking here. 
More information here.
Creative Approaches to Dramatic Writing Masterclass with Emma Adams
This August, Writing Yorkshire will host a Masterclass on Dramatic Writing led by Emma Adams.
Emma has been running creative writing sessions with a focus on dramatic writing for the last 10 years. She has worked with beginners right through to MA students, and has run sessions for organisations such as Script Yorkshire, Emerge, Keats House, Leeds University as well as being a visiting lecturer at Northern Film School, Leeds.
Emma’s writing is often fantastical and surreal, ranging from dark political satire for adults through to adventure comedy for children. 
The Masterclass will be held at Bank Street Arts on Saturday 9th August between 10:00am and 1:30pm.
In this session you will explore:
 • How to get ideas and how to develop them for drama once you have them.
 • The ‘how’ ‘what’ and in particular the ‘why’ of your writing… and why all of that matters!
 • The differences between writing prose and drama.
 • And there will be surprises…
Cost: £13.50 for Writing Yorkshire members / £18.00 for non-members
How to book: You can book a place by clicking here.
More information here.

Free one-to-one Writers Advice Sessions
As part of a new service from Writing Yorkshire we are now offering free, bookable, one to one advice sessions to all writers from our base in Sheffield.

You may be a full-time writer, part-time, occasional or just interested in the idea of trying some writing for fun, we're here and looking forward to helping you. We have information on all aspects of creative writing, be it writing groups, courses, events, publications, getting started or just keeping going, we have plenty of advice and support to help you on your writing journey.

Each session is booked in advance for a particular time slot at 30 minute intervals from 5.30 pm through to 7.30 pm on Wednesday evenings.

Initially we are offering thirty minutes sessions from our offices at Bank Street Arts and though based in Sheffield, the sessions are open to anyone from anywhere in Yorkshire, in addition, if you have a long journey to reach us then we'll be happy to book you a longer session and arrange it for a time which is more convenient for you.

The sessions, which are based on a similar principle to our Library Resource Centres, are there to offer help and advice in a comfortable and quiet environment and in which all of our facilities and resources are available to support the client.

If you would like to book a session then all you need to do is contact us via email (preferred method for the fastest response) or phone (answer machine) and we'll get back to you to arrange a booking for you. Just to confirm again the sessions are free and open to all, if you need any further details then just get in touch, we look forward to hearing from you.

Phone: 0114 3830 456
More info: Please click here.

"Bike" - Yorkshire Writers' Competition
Writing Yorkshire, Reading Matters, and NAWE have joined up to mount a major creative writing competition for all ages  under the title of ‘bike’ both to celebrate the 2014 Tour De France passing through Yorkshire, and to encourage both young people and adults to engage with creative writing.

The competition launched on March 3rd 2014, and will close on June 6th 2014. It is completely free to all entrants.

Schools may enter one or more classes into the competition or alternatively a group of students (minimum of 10 entries per
school group). Teachers can access our free ‘Teachers Pack’, which can be found here. The pack contains a variety of creative writing exercises for Foundation/Key Stage 1, & Key stage 2 pupils so that teachers can deliver the competition workshop to their class. Bike is also open to individual entries for 11-16 year olds and adults (16+). Individuals may enter a maximum of 4 poems/prose pieces each.

We have a multitude of prizes to give away to the winning schools and individuals including workshops, book vouchers and prize money. To find out more details about the competition, or to download an entry form visit the website:

Goodbye to Beverley and a warm welcome to Jackie

For the last two years Beverley Ward has been in charge of many areas of development at Writing Yorkshire. Beverley has now stepped down from her role in order to focus more on her own writing and her family, although she will still be involved with Writing Yorkshire as a member and freelancer.

We're very lucky that we now have Jackie Malcolm at the helm of the organisation, ready to take us into a new phase. Jackie has a wide range of experience of arts management and fundraising and will be a great asset to the organisation, supported by the freelance writers who make up the rest of the Writing Yorkshire team.

Jackie is from outside of the area so she will be relying on the freelance writers of Yorkshire to let her know about developments and projects in the writing world. If you'd like to introduce yourself and your work to Jackie then please email her at:

Our good wishes and thanks go to Beverley from everyone here at Writing Yorkshire, we all wish you well and look forward to working with you again in the future.

We welcome your details of events, writing groups, courses, workshops, open mics, in fact anything to do with creative writing. If you have anything that you would like us to publicise then please send the details to us at this address:  - we'll be happy to pass the details on via the newsletter or our website. If you know of anyone that you think may be interested in the newsletter then please do forward a copy on to them.

Wakefield Literature Festival Needs You!
Wakefield Lit Fest was established in 2012 and is an annual festival celebrating and promoting reading, writing and words. It is delivered by Beam and in 2014 the festival will run from 19 – 30 September. The festival is supported by Arts Council England, Wakefield Council and others. To date we have engaged with 5000 people through festival activities.
We’re looking for enthusiastic people with great ideas, which celebrate reading, writing and words to submit proposals as part of the Wakefield Lit Fest ‘Seed Fund Programme’ for 2014. The Seed Fund provides some funding and support to deliver your event alongside marketing support and other benefits.
We want to enable groups and individuals from across the city and district to get involved with the festival by producing their own events. We’re looking to support up to 10 projects and are seeking proposals for events that complement the festival programming, within the festival dates. Your event could be a reading, a spoken word performance, poetry, a book launch – let us know what you would like to do – we’re open to your ideas!
You don’t have to be a seasoned event producer – we will be holding a series of Event Planning Guidance surgeries for successful applicants who may need support and advice to get their event off the ground.
In addition, we may be able to host your event at our base and festival hub, The Orangery, in central Wakefield, at no additional cost (subject to venue availability). Marketing support will be given to all Lit Fest Seed Funded events, including a listing in the Lit Fest brochure, on our website and through our social media channels.
Projects selected to be part of the Seed Fund Programme could receive up to £200 to help deliver their event.
More details: here.
Or to discuss your ideas please contact Sara or Frances:
Phone: 01924 215 550
The Midsummer Poetry Festival
Midsummer Poetry Festival is an upcoming month of festivities that will celebrate the poetry of dozens of artists from Sheffield and beyond.  It aims to run every other year, in conjunction with Sheffield Poetry Festival, and create a varied and inclusive poetry platform at Bank Street Arts, from which countless local and national voices can be heard!
The festival will kick off in style with a launch party from 6pm on the 6th June, with a bar and performances from Juxtavoices! This will be followed by a month of poetry readings, slams, workshops, symposium and specially commissioned exhibitions – the perfect playground for any poetry enthusiast! Finally we will end the way things should end – with a party! There will be performance poets, slam and songwriters, as well as a bar!
The full programme will be released soon, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to stay up to date! We are currently fundraising to host this event, so we are hosting a coffee morning, raffle, and quiz (and potentially a book sale). If you would like to get involved by donating money or prizes for the raffle, buying tickets, helping to organise the fundraising events, joining in with a workshop, reading or slam, or perhaps to donate books or poetry to the sale, please email Hannah Styles:
More info:          
Young Fiction Writers Competition:
Win a Unique Creative Development and Mentoring Programme 
– deadline 12th May
Writers’ Centre Norwich and IdeasTap have just launched a new national writing competition for young fiction writers. IdeasTap Inspires: The Writers’ Centre Norwich writing competition offers ten talented writers a tailor-made programme of professional development, designed to kick-start writing careers. 75 commended writers will also be invited to take part in a regional masterclass, as well as receiving support from Writers’ Centre Norwich and IdeasTap.
Through this unique competition ten fledgling writers will be offered a series of opportunities to help develop their craft, including six months of mentoring, a masterclass, vital industry advice and a bespoke writing retreat.
To apply, or for more information, writers should visit, submit 2000 words of fiction and a 100 word biography. The competition is free to enter.
Zappai 365 - Write a Poem a Day!
How would you like to write a poem a day for a year? Sounds rather daunting? Ok, how would you like to sponsor someone 1 pence a day to do it (or more if you wish) and, into the bargain, they could even write one just for you on a "special occasion" day? £3.65 for the whole year, it's quite a bargain for us and quite a challenge for writer Emma James who started the project off in January.
Here's a few words from Emma: "As any writer knows, it's a hard task to force yourself to write and keep writing when your full-time job and other life commitments continue to steal your time. So I wanted to do something small, something that would force me to make some creative effort on a daily basis, and this is what Zappai 365 is – a poem a day for 365 days. It’s a place where I can post a short poem every day, based on something relevant to that date or the things going on. I also plan to write a number of sponsored poems via request and have themed weeks planned throughout the year."
If you are intrigued then have a look at Emma's website where you can learn more about the project and, at the same time, LEAP at the opportunity to support some excellent charities, encourage Emma and just feel good about giving, keep the circle turning.
To find out more about the project, the charities and Emma then follow the link to the project website here.


Word Life vs Octopus
What: This is a prose and poetry special, where poets and authors will be reading back to back. Featuring an open mic and a reading from Anneliese Mackintosh. As well as appearing in a range of magazines, She's been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and will be releasing her first
book of short stories from Freight Press in July. Also featuring Matt Black, Steve Scott and Joe Kriss.
When: Friday, April 25th, 7.30 pm
Where: The Shakespeare Pub, 146 - 148 Gibralter Street, Sheffield
Cost: £3.00
More info:
Word Life Session
What: We're returning with our regular events featuring the best in spoken word. Featuring Salena Godden + open mic. Salena's one of the biggest names of the UK spoken word scene having headlined events since the late 90s and supporting the likes of John Cooper Clarke.
Her poetry has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 3 and 4 over the last ten years and she's also been a guest vocalist for Coldcut.
When: Friday, May 16th, 7.30 pm
Where: The Shakespeare Pub, 146 - 148 Gibralter Street, Sheffield
Cost: £5/£3 concessions
More info:
Wordsmack Cabaret
The Wordsmack cabaret is a new night of variety entertainment inside a big mouth and features poets, comedians, dancers and musicians and is hosted by Stan Skinny. All are welcome to either watch or take part.
Where: It's at the Bridge inn, Rotherham (just opposite the train station).
When: The last friday of the month.
Cost: Tickets are £3.
More details:


An Evening with David Mark - Sheffield
Join crime novelist David Mark as he talks about his new book, Sorrow Bound - Philippa Longman will do anything for her family. Roisin McAvoy will do anything for her friends. DS Aector McAvoy will do anything for his wife. Yet each has an unknown enemy - one that will do anything to destroy them. Sorrow Bound is a powerful police procedural thriller about how those with the biggest hearts make the easiest targets; and how the corrosive venom of evil can dissolve the bonds between good people, until all they are bound by is grief.
Venue: WATERSTONE'S, ORCHARD Square, Sheffield.
When: Wednesday, 30 April 2014, 6:30PM
Cost: Tickets £2, available from the shop.
Further details: 0114 2728971

Exclusive Book signing (with Beer!) with Danny Wallace - Leeds
Join Danny Wallace at this exclusive signing session of his new book - Who is Tom Ditto? - We join the action just as our 'hero' Tom, (early thirties, reads the 'news' on the radio) finds out that his girlfriend has not left him. Tom, I have not left you. But I am gone. Please carry on as normal. Love always, Hayley. Has Hayley gone or hasn't she? Is she coming back? If she has gone, but is coming back, when is she coming back? And what is he supposed to bloody do in the meantime? Tom is trying to work out who everyone is. Because who is Hayley? Who is this new girl following him around the supermarket? And who, for that matter, is Tom Ditto?
Danny Wallace has also teamed up with Nicholson’s Pubs and Truman’s Brewery to create a new beer to mark the release of his latest novel, Who is Tom Ditto? both of which will be available on the night.
Venue: Scarborough Taps, Bishopsgate Street, Leeds
Cost:  Free event.
More info: 0113 243 4590

New - Children’s Writers North
Join us! We are a new group for practising writers of children’s content (prose and script), or those wishing to write children’s content.
We will be meeting between 6.00 pm - 9.00 pm, at Bank Street Arts, 32 - 40 Bank Street, Sheffield, S1 2DS, on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. If you are interested in writing for children then come along to our first meeting on Tuesday, 13th May, 2014.
The aim of the group is to discuss and explore all aspects of children’s writing, as well as workshopping and fostering collaborations.
For more information, visit our website here. or email:
The Riverside Writers
The group has been in existence for a year and a half and meets most Fridays, 2.00 pm, at the Riverside Library led, on Writing Yorkshire’s behalf, by Rotherham writer Ray Hearne. The group is open to writers of all abilities
Chris Matthews one of the Rotherham Riverside writers has set up a webpage for the group where you'll be able to read some of the writing produced by the group as well as sign up for news about the group.
Click here to take you to the site.
More info:

The Onwords and Upwords Group
The group celebrates it's first anniversary in May. 'Onwords and Upwords' is a friendly and supportive writing group, which meets up fortnightly in Barnsley town centre to explore both ideas for getting started and ways of developing creativity and imagination.
The group has tried out a wide range of starting points for writing and developed an array of stories, poems and prose pieces. Examples include creating characters from the shoes upwards, inventing stories from objects, recycling newspaper and magazine text, stepping into the 8th International Print Exhibition and co-writing a joined up mini-drama script.
Do you have health issues? Are you feeling stressed? Interested in writing? The Onwords and Upwords group invite you to come along to the next session where you will be welcomed, The sessions are free as are the refreshments.
Venue: The Civic Theatre, Barnsley
Dates and time: 1.00 - 3.00pm, Monday 28th April, Monday 12th and 19th May, Monday 2nd, 16th and 30th June.
More info: Please contact Sue Shaw, Writing Yorkshire, at or come along to the next session.

The Beehive Poets
The Beehive Poets are a small but open group formed in 1999. We meet weekly in the comfortable and relaxed surroundings of the New Beehive Inn on Westgate in Bradford. We aim to be a mutually supportive group providing a respectful hearing for any poets reading their work and friendly advice where this is wanted. Newcomers are welcome to come along any Monday at 8.30pm.
You can find details of forthcoming readings and contact details on our website here.
Where: The New Beehive Inn, 171 Westgate, Bradford BD1 3AA 
Holmfirth Writers meet weekly at Holmfirth Library at 6.00 - 7.30pm on a Monday evening, please join us. A fun supportive atmosphere celebrating creativity.
More details on Twitter:  @HolmfirthWrite

South Yorkshire - Young Writers - New members welcome for 2014
Aged 14 to 19? Want to write creatively outside of school or college?
Our Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley Young Writers Groups are now recruiting for new members.
You don’t have to think you’re a great writer to join, you just need an interest in writing and a willingness try something new!
Our groups provide opportunities to:
•     Write, share and talk with other young writers [refreshments provided]
•     Explore a range of creative writing including: stories, poems, scripts, spoken word, lyrics, blogging and journalism
•     Meet fortnightly during term time in a central meeting place [usually 5pm to 7pm on Mon, Wed and Thurs evenings [depending on the group]
•     Access further writing opportunities such as: meeting professional writers, attending writing events and Open Mics, and information on competitions and publishing
To look into joining a groups, contact us via email: (Sheffield & Rotherham) (Barnsley & Doncaster)
Access and forward our flyer here.
You can find out about opportunities for young writers in the Yorkshire region here.  

A Writing Workshop with Carmen Walton
What: Writing short stories for women's magazines. A one day workshop for writers interested in this niche area.
Saturday 26th April 10am - 3pm <<<<<<<<<<<
Where: at the Spiritualist Church Uppermill Saddleworth. Cost: £35. Bring your own lunch. Everything else provided, plus free parking.
Booking required.
Email Carmen Walton -

Crime Story: Making Crime Pay
New Writing North and Northumbria University invite crime writers (aspiring or established) and readers to Crime Story With the scenario in hand, Crime Story participants will be given an in-depth look at how the criminal investigation and trial would proceed, The weekend will consist of a mixture of panel events and practical workshops led by a combination of invited experts, writers and leading academics from Northumbria University who will help you understand the reality behind what the public sees on the page and the screen.
When: 31st May — 1st June 2014
Cost: Tickets are £120 standard and £89 for students.
More info here.

Inkposts – A Space for Enjoying Writing
inkposts is a site dedicated to short, digestible pieces of writing ranging from poetry, fiction, reviews, music and discussions about the craft. You can find us here. -  we also accept submissions here.

Arts Derbyshire Newsletter is a quick way to find out about Derbyshire’s arts scene. To sign up to the newsletter just send an email to:

Support  for would-be self published authors
The Writers & Artists Yearbook has a section on its website aimed at helping writers become self published and achieving their literary dreams. More info here.

Public Library News
Get access to the complete story - What's happening to our libraries, what "stories" are we been told and what the truth really is: 

Writing Yorkshire  Website
If you'd like to find out more about the full range of services that we offer, including mentoring, writers advice sessions, and membership then click here.


Turn the Page for the Doncaster Literary Festival
When: Tuesday 27 May – Friday 6 June
Library Ambassador and Crime Writer Stephen Booth will be officially opening this year’s festival. Following on from a successful first year we are pleased to bring you another exciting two weeks packed with local author talks, poetry, songs, plays and workshops, which will culminate with award winning author of romantic historical novels Val Wood.
Tickets are available from CAST, Doncaster Ticket Office or Tel: 01302 303959
More info here.

The Leeds Big Bookend Festival 
Alan Bennett headlines The Big Bookend festival 2014
Alan Bennett, one of the UK’s most highly regarded playwrights and screenwriters, is returning to Leeds for a series of events dedicated to his life and work. Part of the season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, he will be headlining the Leeds Big Bookend festival for ‘An Audience with Alan Bennett’.
As Fiona Gell, Co-ordinator of the Leeds Big Bookend, said, “The Big Bookend is all about celebrating Leeds’ rich literary heritage and its future talent.With book launches, author Q&As, spoken word and discussions with Leeds writers throughout the weekend, the Big Bookend has a fantastic line-up of events for the city to get involved with."
 Alan Bennett will headline the Big Bookend festival on Sunday 8th June 2014, 2pm at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. For booking information, visit the website or call the box office on 0113 213 7700.
For Big Bookend festival information, please visit the festival website.

Poetry in the City - Bradford
Poetry in the City is a new poetry festival in Bradford City Centre, presented by Ilkley Literature at the annual World Curry Festival.
From 20-22 June 2014, Poetry in the City will offer a feast of exciting poetry alongside delicious food from around the world. There will be readings and workshops by leading poets including Roger McGough, Simon Armitage, Ian McMillan, Moniza Alvi, Joolz Denby, Daljit Nagra and Patience Agbabi.
Free outdoor performances, fun family activities, a poetry treasure hunt and a multi-lingual mushaira all taking place alongside delicious food from around the world.
Follow us on twitter: @Ilkleylitfest
For further details click here.


The English Chicago Review
Founded in 2012, The English Chicago Review is a quarterly small-press poetry journal based in Hull and edited by Ashley Fisher. It takes its name from a nickname of Barrow-in-Furness, an industrial Lancashire town now part of Cumbria. Barrow was dubbed "the English Chicago" in the late-nineteenth century due to the sudden rapid growth of its industry and population in the Victorian era.
Submissions to The English Chicago Review are open all year round. Simply email up to six poems and a brief, third-person biographical note either in the body of an email or as a single attachment to:
Poems should be previously unpublished in the UK. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please do inform us if your work is accepted elsewhere.The only renumeration we are able to offer is a contributor copy of the journal. These take the form of physical copies within the UK and pdf copies outside the UK.
Issue three of The English Chicago Review is out now! Featuring poetry from Rowland Bagnall, Rebecca Bird, Jonathan Butcher, Jim Conwell, Alan Corkish and many more.
Cost: £2.00
More info here. 


Mslexia women's Poetry Competition 2014 - Closing date: 16th June 2014
We welcome poems of any length, on all subjects - as long as they're written by women.
1st prize: £2,000 plus two optional extras: a week's writing retreat at Cove Park and a mentoring session with the Editor of premier magazine Poetry Review. 2nd prize: £400, 3rd prize £200, 17 other finalists will each win £25
SPECIAL NEW PRIZE: £1,000 for the best poem by a previously unpublished woman poet.
Award-winning poet Wendy Cope, OBE has kindly agreed to return to us to judge our 2014 competition.
All winning poems will be published in Mslexia.
More details on the website here.
Prologue to an Adventure: Dylan Thomas International Creative Writing Competition Closing Date: 27th June 2014
Details: Literature Wales is offering young writers aged between 7 and 25 the opportunity to have their creative work published as part of the international creative writing competition,
Prologue to an Adventure. The panel of judges includes writers and personalities such as comedian Mark Watson, and writers Joe Dunthorne and Elen Caldecott. The winning author in the 19 - 25 age category will also get their work published in the winter edition of New Welsh Review. Editor, Gwen Davies will co-select the winning entry for this category.
Entries can be song lyrics, poems, funny limericks - any form of creative writing as long as it has been inspired by the Welsh writer Dylan Thomas and is no longer than thirty lines.
Entry Fee: £ free
Contact: Full details and online entry here.


Workshop Leader, Charnwood Arts
East Midlands Closes Wednesday 30 April 2014 Paid (£15k-20k pro rata) Part time A
Contact: Rebecca Abrahams Email:
Description: Freelance Workshop Leaders required. We are holding a Childrens Literature Festival from July 21st to August 3rd at venues in and around Loughborough. The focus will be to provide workshops based on the Festival name of 'Read Me, Write Me, Draw Me, Tell Me.' That could be storytelling, shadow puppetry, drama workshops, poetry writing, open mic sessions, cartoon or manga drawing and so on. I need you to inspire me with your ideas! the workshops will be for children, young people and their families. The workshop could be for a couple of hours, or all day, it could be aimed at small children or teenagers. We are looking for all sorts of activities for a wide range of ages.
 Email me with your ideas.... I need to know the age group you work with, what your workshop is and what your fee would be.
 If you have any questions email me at:

Apprenticeships in Fiction 2014 - Deadline: Sat 31 May 2014
A one-year professional development programme for aspiring novelists. An opportunity to develop your manuscript under the guidance of an experienced novelist working in the same genre.This is the only programme in the UK that deals with the complete
manuscript (not just extracts.)
Adventures in Fiction offers five placements a year to first-time novelists of commercial and literary fiction, including one for crime, one for fantasy and one for fiction for children and young people (9+ and YA). The placements take the form of an apprenticeships with a professional writer working in the same genre. The five apprentices are selected from open competition.
The original boot camp for writers, the scheme has a high success rate - with over eight publications in eight years and many writers placed with literary agents.
Apprenticeships in Fiction aims to encourage diversity, excellence and originality.
More info here.

If you want to send us an item for inclusion please email it to: with "Newsletter" in the subject line.
Writing Yorkshire provide information about writing events in the region, and run a variety of writing activities throughout the Yorkshire area. If you would like more information please email or ring Geoff on 0114 3830456 (answerphone, but Geoff will ring you back).

Thanks to all who provided information posted here. We will always endeavour to make sure that the information included is accurate but apologies in advance for any errors or omissions which may occur, any corrections or suggestions will be welcomed.
We hope that you enjoy the newsletter.

Writing Yorkshire is a limited company incorporated in England and Wales under company no: 7475298 and is proud to be a National Portfolio Organisation for Arts Council England.
For more information about all of our work, visit our website:
Tweet us @Writingyorks or find us on Facebook

To be kept abreast of writing events and activities in the region or to let us know about events that you're running, please subscribe to our mailing list via the website, by emailing or phone us on 0114 3830456 and leave a message.


Contact Details and information to:
Geoff Briggs - Office & Information Manager
Writing Yorkshire
Bank Street Arts, 32 - 40 Bank Street, Sheffield, S1 2DS.  
Phone: 0114 3830456. (Answer Machine)

Twitter:       @Writingyorks
or find us on Facebook: