2011/2012

Tuesday 12th June 2012

Lindsay Ashford – crime fiction author

‘The Mysterious Death of Jane Austen’

Lindsay AshfordCrime writer Lindsay Ashford talks about how the experience of living in Chawton House – home to Jane Austen’s brother Edward – led to her writing The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen, which attracted worldwide press attention with its storyline drawing on the theory that the novelist was a victim of arsenic poisoning. Lindsay will highlight the challenges of switching from contemporary crime to historical fiction, whilst also explaining how to find a narrative voice when writing about real figures from the past.

Read the report here.


Tuesday 8th May 2012

Jane Bidder – aka Sophie King

‘How to Find Your Voice’

JaneBidderTime and time again, we are told that we need to find our own special voice in order for our manuscript to stand out in an agent’s or publisher’s pile. But how can we find that voice and is it possible to have more than one? Sophie King has discovered, slightly to her surprise, that she has two – that of a contemporary romance writer and also as a historical novelist. Her talk will describe her personal journey and also help you to find your own unique voice.

Read the report here.


Tuesday 10th April 2012

Ali SparkesAli Sparkes – children’s author

Ali Sparkes didn’t know she was meant to be an author for about 30 years. How she got to be one is a tale of sequins, plops, lovelorn bats, juggling unicyclists, many props and much silliness. In a stirring, tempestuous session, Ali will share her many ups and even more downs… and show you fear in a handful of Tellytubby.

Read the report here.


Tuesday 14th February 2012

Patricia Duncker

‘Choosing English’

PatriciaDunckerWould you choose to write in a language older than your mother tongue? The most important element in my writing…and indeed in all writing is the literary language that I choose to inhabit. But many writers now choose English even when it is not the first language they spoke as children or the language within which they live. This is the story of how I came to choose English.


Tuesday 10th January 2012

Beverley Birch – novelist

‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Keeping Faith with Your Writing Self in Today’s Stormy Commercial Seas’

A story bursting out of you? Instinct says readers would respond? Writer friends and mentors say so too. Publishers and agents say it’s ‘too quiet/too subtle/ not strong enough/ won’t ‘work’/ market too difficult/ won’t find a readership’. Despair? Give up? A discussion of strategies for analysis to moving forward without losing your creative integrity.

Bio: Beverley has found her way between the rocks with over 40 books, and guided others for 30 years. Her novels are published by Egmont; she commissions fiction for Hodder, always on the look-out for the fresh, bold and unusual.

Read the report here.


Tuesday 13th December 2011

Dr Tom Masters – poet: www.tom-masters.co.uk

Mark Rutter – poet

Peter Dixon – poet: www.peterdixon.org

‘Silence: Towards Writing the Universe’

Mercurial, pluralistic and singular, the publication of the first two books of Silence in a single volume represents the genesis of a radical new form of epic poetry. Embracing the seemingly diverse spheres of apophatic theology and Big Bang cosmology, the epic seeks, through the juxtaposition of intuitive and rational voices, to counter-signify the divine darkness of a singularity. This talk will briefly introduce the audience to the ideas underpinning this unfolding work, and will be accompanied by a performance of some of the poetry.

tommastersDr Tom Masters began writing poetry whilst studying English Literature at King Alfred’s College in 1999. His first volume of poetry, Dragonfly, was published by The Insigne Press in 2002. It was during his time studying on the MA Creative and Critical Writing at University College Winchester that Tom developed an interest in narrative poetry, and this led to the development of Silence, an epic poem, as the foundation of his PhD thesis. Since successfully completing his PhD in 2008, Tom has been teaching Creative Writing and English Literature at Southampton Solent University. Silence was published by Winchester University Press in March 2011.

markrutterMark Rutter started writing poetry and publishing in magazines when living in Teesside in the mid 1980s, and moved to Maine in 1990, returning to Britain in 2002. He published two collections in Maine: The Farmhouse Voices (Puckerbrush Press) and water fir rook hand (Tatlin Books/Landlocked Press). He also published numerous poetry, visual poetry, and word-image broadsides, along with artists books, mainly in collaboration with Maine printer, book artist and publisher Walt Tisdale. A new limited edition chapbook combining my poems and Walt’s photographs is due this summer. He is active as a visual artist, fiction writer (and sometimes a musician) as well as a poet. Recently he published his first graphic fiction, ‘The Thief’s Tale’ (co-written with Robin Furth, with artwork by Frank Byzante). He was editor of Blithe Spirit for 2009.

peterdixonPeter Dixon does not possess an author’s photograph but includes this self-portrait circa 1942. Readers might suppose that he painted the picture when he was child, but this was not the case. He painted it recently and it reflects the way in which his work is influenced by play and the freedom associated with childhood (prior to the National Curriculum.) His presentation will focus upon patterns of thinking associated with the creative process and will feature his own work as a children’s writer, mainly of poetry. A variety of low key writing activities will be included in his session…hopefully of an interesting and inspirational nature. If you think that you might like to work with Peter…and that you might like trespassing in fresh fields of intercourse and adventure,…then arrive fairly promptly…bearing a store from some else’s garden.

Read the report here.


Tuesday8th November 2011

Jack Sheffield – author

‘Paperback Writer: The Journey Towards Publication’

Jack, a retired Yorkshire head teacher, will talk about how his first novel Teacher, Teacher! caught the eye of a literary agent at the Winchester Writers’ Conference and how he subsequently signed a contract with Transworld Publishers.

Read the report here.


Tuesday 11th October 2011

Simon Hall – BBC Television and Radio News Correspondent, and author

‘Writing Crime, Reposrting Crime’

Learn how the police use the media to help them catch criminals, the subtext to Simon’s TV detective novels, the importance of a strong protagonist, how to create believable and memorable characters, the principles of your writing and how they lead to your ‘voice’ and the power of the original angle and how it attracts a publisher. He will also reflect on memories from his career; from the shock of being sent into London to cover the 7/7 suicide bombings to the absurd, including what to do when you really need a dead otter. Simon Hall is a BBC Television and Radio News correspondent specialising in crime based in southwest England and is the author of five TV detective crime novels, in which a television reporter covers a series of extraordinary cases and becomes so involved that he helps the police to solve them. He is founder/coordinator of the British Crime Writers’ Founder-coordinator of the collaboration of the British Crime Writers’ Association with Oxfam at its annual Bookfair.

Read the report here.


Tuesday 13th September 2011

barrycunninghamBarry Cunningham, OBE – editor and publisher

‘What Makes a Successful Children’s Book?’

Barry Cunningham, sometimes known as the Harry Potter man, was the ‘discoverer’ of JK Rowling and was her editor and publisher. Barry spent his early years at Penguin Books and could be seen roaming bookfairs and bookshop costumed as the Fat Penguin, shaking hands with young readers and writers…and some not so young writers too! He became Marketing Manager of Penguin where he launched books by such magnificent authors as Hilary Mantel and Martin Amis and later became closely associated with the success of Roald Dahl. He created the Bloomsbury Children’s Books that pioneered new writers for children, most famously JK Rowling. Now he has founded his highly successful publishing company The Chicken House in Somerset where he has launched such international success stories as Cornelia Funke, whose five international best sellers have sold six million copies in the US alone and best seller Tunnels written by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. It is our great pleasure to welcome Barry Cunningham to launch the Hampshire Writers’ Society.

Read the report here.

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