HWS Meeting October 2015 – great stuff

Despite feeling awful due to a rather nasty infection, I attended the October meet-up of Hampshire Writers’ Society at Winchester university last night. Once more, I am really please I pushed past the pain and illness to attend – I’ve mentioned the society and recommended the meetings before, but I really have to stress that it’s worth anyone in or around the area to attend the meetings. Why? Simply because of the quality and range of speakers that Barbara and the committee bring in.

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Alone Together

Alone Together - BCU School of English Anthology 2015

Alone Together – BCU School of English Anthology 2015

This years anthology has been released from BCU English School, again with contributions from students (PhD to BA) and a couple of lecturers. Once again, content is incredibly varied . Like last year, I don’t think it will be available other than through BCU School of English, though copies could be ordered direct from the university. My contribution was the previously mentioned ‘Etayne Danced for Gryngolet’, an alliterations inspired by a study of ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ during my MA.

I missed the presentation evening as a grandson was mid-way through being delivered and I was sharing the moment with my daughter and her partner. However, I was delighted to receive this year’s award for Fiction. Again, the book has been entered into a few competitions so I won’t mention the theme and title.

Another school prizegiving! I’m not quite sure what I will spend the Watertsones vouchers on this time, though. However, I am intensely enjoying the thought of browsing and having to spend vouchers in a bookshop: joy, oh joy!

A living wage…

Recently, the Bookseller and the BBC both published articles on the early results of an Author’s Licensing and Collection Society (ALCS) report called ‘What are words worth now?’. It’s no suprise to learn that the headline news is that the average UK professional (full time) author earns just £11,000, down from £12,330 in 2006. The reality is much worse: the infamous ‘real terms’ drop is from £15,450 and the average income of all authors is only £4,000. :wince: The ALCS report mentions the £16,850 Minimum Income Standard – that required to maintain a minimum standard of living – and suggests this disparity may be why full-time authors are in a decline.

Am I allowed a moment of sarcasm? What a surprise.
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I am therefore I write

BCU Anthology cover 2014

The BCU School of English anthology 2014

The anthology recently released from BCU English School with contributions from students (PhD to BA) and a couple of lecturers. It has varied content: the script for a short TV drama, poetry, short stories, haiku (I particularly liked those) as well as the ‘100’ short I mentioned earlier. I don’t think it will be available other than through BCU School of English, though a number of copies were available on the night and it has an ISBN suggesting general availability.

As I mentioned on Facebook – it was a good evening with R J Ellory particularly impressive in his lecture on writing. It helped that the upshot of his talk, for him, was ‘I am therefore I write’, and for us it was encouraging in that he spoke of his 22 unpublished novels that are sitting in his attic and which will never see the light of day. There is hope as I merely have three in my own attic.

Books from the BCU summer show award for screenwriting, shared with Nafisa Muhtadi.

Books from the BCU summer show award for screenwriting.

Apart from some readings (I read ‘100’, a few others read their contributions) there were also a number of awards given out for work on the MA. I was totally surprised – delighted – to share the screenwriting prize with the worthy Nafisa Muhtadi.  As I mentioned on Facebook, Nicky Tate also won an award or two and a couple of others were given out for stage plays. Apart from RJ Ellory’s latest book, ‘Carnival of Shadows’ (which I am quite enjoying, to be honest) we also had a Watersontes voucher which I spent on ‘Blitz Families’ and ‘When the children came home’ – both books on the effects of evacuation on others or at other times.

Yes, there is a project concerned with evacuees, at the moment!

Feels like school prizegiving, again.  Not that I ever got any awards at secondary school!

New Drugs, New side-Effects, 100 doesn’t work

A few monts ago I wrote a creative non-fiction piece called ‘100’. It covers an individuals search to lose weight given a disability that prevents a lot of exercise.  His scales tip 100kg at the start and become his enemy; by the end he has found a way to overcome their arrogant display of three-digit numbers and lose weight.

No, it wasn’t all truth; and yes, it was based on some truth.  I found that I gained weight on gabapentin and could not stop the weight gain.  Even after coming off it, I lost some but then stalled (yes, okay, at around 100 kg – that bit’s true). I was worried about my health, not only my wardrobe and vanity, but had just got over the last surgery and was beginning to feel pretty good (Pain Management regime permitting).  So I worked out a diet that might help me given that I was limited in what exercise I could perform. The diet worked, exercise and pain was managed, but I then suffered a setback due to the side effects of pregabelin.

It’s worth sharing those side-effects, I think.

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A story of our village…

On the virtual kitchen workbench at the moment is the 2nd edition of the Shipton Bellinger village history.  First produced in 1984 it was the output of the Village History Society and was intended for private circulation, to villagers only.  The society no longer exists but passed on the baton to the village website to keep the history going.  It was hope that a subsequent print could be made of teh original document, perhaps updated.

The principal authors and editors of the first edition, Sam Hart and Jean Hinde, have now died.  However, given the village links to the military in WWI, 1914 seems a good year to finally put it out, in kindle and other formats, too.  All the original text was scanned for the village website but the maps and photo’s presented a problem: some cannot be reproduced without violating copyright and others are just too far gone to make any sense of them.

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