Coffee Morning

On Tuesday, August 16th in the cafe at the Arc, Winchester (also known as Winchester Library), come along from 10:30am to meet fellow members of the Hampshire Writers Society. Discuss your work-in-progress (or your writers block) and make new writer friends in a relaxed setting, or just enjoy coffee and cake.

Though primarily aimed at members, non-members are welcome to come and find out about the society.

If you’re planning to attend, please email inquiries @ hampshirewriterssociety.co.uk — you don’t have to, but it’s nice to have an idea of numbers. And if you’d love to come, but can’t make it this time, it would also be nice to hear from you, in case we run this again.

Hampshire Writers’ Society 2022-23 Programme

Confirmed speakers – more details on the way

September 13th 2022 – To Be Confirmed

More information soon…

October 11th 2022 – Jenny Saville

More information soon…

November 8th 2022 – Clare Whitfield

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Getting noticed in the Slush Pile

Clare will talk about her journey to getting published. It’s a very difficult industry to break into and she will talk about how she secured a two book deal and agent on submission and the process from contract to publishing a debut novel, and what to expect. 

Clare Whitfield was born in Morden in 1978 (at the bottom of the Northern line) in Greater London. After university she worked at a publishing company before going on to hold various positions in buying and marketing. She now lives in Hampshire with her family. Her debut novel, People of Abandoned Character, won the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award and was also short listed for the HWA Debut Award, and was also published by Head of Zeus. Her second novel, The Gone and the Forgotten, is out June 9th 2022.

Special Guest – Gregory Sayer

December 13th 2022 – Susmita Bhattacharya

Title: My Writing Journey: An unconventional route to publication

Did I dream of becoming a published writer? No, because it did not occur to me that such a thing was possible for an ordinary girl growing up in Mumbai. After graduating with a degree in graphic design, and sailing on oil tankers for three years, I settled down in Cardiff, and the world of writing opened up for me. Let me share with you my early experiences of writing and how I became a published writer and hopefully inspire you in your writing journey.

Susmita Bhattacharya is an Indian-born writer. Her debut novel, The Normal State of Mind (Parthian, 2015) was long-listed at the Mumbai Film Festival, 2018. Her short story collection, Table Manners (Dahlia Publishing, 2018) won the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection (2019) and was a finalist for the Hall & Woodhouse DLF Prize, 2019 and has been featured on BBC Radio 4. She teaches creative writing at Winchester University and facilitated the ArtfulScribe Mayflower Young Writers programme in Southampton. She was also Writer-in-Residence at the Word Factory, London in 2021. You can find her on Twitter: @Susmitatweets

January 10th 2023 – Nate Crowley

Nate Crowley is an author, interactive fiction consultant, videogames journalist and public speaker.
Nate has worked as a journalist, a publisher, a teacher and an aquarium guy. He has a degree which involved all sorts of stuff but basically ended up being about the history of natural history. He enjoys a good trip to the zoo, creating feasts, and staring into the wasteland behind his house. He loves to talk about beasts and SF and the sea, plus history and films and all kinds of nerd stuff.

February 14th 2023 – Nick Cook & Yarrow Townsend

Nick Cook

After completing a Fine Arts Degree Nick Cook joined the emerging video game industry back in the 80s. It was the start of a long career and he produced graphics for many of the top-selling games on the early home computers, including Aliens and Enduro Racer. He worked on titles such as X-Com, and set up two studios, which produced Warzone 2100 and the Conflict: Desert Storm series. He has around forty published titles to his name.

At the end of 2006 he was finally ready to pursue his other passion as a full-time career: writing. Many years later, he completed his first trilogy, Cloud Riders. Going on to publish over sixteen books.

Yarrow Townsend

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Yarrow Townsend spent her childhood among the moss, oak and heather of the New Forest. After working as a teacher, and then as a stablehand, Yarrow completed an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University, before returning to the forest to work for the RSPB. Always in search of ways to be closer to the outdoors, Yarrow now lives on a narrowboat, travelling the canals with her garden on the roof. The Map of Leaves is inspired by her life by the woods and the water, and by her own parents’ herb books.

March 14th 2023 – Claire Gradidge

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Claire Gradidge was born and brought up in Romsey. Her career included working as a nurse, a school librarian and an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing. She has had some short fiction and poetry published in South, Orbis and Vortex.

Her novel, The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox, a crime fiction set in Romsey in World War II, was selected as the winner of the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition in January 2019.

Josephine Fox returned in Treachery at Hursley Park House. In January 1943 Josephine goes undercover to investigate information leaks and espionage at Hursley Park House, where Spitfire modifications are being designed.

April 11th 2023 – Cheryl Butler

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Shakespeare, Travelling Players & The Historic Henry

Looking at the events of 1415, which had a big impact on Hampshire, Shakespeare’s interpretation, and looking at his potential knowledge of the area via the travelling players routes.

Cheryl Butler has a twin passion for history and drama which combine together in her work as a playwright, novelist, and inform her lectures and guided tours. As a contributing editor for the Southampton Records Series she continues to work as a serious scholar whilst working as a cultural manager in the arts and supporting several heritage organisations in a voluntary capacity.

May 9th 2023 – Joanna Barnard

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From Rejection to Auction: Failure and Success in the Writer’s Life

Includes top tips on practical things like working practice and seeking representation / publication.

Joanna Barnard is a published author, workshop leader and writing mentor. After winning the Bath Novel Award in 2014, Joanna’s first two books were published by Penguin Random House, and she subsequently also qualified as a hypnotherapist and psychotherapeutic counsellor, nowadays specialising in bereavement care. Joanna’s two main passions, therapy and words, led to her designing and facilitating a series of workshops in Writing for Wellbeing. She also teaches introductory novel writing skills. Joanna continues to write and is working on her next novel.

June 13th 2023 – Della Galton

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Della Galton is a novelist, short story writer and journalist with over 35 years’ experience. Her writing credits include ten novels, several novellas and over 2000 short stories published in the UK and abroad.  

She is the agony aunt for Writers’ Forum magazine and is a qualified Adult Education tutor. 

Her latest novels, The Bluebell Cliff series, are published by Boldwood Books. Her ‘How to Write’ Books are available from Amazon.  For more information about Della see www.dellagalton.co.uk



June 14th: Tamar Hodes

Tuesday 14th June, 6.30pm – 9.30pm

Stripe Studio

Book Fair from 6.30 in the foyer.

Speaker: Tamar Hodes, author

Talk:  Life Drawing, Life Writing

In life drawing classes there is a model, but when we write we have no such model, so where do our ideas come from? And how can experiences be turned into fiction? Using her story ‘The Pigeon’, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, writer Tamar Hodes will show us how she used a real incident as a basis for her work, combining fact with imagination and technique. She will also read from her latest novel Mixed.

Tamar’s books – Raffy’s ShapesThe Watercress Wife and Other StoriesThe Water and the Wine, and Mixed will be on sale and she will happily sign copies.

Special Guest: B Random, author

A passion for sci-fi/ fantasy  as a teenager led to her writing a first book aged fourteen. After a family and a career in law and medicine came a chance to return to her first love for writing. Her inspirations come from science, wildlife and nature, especially the sea. She has been a member of the Hampshire Writers’ Society since its inception.

The appeal of living in another world, escaping from the mundane, endures.  Delighting in the weird and wonderful, sharing glorious flights of imagination, she draws you into fantasy lands and darkest emotion. The style will take your breath away and make you smile. Expect a vivid roller-coaster of action, emotion and the unexpected. For her, the writer’s reward is to take other people into that brand new world and show them its magic.

HWS Members entry: free

Visitors tickets £10; Students £2

May 10th: Beth O’Leary

Writing with Hear

Tuesday 10th May, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Winton Building Room 5,  University of Winchester

Beth will discuss her writing journey, how and why she writes uplifting fiction, and why she believes reading should never be a guilty pleasure.
Beth O’Leary is a Sunday Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than 30 languages.
She wrote her debut novel, ‘The Flatshare’, on her train journey to and from her job at a children’s publishing house. The book has been longlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Prize and shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award.
Beth now lives in the Hampshire countryside and writes full time.
Beth O’Leary’s latest book, The No-Show  was published by Quercus on 5th April 2022 and on 24th April reached No.5 on the Sunday Times Bestseller List.

Special guest: Louise Morrish
Louise Morrish is a Librarian from Hampshire whose debut novel won the 2019 Penguin Random House First Novel Competition in partnership with the Daily Mail. She finds inspiration for her stories in the real-life adventures of women in the past, whom history has forgotten. Her novel, Operation Moonlight will be published on 21st July 2022.

HWS Members entry: free

Visitors tickets £10; Students £2

Networking from 7pm

Book Stalls : P&G Wells Books and HWS Member Dai Henley

Tips for Book Sellers!

The Hampshire Writers’ Society December book fair will be taking place in just a few days –

Tuesday 10 December at 6.00 pm.

So here are 6 very quick ways to promote your stall from author and strategist EMMA-NICOLE LEWIS.

Emma’s tips are a swift and easy way to let potential readers know about your presence at the book fair:

  1. ESTABLISH YOUR PROMOTIONAL HOOK

    Author and Strategist, Emma-Nicole Lewis

This is the first thing that you need to do. It will give you something to shout about that will attract attention and make people feel as though they’ll be missing out if they do not attend.

Is there something unique or special that you can offer on the night? Here are some examples:

‘Buy one book and get another half price’.

‘30% off on the night’

Everybody loves to feel like they have snagged themselves a bargain, so could you play with your pricing strategy? Use a pricing offer or a discount that works for you, without losing money.

Or, how about offering all those who buy on the night an entry into a prize draw for a 10 local bookshop voucher? If you are not successful, you can use the voucher in another promotion. You’re likely to only need sell a few books to get a return on that investment. If you feel confident that you are likely to break even through your sales, you can offer a bit more as a bigger hook.

Alternatively, you may want to lead with a message that focuses on supporting local authors this Christmas or lead with an offer that offers a personal touch. For example:

‘Give a unique gift to someone special this Christmas – a signed book containing a personal message from the author’.

It is up to you what kind of message you will use to draw people to the fair and your stall, but try and think of the sort of thing that is likely to appeal to your target readers.

When you have defined your ‘hook message’, ensure that this is exactly what you say on all promotional material. Consistency is key to reinforcing and reminding!

  1. PROMOTE ON YOUR WEBSITE

People stumble across your website all the time. Ensure the message is on the front page and in your news/events section or blog, if you have either of these menu options.

You could always direct people to your website’s contact page inviting them to get in touch in order to ‘reserve a book’ so that you can ensure that one is kept aside for them. If you generate responses to this, you are creating a level of commitment for visitors to actually attend and buy one of your books.

  1. USE SOCIAL MEDIA

    Goodies at HWS Book Fair

There are a variety of ways that you can use social media to shout about what you are offering at the book fair:

  • Creating a banner to add to your Facebook and Twitter accounts will help keep the message front of mind for all your followers. Below is an example of a Facebook banner I have used for promoting one of my own books. It sits on top of my author page so that followers always see it whenever they visit my page.
  • Create an event on Facebook. You have the option to do this on your main Facebook page and followers will see it.
  • Create a post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram promoting the fair and what you are offering there. Ensure that you use hashtags to attract local people, but you can take the message a little broader by popping some more generic ones in too. For example,

WinchesterChristmas

Winchester

Christmasmarkets

bookfair

Winchesterbookfair

I tend to check out which hashtags are trending and try and use them, if appropriate and relevant.

  • Publish an advert on Facebook, but ensure you refine it to only go out to UK Facebook Users and to those in ‘Winchester’. You may have to refine using ‘Winchester’ as part of the target audience’s interests. Cleverly work something into your copy in order to encourage people to comment on the post and share.
  1. USE LOCAL VENUES TO PROMOTE

Can you leaflet drop in coffee shops, specific shops that your readers are likely to visit, or community centre noticeboards?

The Stripe Lecture Theatre

Are there local book clubs you can send an email to, advising of the book fair and your promotional offer there – particularly if you are leading with a message that offers a discount to local book club members?

A successful tactic I once used was to stand up in front of a very large gym class and use the instructor’s microphone to promote my book. I left a home printed leaflet behind too. A large WI book club bought it as a result and that led to more opportunities too. So, if you are a member of a club or a gym, enquire whether they will let you shout about your stall. Make sure you do leave behind a leaflet though, as people will forget if they do not have something with details on it.

  1. TRY AND USE LOCAL PRESS

If there is time to get into a print run of a local paper and you think your message has enough stand out, then there is no harm in contacting the Daily Echo or the Chronicle. You are likely to have missed the opportunity with any of the Winchester magazines, but it is worth trying weekly publications.

  1. WORD OF MOUTH

    HWS June Book Fair

Ask your friends and family to share this message too. If you know anyone locally who has read your book, get them to recommend it and share the message. Word of mouth is a wonderful tool.

September is a New Year

September! For Hampshire Writers’ Society, September is the start of a whole new year. The programme for our forthcoming season is now shining brighter than a diamond on the website.

E. M Davey

We’re starting the year off with Thriller writer E. M Davey. Ed spent eight years with the BBC, going undercover for Panorama, presenting the BBC World Service, and working on investigations for Newsnight, File on 4, and News at Six. He has visited more than sixty countries and next Tuesday Winchester where he will recount to HWS how adventure, travel, history, and investigative journalism have inspired his thrillers.
PG Wells Proprietor and HWS Treasurer, Crispin Drummond is our special guest. Crispin will spill the beans on how book shops choose the books that they stock and sell and where those books come from. His talk will be a must for writers planning on self-publishing.

Claire Dyer

In October, our speaker is Claire Dyer. Claire is a novelist and poet who likes love stories and cheese! However, she is “allergic to mussels, oysters and the like.” Still, Claire is proud to announce that she has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London which, when added to her BA in English & History from the University of Birmingham, and her MA in Victorian Literature & Culture from the University of Reading she has “three degrees so all she needs is to be able to sing in tune and wear sequins without looking foolish!” You must join us for Claire’s talk; it promises to be a giggle. Writer and poet Hilary Hares joins Claire as special guest.

Laura Williams

Literary Agent, Laura Williams in November is going to bring us all back down to earth with some myth-busting about the publications industry. November special guest is to be novelist of history and the supernatural, Emma Nichol-Lewis.

Caroline Wintersgill

Editor, Caroline Wintersgill in December is going to let us in on a secret – What Editors Want. Our own wonderful historical novelist, David Eadsforth is our Christmassy special guest.
Before you get excited about Christmas, HWS has four excellent speakers worth a listen even if their writing isn’t your thing. All genres, types, makes or brands of writing go into making a novelist and our speakers are eager to pass on that tip-bit that will click all your everythings together.

Check the programme on the website for monthly competitions and the remainder of the 2019-2020 programme.

Post by Lisa Nightingale

Snegurochka to Winchester

Dr Judith Heneghan, Creative Writing Senior Lecturer, Programme Leader for the MA Writing for Children and award-winning children’s writer, has returned to the beginning. Her first contemporary fiction for adults, Snegurochka, has been published.

Snegurochka, an English mother’s experiences in newly independent Kiev, is to be published by Salt with a release date of 15 April. Another first for Judith was seeing it for sale on P&G Wells’ stand in the foyer at April’s Hampshire Writers’ Society meeting:’A very special moment for any writer,’ she says.

It was at the Winchester Writers’ Festival that Judith met her editor and publisher. A writer needs to be part of a community, a convergence of like-minded writers, a portal into the world of publishing. Hampshire Writers’ Society is one such community and The Winchester Writers’ festival provides another.

Recently retired as Director of the Winchester Writers’ Festival, Judith intends to concentrate on the activity of actually doing the writing.

Sara Gangai will very capably follow in her footsteps, but before she commenced her talk to us, Sara paid tribute to Barbara Large, founder of both the festival and the Hampshire Writers’ Society. ‘Barbara’s voice, with its feisty nature and inability to say the word “no”,’ Sara said, ‘is a constant in my head, reminding me to be considerate, kind and inclusive to all writers.’ A memorial service for Barbara will be held in the University chapel on the Sparkford Road Campus on the Saturday of the Festival. ‘Barbara’s spirit will be “chuffed” to be there,’ Sara laughed.

The Festival will be held on the weekend beginning 14th June. Enterprising writers will be given the chance to build up a network of writing friends and contacts; ‘People come from all over the world,’ Sara advised us.

Friday sees two panels running along-side each other on both floors of the Stripe.
Let your hair down afterwards at the open mike in the Terrace Lounge right next to the Terrace bar before the knuckle down of Saturday begins.

The day begins with the plenary speaker, award-winning children’s author, Katherine Rundell. Tickets for this event alone can be purchased. The rest of the day is filled with a variety of workshops, tea, cake and an on-tap agony aunt! Seventy or so industry specialists will be in attendance and the opportunity of a fifteen-minute, one-to-one interview with one or two of them will prove invaluable.

Sunday forms a writing workshop, ‘a chance to put into practise everything that you learned on the Saturday,’ Sara tells us.

Tickets are selling fast. The community created by the Festival will be abuzz with writers. It really is a must just to be around so many friendly faces. Please do come along – it will be wonderful to meet you.

Report by Lisa Nightingale

HWS December Report – Special Guest Joan McGavin

Poetry can be found everywhere. Something Joan McGavin made quite clear in her presentation at this month’s Hampshire Writers’ Society meeting.

An assignment for the Creative Writing PHD, centring on the study of Phrenology, had her trawling through a rather large collection of death masks! The masks are the property of the Hampshire Cultural Trust and it is believed were owned by the surgeon at HM Winchester Prison whose father was Giles King Lyford; Jane Austen’s doctor during her final illness.

Pre-dating photography, some of these masks are the only remaining evidence of what the person looked like. They led Joan to question our everyday issues and, when borrowing one, to witness and note the effects it had on passers-by. The death masks often look so strange because the subjects have had their heads shaved so as to show the shape of the skull more clearly.

“With no hair, they tend to look even odder!” Joan says.

Still, when discussing poetry, we like to pigeonhole it.

Two of the masks inspired particular poems – the subjects both executed for murder. The first was used in an exhibition of the subject in Edinburgh’s Anatomical Museum. The Second featured on a ‘poster presentation’ at an archaeology and anatomical sciences-run conference at the University of Southampton this year, called “Skeletons, Stories and Social Bodies”.

Enjoy and just before you go; a note from Joan: “Don’t have nightmares!”

Baby Face Death Masks
Even his name’s too cute,
too childish –
John Amy Bird Bell –
to suggest a murderer.
And here’s his death mask:
complete with eyelashes
and almost dimples,
especially on his right cheek;
the skull shaven
for the phrenologist’s hands.
I read somewhere
about “flaxen curls”.
He was fourteen years old.

It’s said he was brass-necked
throughout the trial,
admitted he’d stabbed
the boy a year younger
in woods near Rochester,
for the three half-crowns,
a shilling and sixpence
he was carrying home to his father.
John’s brother was look-out,
got the shilling and sixpence
as his share of the loot.

Even his name’s too
monosyllabic.
Looking hard at this
cherubic face,
the lips not quite beyond
a baby’s pouting,
the eyelids closed as if
in needed sleep,
I’m convinced that all
I would have wanted to do,
were he alive,
is give him a hug,
some bread and scrape
or a toy diabolo.

To see it you must cradle it up
and out of its bubble-wrap swaddling
into the room’s light

where you’ll compare the marks left
by damp or age to plaster become skin
broken out in a rash,
to lichen flowering over rocks

and wonder at the detail in the moulding:
eyelashes, facial hair,  evidence of how death
was met – the rope-mark that collars the neck.

Posed on its smooth, round plinth
where a name once was but now
a lighter-coloured patch marks the place,
the face remains anonymous.

You catch yourself glancing past,
see the person in the background
doing perfectly ordinary things

or you’ll start talking to it,
carry it round in your arms,
gash crimson onto its lips and line with kohl
its closed, blank eyes,

smear some life into it.

Report by Lisa Nightingale

11th December – Hampshire Writers’ Society Published Members’ Book Fair

Hampshire Writers’ Society Published Members’ Book Fair

11th December 2018 from 6pm – 7.30pm

Di Henley
Di Henley

 followed by a talk at 7.30pm from 

historical novelist

Penny Ingram

Researching, Writing and Publishing Historical Fiction

with special guest author,

Rosie Travers

Programme finishes at approximately 9.30pm

The Stripe Building, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester

Come along and meet the  authors who are all members of the Hampshire Writers’ Society. Talk to them about their path to publication. Some will have their books available for sale and signing on the night.

 Rosie Travers

Anthony Ridgway

B.Random

The Chandlers Ford Writers: Maggie Farran, Sally Howard, Karen Stephen and Catherine Griffin

 Damon L.Wakes

Eve Phillips

Dai Henley

Averil Branson

Anne Wan

Justin Strain

Karen Hamilton

Martin Kyrle

David Bruce

Joan McGavin

To find out more about the authors and their books please go to: December Book Fair Authors