Report from Events Manager, David Eadsforth
The 2018-19 season proved to be as exciting as we hoped. In September, Tracey Corderoy, the amazingly prolific author of sixty children / young adult books, and Barry Timms, author and editorial director of Little Tiger Books, described how they collaborated on picture books. In October, Ian Thomas, writer, programmer, and games developer for Talespinners, described the art of game writing and narrative design to a packed house. November saw deeply experienced literary agent Heather Holden-Brown describe the path to publication, and in December the year was rounded off by Penny Ingham, classical scholar, ex-BBC production assistant turned author, who explained the benefits of working with the small independent publisher to research, write, and publish historical novels.
2020 was opened by Lucy Courtenay, author and editor of children’s books, who described how to get started in writing an illustrated children’s book. In February, Edward Docx, thriller writer, explained the craft of creating the bones of a narrative in a single brainstorming session. And in March, Judy Waite, children’s author of more than fifty books, took an interactive workshop approach to tell us how to fire up our creative curiosity.
In April, Neil Arksey, screenwriter, script editor, producer, lead writer on a number of TV dramas, and now author of young adult novels, described how the challenge of finding an agent can meet with success. In May, Stevyn Colgan, policeman turned author, took us through the illustrious history of British comic writing and, to wrap up the year, Simon Hall, news correspondent for twenty-five years, gave us an insight into the real events that have inspired his crime writing; and how to locate a dead otter when circumstances dictate.
All in all, another great season for the HWS.
Report from Liaison Officer, Gary Farnell
2018-19 has been a busy year for the Liaison Officer at the Hampshire Writers’ Society (HWS). Liaison has been mainly at the University of Winchester, but also with other bodies – at both regional and national levels – where there is an interest in the Society’s activities. In addition, there has been further liaison with specific individuals, with a view to putting together the HWS programme for 2019-20.
When vacancies arise on the HWS Organising Committee there is often an element of liaison which comes into play, in order to fill these vacancies. 2018-19 has been no exception in this regard. It is pleasing to report that the HWS Organizing Committee continues to function, in 2019-20, as the hard-working body it has always been.
The Liaison role at HWS also entails acting as moderator at the Society’s monthly meetings, in the post-talk question-and-answer sessions. This is a very stimulating role to perform: it has been a privilege, and a pleasure, to be able to meet with the Society’s speakers and guests in this way.
There will, of course, be further liaison in 2019-20. The Society is already planning its next season: it will be exciting to try to shape a new programme from the activities of the past year.
Report from Competitions Manager, Helen Adlam
The 2018/19 season was busy in terms of competitions. As well as the regular monthly competitions, October 2018 saw the addition of the Hyde 900 poetry competition (organised in conjunction with Edward Fennell), which received 13 entries. The winning poems were read out by actor Nigel Bradshaw at a specially arranged Hyde 900 commemorative event in Winchester. In addition, children’s author, Judy Waite, organised a Wordtamer competition, inviting writers of children’s fiction to enter a short story/novel extract. The prize was a one to one session with Judy to develop the story further, as well as a selection of Wordtamer-related books. This competition received 10 entries.
In terms of monthly competitions, the average number of entries was around 10. However, the competition judged by Claire Fuller in February 2019 – Write a last letter from a parent to a child – proved to be particularly popular, generating 23 entries. Least popular was Write a story outline for a video game, adjudicated by Ian Thomas. This, disappointingly, only attracted seven entries (last season’s lowest figure for entries was 11). Competitions which evoke personal memories, or memories from childhood, seem to be the most popular. It is noted from last year’s report that the most popular competition drew 26 entries, so three less than the 23 generated most recently.
Report from Membership Secretary, Karin Groves
During the 2018/2019 season, the Hampshire Writers’ Society grew to 154 members. Amongst the members you will find published and established authors; those seeking literary agents and publication; students studying for undergraduate or postgraduate degrees or attending creative writing classes; and those for whom writing is a passion or an enjoyable interest.
In the past year, there have been two HWS Book Fairs (December and June) for mainstream and self-published members of the society. This gives authors an opportunity to display and sell their books. The occasion was a great networking opportunity for all members. I am currently taking bookings for the next book fair in December 2019.
Without members paying a subscription fee and visitors paying an entrance fee, the HWS would not have enough income to pay for the speakers, so it is essential to renew the membership, introduce new members and publicise our events to keep the HWS thriving.
The HWS was able to offer a special discount price of £25 until the end of August for 2019/2020 membership. From 1st September 2019, the membership subscription is £30. Students are free on production of a valid student card. Non-members pay £5 per evening. All this is exceptional value for 10 monthly informative and entertaining evenings.
For no extra charge. members have the opportunity to join the HWS Critique Group; enter the monthly writing competitions; and participate in the Members’ Book Fair in December and June.
Due to rising costs for the speakers and falling numbers of people paying a subscription fee, from September 2020, the subscription fee will rise to £35 per year. The cost of a visitor ticket to our Tuesday evening events will rise from £5 to £6. This is the first increase in nine years. Also from September 2020, free membership will only be available to full time students.
It is possible to subscribe or renew your membership at any HWS event by cash, credit card or cheque or email Karin Groves for the HWS bank details to make an online payment.
Planning for 2020/2021 Season
We always have our members in mind when the committee is planning for the next season. After many helpful suggestions and contacts last year, we were able to create a diverse programme of speakers for this coming season. Now we are planning for the next season, so we ask again for your suggestions! Please email your ideas or leave a list at the next meeting.
Volunteering, vacancies and ideas!
The Hampshire Writers’ Society is run by a very small committee of volunteers and we are always looking for people to help in any way they can.
· A Marketing Manager
· HWS Newsletter Editor/Compiler
Report from the Treasurer, Crispin Drummond
The financial statement for 2018/19 has been prepared. It shows a reduction of membership income for the year, at a time when the Society engaged with an increased number of speakers coming from the other side of the country. These additional travel and accommodation expenses meant costs rose importantly. In consequence the Society made a deficit for the year amounting to nearly £2000, and our capital funds are much reduced.
In reaction, The Organising Committee has met to view the forecasts of costs and revenues for the coming year, and to confirm the adequacy of our resources for the remainder of the year. At the same time steps are being considered to replenish the Society’s capital, to boost recurrent revenue, and to re-establish the financial strength as we embark on the next season of the Society’s activities.