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About Skelmersdale Writers’ Group

 
Skelmersdale Writers’ Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month at the Trinity Methodist Church Hall, High St, Skelmersdale, WN8 8AT at 7.45pm.  We are a friendly mixed group of writers whose ages range from 16 to 60 plus. Our members range from novice writers to experienced and published authors whose interests include, poetry, short stories, novels and non fiction writing. Our aim is to cater for all types of writing and writer and to provide events of interest to the wider local community. Visitors are always welcome and may attend three meetings before being asked to subscribe to the group.

Other writers' groups we like: Touchstones creative writing group

 

Activities.

 Our meetings are informal with plenty of opportunity for members to read their own work and receive constructive feedback, if they wish to do so. We carry information on current writing competitions and possible openings for submission of work to agents and publishers. Workshops led by members are included in the programme and we also aim to host regular speakers from the North West writing community. We have good contacts with other writing groups in the area and are members of the National Association of Writers’ Groups.








Hooray, publication of our new anthology Endings is now under way. The manuscript has come back from editing/proofreading, happily with not too many corrections so it looks like we're on track for a May publication date.

Next meeting is on Monday 24th April when Elizabeth Brown will be taking us through the self- publishing process with FeedaRead. Promises to be an interesting night.


We've been very busy the last couple of months putting together a new anthology. Our first two anthologies are sold out and in fact we have now published 'Tales of a New Town' in a kindle edition so you can still get to read our fantastic work. We still have a few copies of 'Fruits of Life' but even these are down to single figures.
     The new anthology is titled and themed 'Endings' which has given us quite a wide writing remit. It promises to be a varied collection of poetry and fiction and should be available in May of this year. At our first April meeting we'll be finalising the exciting job of choosing the cover from a number of possibilities submitted by members of the group. Not only talented writers but talented graphic artists too!
Our next meeting is on the 27th March when we welcome guest speaker Dennis Conlon who will be telling us about his exciting life both as a writer and television actor. Visitors are always welcome. See our full programme below for more details.


Happy New Year to writers everywhere. Skem writers kicked off the year with an informal read your own work night then followed up with our annual night out to our local Wetherspoons where we were able to catch up with socialising which we often do not have time for at meetings. Trevor stole the show coming along dressed as Breaking Bad's Heisenberg but we let him  off with this as it was his birthday.
We've an exciting new programme (see below) and we are busy putting together our new anthology titled Endings. This will be our fourth anthology. The first two are completely sold out, although Tales of a New Town is now available on Amazon kindle. We have a few copies left of Fruits of Life but this too will soon be a collector's item. We expect to publish Endings around Easter so watch out for this new collection from the strange and wonderful minds and pens of Skelmersdale Writers.



January 9th            Read your own work. 
 23th          Night out- Ormskirk Wetherspoons.

   February 13th          Read your own work. 
 27th          Write on the night- Reconciliations                  led by Val Hearn.

   March 13th          Read your own work. 
 27th          My writing journey with Dennis Conlon
 
   April 10th          Read your own work. 
 24th           How to use FeedaRead- demonstration by Elizabeth Brown.

   May 8th            Read your own work. 
 22nd         Write in advance- Lol (laugh out loud).

  June  12th         Read your own work.  
 26th         AGM followed by recommend a book led by Cath Cole.

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Well we at Skem Writers have had our usual Christmas meeting and Christmas house party with plenty of  good cheer, fun and games. All that's left is to wish writers and readers everywhere a very merry Christmas and to hope everyone gets the books they really want to read in their Christmas stockings.
So here's to all of you from all of us

Skelmersdale Writers group is celebrating publication of two new books by members Joe Welsh and Carol Fenlon.

Who Cares is the story of a disaffected care worker in a children's home. (by Joe Welsh)
Plotlands is a collection of linked short stories by Carol Fenlon featuring the residents of a seaside shantytown in North Wales.

Both writers will be at Skelmersdale Library on Monday 21st Novemer from 5.00- 6,45 pm to read from their books and answer questions about their writing. Admission is free and refreshments will be available.

Skelmersdale Writers' 2nd writing retreat got off to a cracking start when we all met up at Welshpool on the way for lunch and a bit of retail therapy.
Of course we were there to work and having arrived at our lovely venue Boatside holiday accommodation at Builth Wells, we primed ourselves for an evening's planning with  a few glasses of wine.
I spent most of the week doing final revisions on a novel I hope to publish next year. Five of us were staying in two beautiful pine lodges right on the river Wye, with spectacular views front and rear and absolute peace at this time of year.
We all had a room each so were able to work in solitude, meeting up for meals and having feedback sessions each evening before relaxing with a film  or TV. It was a wonderful opportunity to focus exclusively on a piece of writing and it worked out at just £100 each for a full week in the off season. We still managed a couple of afternoons out exploring nearby towns, Builth Wells,  Llandrindod Wells and venturing as far as Llanidloes.
I came home very happy and feeling very organised. I think we all had a productive and enjoyable week and we will certainly be going again.


We were out and about at the Celebrating Skelmersdale event at the E-Rooms on 5th August. Lots of people showed interest in the group, we were canvassing for new members and also showcasing our books. Our next public event will be at Skem library, news of this to follow soon..




PROGRAMME  June- December 2016



July 11th          Erotic writing workshop with Carol Fenlon and Heather Cowley.

       25th          Read your own work. 

 August 8th      Read your own work. 

        22nd         Themed writing (prepare before meeting) – ‘Endings’ led by Cath Cole.  

September 12th     Read your own work. 

                26th          Micro fiction workshop with Carol Fenlon.
                             
   October 10th             Read your own work.

                24th             Guest Speaker Kim Wiltshire (scriptwriting). 

 November 14th            Read your own work. 

                28th           Debate- do writers have responsibility? Led by David Jenkins.  

December  12th        Read your own work with a mince pie or two.                        



ARCHIVE NEWS


The Christmas party at Carol's was our last meet of the year and went off with the usual high jinks.

For November our own member Ruth Slater who has recently completed a publishing MA gave us an excellent workshop on the merits of getting traditionally published and self-publishing. Ruth intends to set up her own publishing company in the New Year which is great news for Northern writers.
 

October meeting
We welcomed Alison Chisholm who led a great workshop on writing mini memoirs and also gave us some super tips on how to perform and read our work in public.


November meeting will be hosted by Ruth Slater who will be talking to  us about publishing both self-publishing and the traditional publishing route.


 
We had a really enjoyable open evening at Skelmersdale Library on 17th August. Three new visitors came along and it was quite an eye-opener as we all discussed what benefits we gain from coming to the group. Definitely something we would do again. Thankfully we are lucky to have such good support from our local library so many thanks to Noreen and the staff for organising everything and providing the refreshments.
Don't miss Elizabeth Brown's book launch at Skem Library next Monday 16th February, 5 - 6.30 pm. She's prolific our Elizabeth, not one book but two published simultaneously. She'll be reading extracts from both. 'Run Amy Run' is a gripping tale of a young girl who runs away to live on the streets of London. 'An Ocean Divide' is a story inspired by the sinking of the Titanic and follows the fortunes of two lovers separated by the Atlantic.

And that's not all. You'll also get a preview of Cath Cole's forthcoming book 'Home from Home' which is a great novel about a group of young girls training to be nurses in the 1960s. 'Home from Home' is due to be published by Corazon books this summer and Cath will be reading an extract at Monday's event.And last but not least, the rest of us will be strutting our stuff with some of our favourite pieces of poetry and prose so please do join us, attendance is free.

Happy New Year everyone. We had a New Year party instead of a Christmas one this time and it was a right good do. Anyway to get down to business,
NEW YEAR - NEW PROGRAMME
lots of good stuff check  it out below.

Last month we were visited by Liverpool comedy actor Gary Skyner. Gary gave us a very thought  provoking presentation on how he has overcome the problems of living with with being the second UK child to be born with disabilities due to the thalidomide drug prescribed to pregnant women in the 1960s. He showed us the fight thalidomide victims have had to and still have to put up to get just compensation and he also showed us his great humour and strength  of spirit which have enabled him to become a well respected actor and comedian. Gary has worked with many national celebrities including Ricky Tomlinson and has appeared many times on national TV. It was a smile a  minute evening with lots of laughs and seeing all the different jobs and skills that Gary has mastered certainly inspired me to get on with my writing.

 26th August

Whoop whoop, another Skem Writers' group member secures a publishing deal. Our Chair, Cath Cole's debut novel 'Home From Home' will be published by indie press publisher Ian Skillicorn under the Corazon Books imprint, early in 2015. The book clearly showed promise when a chapter won a heat of Liverpool's Writing on the Wall festival fiction competition Pulp Idol. Well deserved congratulations to Cath, our members know how hard she has worked on her manuscript and we can't wait to see the cover and the whole book.



June 30th Skelmersdale Writers' Group launched their latest anthology Fruits of Life at Skelmersdale Library. This venture was funded by West Lancashire CVS, Mobilising Health Around Communities and we worked to a theme on health. Fruits of Life is a collection of poetry and prose dealing with a wide range of health issues. It's priced at £4.50 and is  available to order on Amazon
 Fruits of Lifewww.amazon.co.ukFruits of Life

You can also find it on eBay or order direct by emailing me. Free delivery on direct orders to Skelmersdale and district.

Here are some of our members strutting their stuff

Elizabeth Brown reading 'Brick Babies'.

ARCHIVE NEWS



A wonderful evening with Carys Bray last Monday (28th October). Carys kicked off with a reading from her short story collection 'Sweet Home' and told us something of her writing process and how she develops her ideas. We were also privileged to hear an excerpt from her forthcoming novel 'A Song For Issy Bradley' which is due out next June. After tea and cake Carys led a workshop themed around the concept of 'home' which we all enjoyed and I at least came away with inspiration for a character I'm currently writing.



Check out our new programme for next six months below.

PROGRAMME July to December 2013



 


 
July              8th         Read your own work
                  22nd        Favourite book or author review 

 August      12th         Read your own work 
                 19th         Guest speaker (self-publishing). 

 September 9th          Read your own work
                  23rd        Read your own work
 
 
  October   14th         Read your own work
                 28th        Short story workshop with guest facilitator, Carys Bray  

 November 11th          A Bucket of Words, poetry workshop with Carol Fenlon and Trevor Jenks.  
                 25th         Debate night (compered by Joe) 

 December    9th        Read your own work 
                  20th        Christmas party (venue to be arranged)                                      

 

                

Archive news
An Evening with Carys Bray.  Monday 28th October. Full details of this great opportunity to hear Carys talk about her work and participate in a workshop. Carys is a rising star in the fiction world so don't miss this chance to see her. Full details on my home page

'A Celebration of Skelmersdale Writers'. We are pleased to be hosting another of our open mic evenings at Skelmersdale Library next Monday 19th August from 5.30-7pm. We will be strutting our stuff and invite other writers from the district to contribute. If you'd  just like to come along and listen that's great too. We will have books by local authors for sale and a guest appearance by Alison Butler, whose first novel, 'The Hanging of Margaret Dickson' has recently been published. Entry is free and refreshments will be available.



Well, we are well into the New Year and settled back into our old home at the Methodist Church Hall. We had to postpone our Christmas party due to people being on holiday or ill so we had a party in January instead. Unfortunately we picked a night when it decided to snow heavily and had a hard time getting home but it was good fun anyway. As well as our usual nights reading our own work and getting feedback we've had a poetry workshop and a discussion on what makes a writers' group, both lively evenings. Our next meeting on March 25th is a literary debate night, suggestions for topics so far are: should writing be political? and Why do rubbish books get published? Our first guest speaker of the year will be Cy Ferguson who is coming to talk about sel-publishing in May.

 December

We're on the move again. After a trial period at ASDA we decided to return to Trinity Methodist Church Hall which is more suitable for our activities. Many thanks to ASDA for hosting us and providing us with free tea and coffee.

Last meeting of this year will be on Monday December 10th for Christmas hilarity and Readings from our own work. We're postponing the Christmas party till our Chair returns from (yet another)  gallivanting trip in the New Year but some of us will be attending a local panto. If you'd  like to join us please email me for more details.

November - We sent the month out  with a bang with a super workshop from guest writer and tutor Jenny Newman. We submitted pieces in advance to Jenny and on the night the whole group was involved in discussing the pieces and giving feedback. It was not only a great opportunity to have your work evaluated by a professional writer and tutor but a great exercise for us all in how to give constructive feedback. We were also delighted to welcome David Evans, Jenny's partner who has also been a guest speaker for our group in the past, when he came to talk about his writing, particularly with respect to his fiction about South Africa and also about his work with Scotland Road writers.


July - Writers on the move. This month sees our group move to a new home. Asda has kindly offered us a meeting place at the Asda store on Ingram Way, Skelmersdale. Times of meeting remain the same, as above, 2nd and 4th Mondays at 7.45pm. Many thanks to Asda for their generosity and hospitality and also tremendous thanks to all at the Trinity Methodist Church on the High Street who have played host to us for the past year or so.

New programme - our new programme runs from July to December and it's a cracker. Lots of manuscript evenings as usual plus speakers, workshops and our super Christmas party. Details below.

Open mic night at Skelmersdale Library

Monday July 16th July we hosted this super event at Skelmersdale Library, with our group reading from our anthology 'Tales of A New Town' and also other work. We were joined by some fantastic readers and performance poets from Upholland Library and local townspeople. It was a great evening, much enjoyed by all. Many thanks to Yvonne and the library staff for making it happen.


Our May meeting saw us being entertained by romantic novelist June Francis as part of Merseyside's Writing on the Wall festival. June is the author of thirty books and came to share her expertise with us. We particularly enjoyed hearing about her life as a writer and her early struggles to get published - something many of us could identify with. We had an excellent night, the evening went by so quickly - and what a lovely lady. Thank you so much June, you inspired us all.

March 27th Three of Skelmersdale Writers who joined the North End Writers Titanic letter writing workshops had their letters selected to be used in the Sea Odyssey Giant Child Spectacular event to take place in Liverpool 20-22nd April. The photo shows them writing out their letters on special White Star Line headed notepaper at St George's Hall.

February 29th. We had a stall at the Concourse as part of a one day event to promote local community groups. We made lots of contacts with other groups and also with local people. All the programmes we had on the stall disappeared so we're hoping for a clutch of new members. Our first anthology After Nought sold out and we also sold some copies of our second anthology Tales of a New Town, which is still available, to order see details below.

February 27th, the group had a great evening with poet Will Daunt who took us through his written texts along with visual images to enhance the poems. Will gave us a short workshop on writing about  place and we also had a lively discussion on the nature of poetry as Will showed how arrangement and form can change not only the appearance of the work but also the meaning and effects. A thought-provoking session that gave us lots of ideas for future writing.

Skem's long poem and also the winning poems and stories from the 50th anniversary competition are now on display in Skelmersdale Library,



Skelmersdale New Town's 50th birthday celebrations

Skelmersdale Writers' group attended the celebrations held at Skem library for the 50th anniversary of Skelmersdale's designation as a new town. We invited people who attended to help  us write the longest poem ever produced (at least in Skem!)


Lots of people participated and we hope to have the whole poem on display in the library once we have tidied it up a bit! Copies of our anthology, 'Tales From A New Town' were also available and we still have a few for sale. See below for details or contact us on writeme@carolfenlon.com

Here are some more photos from the day


Local historian George Orr chats about his Skem postcard collection

The kids get stuck in to building their own new town out of clay, some of the grown ups joined in the fun too.


and all the time the band played on. Skem Prize Band that is.

The chess club stand seemed to be really popular. Our Heather disappeared there for the whole afternoon!

Another contributor to our giant poem

Cath gets the ball rolling after a well-deserved cuppa.

and it just keeps on growing under the watchful eyes of Trev and Rita

and if it all goes up in flames, the Fire Service are here to rescue us.

and you can make your escape in a vintage Morris Minor, or even in a VW camper van - definitely so 1960s

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR MAKING IT SUCH A BRILLIANT DAY. DO WE HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER FIFTY YEARS TO DO IT AGAIN?


Carole Baldock visits the group 22nd August 2011

The group welcomed Carole Baldock, guest poet and editor of Orbis magazine and Kudos. We had an entertaining evening, learning about the trials of an editor's life and picking up tips on what not to do when submitting material. After a well earned cuppa Carole offered critiques of poems we had brought with us. It was an enjoyable session and members were encouraged to send work out rather than sitting on it at home.

Skem writers at Glenburn school's 40th anniversary celebrations

The group were honoured to be invited to judge an interschools' writing competition on the theme of Forty Years On. Prizes were awarded in seventeen categories, based on age and genre. The Skelmersdale Writer's special prize was awarded to Olivia Bott.

The group also manned a stall on the day, featuring memorabilia relating to the history of education in Skelmersdale and included a short written history by Carol Fenlon which was given away free on the day. The group is indebted to local historians George Orr and Harold Swift as well as to Marianne Howell at Skelmersdale Library, all of whom lent archive material for display.

It was a great opportunity to let the local community know about Skem Writers and what we do, also to sell our books but most of all it was good to be included in Glenburn's celebrations and to reflect on how the school has developed and touched the lives of most people in the town either as pupils or parents of pupils, or as adult education students. Here's to another great forty years.


Wildlife poetry workshop and reading with guest poet CAROL THISTLETHWAITE,


Monday 23rd May. The group welcomed Carol who engaged us with a series of exercises which stimulated us to write on the subject of wildlife in all its variety and guises. After a well earned coffee break we were treated (and I mean treated) to a reading from Carol's collection about birds, From The f Field Book published by Bewrite Books. Magical imagery and language held us enthralled together with computer illustrations of the birds. A fantastic evening enjoyed by all.



PULP IDOL (May) 2011



Six hopeful novelists entered the Skelmersdale heat of Pulp Idol, organised by Liverpoll's Writing on the Wall Festival and hosted by Skelmersdale Writers' Group.  Each writer had three minutes to read from their work and impress judges Sarah Mclennan and Toby Forward. Winners Cath Cole and Seb Koehorst are pictured here with the judges. Cath and Seb will go forward to take part in the final, competing against other writers from across Merseyside on May 28th at the Leaf Cafe on Bold Street. All the finalists will have the first chapter of their novel included in a book to be published by Writing on the Wall and the winner will enjoy an introduction to an established publisher.


Tales From A New Town, our latest anthology is selling fast. Get your copy now before they're all gone. Order details below.

NEW PROGRAMME JULY TO DECEMBER 2011


JULY

11th             Read your own work          (venue tba)                     
 

25th            Oulippo workshop with Robert Shooter (Methodist hall, High Street)

 

 AUGUST


8th               Read your own work  (venue tba)


22nd             Guest Carole Baldock, small press publisher   (Methodist hall, High Street)

 

SEPTEMBER

12th          Read your own work (venue tba)

26th          Write on the night: character swap (Carol)     (Methodist Hall, High St)
 


OCTOBER


10th             Read your own work  (venue tba)

24th             'When the Clocks Change' Theme night:1000 words max  (Methodist hall, High Street)

 

 

NOVEMBER

14th            Read your own work.  (venue tba)

28th            Introducing your character workshop with Joe Welsh         (Methodist Hall, high St)

             

DECEMBER
12th            Christmas party    (Methodist hall, High St)

 

 

  


RECENT EVENTS

PULP IDOL 2010

Tuesday 11th May at the Engine Rooms, Skelmersdale Writers hosted a heat of this year's Pulp Idol contest. Five aspiring novelists read from their first chapters to Judges Jim Friel and myself. Only one writer could go through to the final. It was a hard choice but we finally selected Mathew Eland. Mathew will compete in the final to be held  on 16th May at the Contemporary Urban Centre in Liverpool. All the finalists will receive a book containing their first chapters which can be shown to agents. The overall winner wins a residential course at Ty Newydd creative writing centre.

Left to right, Jim Friel, myself and heat winner Mathew Eland.


                                                                  
 

Tales From A New Town is the latest anthology from  Skelmersdale Writers’ Group and was produced as a result of an event of the same name held at the Engine Rooms in May 2009 as part of Merseyside’s Writing on the Wall Festival. A report of this event can be seen further down this page.

The anthology contains contributions from people who live or have lived in Skelmersdale, recounting their experiences and thoughts in poetry, fiction and memoirs and although many of the pieces are from members of Skelmersdale Writers, others are from people who have never written anything before and who came to the event in response to our call for contributors in the local press.

Copies are available at group meetings, price £3.99 or email me for postal details

Elizabeth Brown  and I showing off our new anthology at Ormskirk Library's group networking event, Monday 26th April 2010







After Nought -  Our first anthology - available now. 57 pages of excellent prose and poetry

BUY NOW - £3.OO + £1.OO P+P. Email for posting details writeme@carolfenlon.com

******* ONLY SIX COPIES LEFT******** NOW'' S YOUR LAST CHANCE TO BUY THIS ORIGINAL COLLECTION ********* DEFINITELY A COLLECTABLE OF THE FUTURE.. (January 2010)


RECENT EVENTS

LAUNCH OF TALES FROM A NEW TOWN ANTHOLOGY AT SKELMERSDALE  LIBRARY.

The group is grateful to Skelmersdale Library for hosting a reading of our new  anthology on Thursday 15th April. Members of the group and members of the public attended the reading which was enjoyed by all. Joe Welsh acted as master of ceremonies and Lyn Fenton came along to  talk about the work of Marie Curie Cancer Care and to thank the group for dedicating the anthology to the organisation (each copy sold makes a 25p contribution to Marie Curie.

Trevor Jenks struts his stuff!

Dr Ailsa Cox from Edge Hill University's Creative Writing Department gave a reading and workshop on the short story  on Tuesday 16th March at 7.45pm.  Dr Cox is an expert on the short story form and has done much to raise its profile in the UK, including the development of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize for a published collection which is now a well recognised national competition. Ailsa Cox is the author of the Routledge Writer's Guide, Writing Short Stories. Her short fiction has been published in many literary magazines and her short story collection The Real Louise and Other Stories has recently been published by Headland. After reading a selection of excerpts from her short stories and using these to illustrate her writing process, a lively question and answer session was followed by a short workshop on creating narrative voices, so that each of us took away a new character which could be developed with further writing. Yet another very enjoyable event in our series of speaker evenings.

JENN ASHWORTH ON APPROACHING AGENTS  2nd February 2010

Preston based writer Jenn Ashworth shared her knowledge of synopsis writing and how to approach an agent. This was a skilfully presented workshop. Jenn included a wealth of information for writers aspiring to the publication of a full length book or collection and provided an useful handout for future reference.. Feedback from the group was excellent and we look forward to seeing Jenn read her own work at Edge Hill's Rose Theatre on Wednesday 3rd March 7.30pm



for more information about the group and/or events, email writeme@carolfenlon.com



 
 

 

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