Archive for February 2011

Thursday 3rd March

There is an event at Willesden Green Library on 3rd March, so wgwg will not be meeting that night. But all is not lost - why not come to the library anyway and meet award winning Norwegian author Gunnar Staalesen?
Gunnar will be presenting the winners of the Brent Library Scandinavian crime short story competition with their prizes and will also be reading from his new book. This is a free drop in event that starts at 7pm.

Good luck to all those wgwg members who have entered the competition!

Wgwg will be back as normal on March 10th.

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Short story competition results event

Willesden Green Library Centre
98 Willesden High Road, London NW10
8 pm - 10 pm, Thursday, 7 April

Join acclaimed author Maggie Gee for an evening to celebrate the short story and discover who has taken the one-off inscribed mug and first prize in the international Willesden Herald short story competition 2011, supported by Willesden Green Writers' Group. If the printers do their bit then copies of the anthology of the short-listed stories should be on hand. Refreshments will be provided.

Last year's winner Wena Poon went on to have her novel "Alex y Robert" serialised on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime for 10 nights and now for sale on the high streets everywhere from WH Smith. Jo Lloyd who won the previous year, her first ever win for her writing, went on to win the Asham Award in the same year for another story. The debut novel by previous winner Vanessa Gebbie is about to be published by Bloomsbury in the UK and the US. We're hoping to see Vanessa and many other friends at the event as well. Several of the writers have already confirmed they plan to be there on the night.


Facebook event page
About the 12 short-listed authors
Willesden Green Library Centre

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Come Along

Come along and support two of our own!

On Tuesday, 22nd February at 19:30

It's at Concrete Lower Ground Floor 56 Shoreditch High Street

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What Willesden Green writers group means to me

A friend asked me what the writing group is like this week, because he's joining a group himself. It got me thinking about what our writing group IS like. And I realised I'm really proud of it. God knows, I tried moving to a different county to get away and I still came crawling back.
Anyway. I first started coming to WGWG around 2002 when I'd just left university and was looking to 'keep my hand in' with writing. It was a funny little place then, run by the author of Henry's Cat, who was an absolute nutjob (can I say that?). He was always trying to make us do exercises and going on about the characters in James Bond. It was fucked up and uncomfortable. Yet still I kept going.
We went through a couple of facilitators after that, and it's mad to think they actually used to get paid, when we do it on a rota basis now (having said that, I haven't had a turn for a bit). But the library took away our funding, but let us keep the room. We're lucky to have that room, and who knows what will become of it once they knock the place down? Well, it will be rubble. And I bet won't get a new room. It's more a goodwill gesture than anything. We'll be resigned to the pub or someone's house. And that doesn't seem right.
The format of the writing group is simple. You simply bring along what you're working on (and ideally, copies) and read it out, for about five minutes (don't take the piss reading out half a novel, especially if it's set in Victorian times).
Then we give feedback. And you know what? The feedback we give is good. We don't soft-soap, we don't pussyfoot around, we are honest (too honest? no, honest) and we help each other become better writers. I've walked out of there in a strop more times than I can count. But they were right. I was being lazy that week. I hadn't thought that bit through very well. And I have had praise, massive praise, when I've deserved it.
The group is full of totally different people from all walks of life, all ages, all interests and writing styles. Some people drive you mad, some people you end up genuinely caring for. We have a laugh. I have good friends there, and there are some bloody good writers there. I'm one of them.
There have been dramas- I won't deny that. There was much negotiation of how to run the group between the former chair (me), secretary and treasurer. We had to bring in rules to get rid of various psychos, people who were just plain drunk, or people trying to push religious or political agendas. Or people who just came to show off and didn't want to listen or learn or help anyone else. There have been wrangles over the anthologies we've produced, but hours and hours of hard work have gone into them, and with great results (we won 5 grand!). There have been arguments, broken hearts, hurt feelings, abject boredom, drunken nights, several crushes and loads of laughs. And that's just me.
Oh, and lots and lots of crisps at the pub. LOTS.
I have conquered my fears and stood in front of a crowd and read from my poetry or novel at various events we've done. I have signed autographs, for fuck's sake! The writing group gave me a platform. A very small platform with virtually no one there, but was still good for me.
There can be no better incentive to write than a deadline, and that's what Thursday gives you, and writers need a deadline. And I'm a lazy bastard, I only go once every couple of months (because I live reasonably far away now, in part, but I'm also just slack).
If you're thinking of joining the writers group, do, come along and don't be scared. If I'd given up the first time (or the first 20) I'd never have seen my name printed at the top of a book, like a real writer. Lots of people seem to come once and disappear, and I don't blame them. It is hard to write, and to force yourself to write, and to go somewhere and read out your writing, and potentially be told what's wrong with it- that's hardcore. But it's worth it.

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Well done us!

Wgwg is on a roll - first we came a respectable third in the 'Save Kensal Rise Library' pub quiz benefit last night ( well do you know who wrote Goldilocks and the Three Bears...)
... and then we found out that Mary has been shortlisted for this competition

Whoop! Well done everyone, especially Mary.

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