Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Yorkshire Writers' newsletter

Here is the latest Yorkshire Writers' newsletter, including Literature Festivals, Writers Groups and Workshops, for my followers to peruse:

Writing Yorkshire


Yorkshire Writers' Newsletter



Writing Yorkshire

Writing Yorkshire provide regular workshops, writing groups, masterclasses and open mic sessions throughout the Yorkshire area, here's a brief list of current sessions that we are running and further details can be found within the newsletter or via the links.

Get Writing with Writing Yorkshire - Writing Group - Sheffield. More info HERE
Onwords and Upwords
- Writing group - Barnsley. More info HERE
Doncaster Church View Writers - Writing Group - Doncaster. More info HERE
Rotherham Riverside Writers - Writing Group - Rotherham. More info HERE
The Tom Treddlehoyle Sessions - Open Mic - Barnsley. More info HERE


Reading Round – a group with a difference

Weekly meetings discovering short stories and poems for the sheer enjoyment of doing so, looking at how writers achieve their effects, led by popular local poet Geoff Hattersley.
No pens, no paper, no prep – like a book club without the homework
When: Wednesdays 1.30-3.00 pm, Started 23rd September 2015        
Where: Methodist Mission, Lord Street, Huddersfield HD1 1QA
Cost: These sessions are free but numbers are limited.
*part of a new national initiative supported by the Royal Literary Fund
More info or to book a place:
Phone - 01484 644959 / e-mail -

Are You in a Writing Group?

Mslexia magazine are looking for new ways of letting women writers know about their latest submission opportunities.
If you are in a writing group and would like a quarterly update about what Mslexia is looking for, just click HERE   and you’ll be redirected to a (very) short contact form to fill in. This will allow them to send you regular email updates of their latest open submission opportunities, along with exercises and prompts to inspire new writing on their current themes.
Mslexia is a high-profile platform for women’s writing, with 12 regular open submission slots, plus four annual competitions, designed to cater for most genres. They have openings for writers of poetry, prose and script, plus opportunities for feature writers, writing groups and women who simply want to air an opinion – their goal is to get as many women writing and submitting as possible.
The magazine is updating their list of writing groups right now, so please share this email with anyone else you think might want to receive a groups submission reminder.
This service is intended especially for writing groups, but don’t worry if you’re not in a group at the moment. Up-to-date submission guidelines are available on their website and in Mslexia magazine itself, which also provides insider info on publishing and creativity, plus pages of competitions, grants, events and other publishers looking for new material.
More details: HERE

Sensing Place: Presence and Absence 
How can we capture the spirit of a landscape though poetry? How can we use history to write poems that speak to our times?
Spend three nights in Ponden Hall, as close as you can get to being in Wuthering Heights itself. The building is rich with evidence of its links to the Brontës and even earlier histories, nestling above Ponden reservoir, beside the Haworth moors.
Through a combination of writing exercises, discussion, reading poems by other writers, one-to-one tutorials and tours and walks, tutors Lindsey Holland and Andrew Forster, editors of The Compass, will help you create new poems in this magical location. Workshops are suitable for beginners or those with some experience who are looking for new inspirations and a fresh approach, and there will be plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and just write.
Where: Ponden Hall, Stanbury, Haworth, BD22 0HR
When: 2nd to 5th November 2015
Cost: £375
More info and to book: Click HERE

There are lots of groups out there, all waiting to welcome you. To find out the details just click - here - this will take you straight to our group listings on the Writing Yorkshire website where you'll find all of the information that you'll need.
Here are details of some of the groups that Writing Yorkshire organise:

Writing Yorkshire Group -
Get Writing with Writing Yorkshire - Sheffield
A group for all writers, experienced or beginners who want to experiment with different forms.
Facilitated by experienced writer and teacher, Beverley Ward, the group offers writing prompts and exercises to generate new writing and provide space for writers to share works in progress.
Dates: Every Wednesday, 11.00 am-1.00 pm.
Venue: Mugen Tea Rooms, The Hide, Scotland Street, Sheffield. S3 7AA
Cost: Pay what you can afford (recommended price £5 per session)
Please email: to register or for more information.

Writing Yorkshire Group -
Doncaster Church View Writers

This group meet monthly on Tuesday evenings, 6.30 pm, at Church View, opposite Tesco, next to St George's House (Minster).
Members are mostly people already busy in various aspects of the creative arts who want to extend their existing skills but the group is open to all who are interested.
More info: Ray Hearne *Please contact Ray to confirm the latest dates & times
Tel: 07903 24 1947 / Email:

Writing Yorkshire Group -
Onwords & Upwords Group
- Barnsley

If you have health issues, or perhaps feeling stressed, then the Onwords and Upwords group is for you. It's a friendly and supportive writing group, which meets up in Barnsley town centre to explore both ideas for getting started and ways of developing creativity and imagination.
New members are always welcome to join the group, the sessions and refreshments are all free.
Venue: The Civic Theatre, Barnsley, Mondays 1.00 - 3.00pm
Dates: Mondays, October 5th and 19th and November 2nd.
More info: Email Sue Shaw, Writing Yorkshire -

Writing Yorkshire Group -
Rotherham Riverside Writers

A writing group for all writers, all styles, all levels of experience and all welcome.
When: Fridays, 2.00 pm
Where: Rotherham Central Library @ the Riverside, Main Street, Rotherham.
More info: Ray Hearne
Tel: 07903 24 1947 / Email:

If you run a group that you would like us to mention then just send the details to us at: and we'll be happy to add them to our listings (thanks to those who have already sent details on to us).


Remake: Remodel Writing Workshop

Words, sentences, pages – there are a lot of them already out there. So what happens when you steal lines and fragments, adding and subtracting text to make new writing? Explore starting points, develop ideas and write yourself right out of a rut with Sue Shaw (SALT+SHAW artefact books). Poetry or short and snappy stories? You decide. Text and other materials will be provided; just bring paper and a pen.
When: Saturday October 17th 2015, 10.30am - 12.30pm.
Where: Bank Street Arts, 32 - 40 Bank Street, Sheffield,  
Cost: £10.00
More info: Tickets and information from:

The Royal Society of Literature/ Booker Prize Foundation Masterclasses 2015 - Putting it into Words with Simon Armitage

This class will be a workshop for keen writers and readers about converting ideas, thoughts and feelings into writing. You will be asked to bring a favourite piece of writing (by someone other than yourself) to read and share with the group. Simon Armitage was born in 1963 in the village of Marsden and lives in West Yorkshire.  He is poet, playwright and novelist. In June 2015 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford University.
Venue:  Marsden Library, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
When: 22nd November 2015, 10.30am – 1.30pm
Cost: £30.00 for RSL Members and £60.oo for the public
Booking: Tickets are distributed by ballot. Please email Ally Temple by 30th September using ‘Simon Armitage Masterclass’ as the subject line, to enter your name. Applicants must be aged 16 or over. Successful applicants will be contacted shortly after the closing date.
More info:


How to Write a Novel with Russ Thomas

This evening class is suitable for beginner writers and those with some experience, this inspiring and productive course consists of writing exercises, workshops, group feedback and 1-1 tutorial
Suitable for beginner writers and those with some experience, you'll work on and develop your own idea for a novel in a supportive and friendly environment. You'll meet like-minded people and have the time and space to explore your writing self, as well as learning how to create strong and interesting characters, build your plot and create a vivid and interesting setting.
Russell Thomas teaches creative writing in Sheffield and is a novelist and short story writer. His debut novel, Firewatching won the 2010 Waterstones Booksellers Bursary. He has an MA in creative writing.
Venue: Wesley Hall, Crookes, Sheffield S10 1UD
When: Tuesday 22 Sep 2015 to 8 Dec 2015 (11 weeks), 7.00 pm - 9.00 pm
Cost: £100 for 11 week course (concessions £80).
More info or to book: Email web:

Writing Yorkshire Session
The Tom Treddlehoyle Sessions - Barnsley.
All Writers and listeners are welcome to join us for an open mic session of poetry, prose and performance that, all done, will leave everyone with a smile on their face and words a-plenty! A welcome will be waiting for you so come along and be amazed by the Words Abound in Barnsley.
When: The last Tuesday of every month, 8.00 pm,
Where: The Tom Treddlehoyle is at 73 Pogmoor Road, Barnsley, S75 2DX
More info: Phone Ray Hearne on 07903241947



Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster Young Writers Groups are always open and welcoming to new members (13s to 19s), here are some details. 

Writing Yorkshire Groups
Writing Workshops for young people aged 13-18 in Doncaster.

Interested in creativity, imagination, words, images and objects? Want to explore new starting points, develop ideas, tell stories, create characters and meet other young writers? Then how about coming along to The Point Community Arts Centre (16 South Parade, Doncaster),  to see what we do?
The group usually meets on Thursdays but contact Sue for the details of the next few sessions. 
We meet up in the café area at 4.45. and share our writing between 5.00 - 7.00 pm. Workshops are free and refreshments are provided.
More info: Sue Shaw:

And if you're in Sheffield or Rotherham ............
Are you aged 14 to 19? Then we have groups for you as well! You don't have to think you're an amazing writer to join, you just need an interest in creative writing and having a go. The groups are very supportive, relaxed and informal and everyone is welcome. Workshops are generally once a fortnight, 5 to 7 or 5.30 to 7.30 with a munchies break in between  As well as writing workshops, we let groups know about other writing happenings like competitions, events and festivals. If you're interested or you know someone who is, say hello to Vicky:

If you're too old for a group but want to know what's happening in Yorkshire for under 25s, drop Vicky a line too.



Coming Soon:

Beverley Literature Festival - 1st - 10th October 2015 - WEBSITE
Ilkley Literature Festival - 2nd - 18th October 2015 - WEBSITE
Sheffield Off the Shelf Festival of Words - TBA Autumn 2015 WEBSITE
Humber Mouth Literature Festival - 6-16 November 2015 - WEBSITE


Poetry submissions for Northern Correspondent

Northern Correspondent are looking to regularly including poetry exploring its use as a form of journalism and reporting. Each issue of the magazine has a theme—previous themes have included 'Cities', 'Appetites' and 'Journeys'—and the themes of the forthcoming issues will be 'Them and Us' and 'Home'.
Northern Correspondent will be looking for three or four poems per issue that would fit with the these themes, that speak of the North, giving a voice to those whose voice isn't always heard.The poetry will be illustrated either with graphics or photography.
If you think you would be interested in contributing either an existing piece or writing a special poem for the magazine, the next final submission date is Friday, 31st October for 'Home'. Please email to submit your poem.
More info: Website


Cafe Writers Open Poetry Competition

Closing date - 30th November
Over £2,000.00 in prizes
Entry fee: £4 per poem; or £10 for 3 poems and £2.00 per poem thereafter
Full details HERE 

The National Poetry Competition 2015  - Deadline 30th October 2015
This year's intrepid judges are David Wheatley, Esther Morgan and Sarah Howe and the prizes are £5,000 for the overall winner, £2,000 for the second, £1,000 for the third, with seven commendations of £200! The top three winners are also published in the Poetry Society's leading international journal, The Poetry Review, as well as having the possibility of reading at some of the UK's top literature festivals. Get your entries in before the deadline of the 31st October online or by post for a chance to be the 2015 champion! 
Since its launch in 1978, the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition has marked a milestone in the careers of many of today’s leading poets. Previous winners include Philip Gross, Jo Shapcott, Tony Harrison, and the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
More info HERE

Writing Yorkshire  Website 
If you'd like to find out more about the full range of services that Writing Yorkshire offer, including mentoring, writers advice sessions, and membership then click 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 we 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.
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:                                                                                              
Copyright © 2015 Writing Yorkshire, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Writing Yorkshire
Writing Yorkshire
Bank Street Arts, 32 - 40 Bank Street,
Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2DS
United Kingdom


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Spooks: The Greater Good film review

Went to see this film with my friends Bev and Aj at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon this morning.

IMDB says: When a terrorist escapes custody during a routine handover, Will Holloway must team with disgraced MI5 Intelligence Chief Harry Pearce to track him down before an imminent terrorist attack on London.

In this Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, The Player) directed and Jonathan Brackley (Humans, Hotel Babylon), Sam Vincent (Spooks, Humans) and David Wolstencroft (Spooks) screenplay, Kit Harington (Game of Thrones, Testament of Youth) stars as Will Holloway and Peter Firth (The Hunt for Red October, Spooks) as Harry Pearce.

Brought in by MI5 and asked by Mace (Tim McInnerny, Notting Hill, 101 Dalmations), Geraldine Maltby (Jennifer Ehle, The King's Speech, Zero Dark Thirty), Warrender (David Harewood, Homeland, Hustle) and new guy, American (Eliot Levey, The Queen, Philomena) to bring in Pearce before escaped terrorist Qasim (Elyes Gabel, World War Z, Interstellar) can wreak havoc on London.

Trusting no-one, least of all Pearce, Holloway must work with and question other agents, including June (Tuppence Middleton, The Imitation Game, Jupiter Ascending), Robert Vass (Michael Wildman, The Sweeney, The Bourne Ultimatum) and Hannah Santo (Eleanor Matsuura, Breaking and Entering, The Love Punch) to draw him in.  Pearce says there is a mole in MI5 and he must make a deal with Qasim to find out who, but when he sacrifices his own undercover operative Erin Watts (Lara Pulver, Live, Die, Repeat, The Special Relationship), can Holloway trust him?

Still of Kit Harington in Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

Four years after the final episode of Spooks on the BBC, a hit espionage series, this feature film has many nods to the programme (though you don't need to have seen the TV show to understand it), and though the film is clearly trying to compete with the likes of James Bond and Bourne, it felt just like an extension of the programme, though admittedly Pearce does have elements of George Smiley about him.  Unlike Bond and Bourne, and where the film has its plus points because of, it is more realistic in that they are expendable, just another case officer that can be silenced if they don't dance to the right tune.  But that is where the believability ends though as I couldn't quite get my head around the first scenes - there is no way we would transfer a wanted terrorist through London during bad traffic without a moveable escort to ease the process, not to mention only have two cars with two officers as back up to the armed pair inside the transporter truck.

There wasn't much in the way of an original plot or character development, but it was refreshing in that it didn't feel Americanised like some action thrillers, though the shots of London and other parts of Britain almost felt like overkill, but the acting was superb.  Firth and Harington were a great pairing and I felt echoes of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in the dynamic.

Still of Elyes Gabel in Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

Trivia: Kit Harington received training from an ex-SAS soldier so that he could play a former MI5 agent in the film and the film follows the British TV series that ran on the BBC 2002-2011 but neither Jennifer Ehle or Kit Harington starred in it.

Still of Peter Firth in Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

You can do good or do well.                                                             6.5/10

Still of Kit Harington in Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

#SpooksTheGreaterGood  #KitHarington  #PeterFirth

Monday, 28 September 2015

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials film review

Went to see this film with the family yesterday at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon.

IMDB says: After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.

In this Wes Ball (The Maze Runner, Beginners) directed film, taken from the novel by James Dashner and screenplay written by T. S. Nowlin, that is the sequel to 2014 movie The Maze Runner, Dylan O'Brien (The Internship, Teen Wolf) once again stars as Thomas, with his fellow Gladers Minho (Ki Hong Lee, Maze Runner, The Stanford Prison Experiment), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Love Actually, Game of Thrones) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario, Moon, The Truth About Emmanuel). 


In one of the first scenes, we see them rushed into a facility under armed guard, almost overwhelmed by armed enemies and wait, what was that ridiculous shadow person on the hill.....(no it can't be surely?  There was no hint to this stupid possibility in the previous film)

Free from the maze, they are now in a facility with other Maze Runners (that's right, there were other mazes and suddenly your interest in them is gone because not only are there tons of survivors, they aren't even the best because they took longer to get there than the rest), where they make friends with Frypan (Dexter Darden, Cadillac Records, Joyful Noise) and Winston (Alexander Flores, Delivery Man, The Whackness) (one of whom, you just know is wearing a red Star Trek uniform) and are given food, water and a place to sleep by the leader of the facility Jansen (Aidan Gillan, Game of Thrones, The Dark Knight Rises), who you know immediately is a bad guy and not just because he is Littlefinger from Game of Thrones.

Of the original ones, Thomas is the only one that is suspicious, mostly because they have separated Teresa from him (though we are secretly quite pleased because she's not a great character and only seems there to give Thomas something to save that might have a link to his past) but he is not alone, enigmatic Aris Jones (Jacob Lofland, Mud, Justified) who we are suspicious of because he is the only one with a last name - this MUST have some significance that will be revealed later right?  Aris sneaks in to Thomas' room while the others are asleep (quietest grate removal ever) and leads him through the air vents to show him the doctors shipping in bodies in monitored containers.  Intrigued because every day several teenagers are taken to 'start new lives', Thomas decides he wants to know more and steals a name card (whilst making Jansen suspicious that he might be a bit more savvy to what is really going on - bad move) and he and Aris go exploring once more, this time managing to gain access to the high-security room they are keeping the drugged and being drained teenagers in (we see some kind of floating, giant, curled-up prawn thing in water, but we don't stop to investigate that, or in fact make reference to them again throughout the movie).  Hiding behind some convenient pillars because Jensen and another man arrive, they get to witness that Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson, The Green Mile, Friends with Benefits) head of WCKD, is still alive and planning to speed up the process and, horror of horror, he and his friends are going to be next.  Luckily, not only do they go unseen by all of them, they manage to get back to the room and warn his roommates, block access to the room and be ready for off, all before Jansen and his security get there (oh and we've got the two new guys - be useful that red uniform - and Teresa of course, mustn't forget her).

Jansen warns them that they won't survive long in the Scorch, but they want to get to the Red Arm (handily mentioned by Ava in her conversation with Jansen, who should know all about them) in the mountains.

They make it to a ruined and abandoned building where they wander through the sand and debris until they find a power source (because they find a tied-up skeleton with a lamp aimed at it, you know all like we've been tortured to death, we decide that the main thing to think about is finding the power) and turn it on.  This is where all hope for the franchise dies, if you will excuse the pun, because out come the zombies.  Yes, that's right, zombies. 

Now I have not read the books (I know, unusual for me) so I don't know how true the film is to the novels, but why would you put the fantastic grievers into the first one (at worst a WKD-trained killing machine, at best an alien) and then ruin it all with zombies in the second.  You have built your audience up for one thing, and got them excited by the prospect, only to rip away what could be a great arc to build on and ruin a perfectly good franchise with the injection (again, excuse the pun) of unbelievable zombies.

I know the film is a 12 (why when there are zombies and drug scenes?) so maybe they deliberately made them hilarious so as not to frighten too much, but seriously?  Thank goodness I had a 2 for £8 cinema voucher but that is 132 minutes of my life I won't get back.

Giancarlo Esposito (best known for the excellent Breaking Bad) then makes an appearance as Jorge and Rosa Salazar (Insurgent, Epic) as Brenda, and after first appearing to not want to help, change their minds and decide to follow them to something they only a little while ago, thought was a myth.

Enough spoilers, needless to say none of the loose ends are tied up (another movie to come, but by now, you don't care anyway because you won't want to see any more) and we are not given mentions of the alien looking things, the reason why Aris has a surname or why Teresa is there (unless as a plot device - if you see the film, you will know why). 

Again, I have not read the books but I suspect the following, the aliens are the reason for the virus, Ava Paige is Thomas' mother and they are all probably in a 'Matrix' type situation any way.  I hope I am wrong and Teresa has a purpose, Aris having a surname has a vital reason and that the prawns do too.  But, my family and I won't be finding out by watching the third film.

This film is listed as a action, sci-fi, thriller but seriously, it should be a comedy or better still, The Scorch Trials: Example of how to ruin a movie franchise.

5/10 (would be a 2, but some of the acting was superb considering the script they had to work with)


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Brighouse Comedy Festival

The first Brighouse Comedy Festival starts tomorrow:

The first ever Brighouse Comedy Festival is nearly here!

Brighouse makes you laugh!

The first, week-long, Comedy Festival opens in Brighouse on Monday 28th September. It promises to be a week of fun for everyone. From amateurs to top professionals, the choice is yours. You can be a star or just enjoy the humour from stars of the stage and the small screen to the best of the Edinburgh Fringe.
The full programme, spanning 8 fun filled days promises to be a laugh all the way for young and old alike.
Headline acts include Alun Cochrane, as heard on the BBC' "Just a Minute" etc, Comedian of the Year Brennan Reece, comedians direct from the Edinburgh fringe including Fern Brady and
A Big Comedy Night on Friday starring Anthony J Brown, Rivka Utley and Tom King
See the website for full programme
Smug Roberts, as seen in 'Phoenix Nights', 'That Peter Kay Thing' and 'Mrs Brown's Boys'. One of the many stars at the Brighouse Comedy Festival.
The fun starts on Monday September 28th with an open micnight at Millers Bar (free) and another open mic at Lane Head Hotel on Tuesday 29th (£3).
Wednesday 30th is "A Taste of Edinburgh" at Rastrick Bowling Club (£10) and Thursday 1st October brings "The Discount Comedy Checkout" to Brighouse Sports Club (£8). They promise a night of improv, game shows and character sketches.
Friday 2nd is Big Comedy Night at the Holiday Inn (£10) and again at the Holiday Inn, on Saturday 3rd, is the big night of Alun Cochrane and support acts (£14.50)
Children's shows are at Central Methodist on Saturday 3rd October at 2pm (£3.50) and Prego's restaurant on Sunday 4th at 1pm (£9 inc. food).
Book now online or at Harrison Lord, Simply Flowers and Ryecorn Wholefoods in Brighouse (cash only). Ring 01484 711835 for enquiries.
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Our mailing address is:
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