The Circle and its members have enjoyed successes in a wide variety of literary activities:



Congratulations to Barbara - her new novel, Listen to the Drums: An African Odyssey has been published.

"Heather is pitched from the comfort of her home in Somerset into a kaleidoscope of superstition, colonial conflict and a web of West African intrigue."

"An enthralling story of mystery, intrigue and emotion.  Beautifully written."

"With sights, sounds and atmosphere, Barbara Smith vividly captures the dangers and emotional turmoil of West Africa in 1949.  A pleasure to read."

Read the reviews on Amazon (and, of course, buy a copy while you're there).



Congratulations to Colin - his play "Interview with a Dead Man" won the 2015 NAWG One-Act Play competition.

The play is set in the office of a solicitor at a meeting with a convicted murderer who he is determined to keep out of jail. The murder happened some years ago, and the man had been sentenced to death, only to be reprieved at the last minute. After twenty years he has been let out on licence but has committed a further crime.

To the solicitor’s surprise the man doesn’t want to be set free and in an explosive ending the man gets his wish.



Congratulations to Dick - he won the Sony Broadcast Award
for the best short story by an adult
at the 2015 Basingstoke Music and Arts Festival.



Congratulations to Jan - she has just published the first in a series of romantic comedies called 'Millie's Game Plan' and is under her pen name, Rosie Dean. There's a link to the Amazon page here: http://www.amazon.co.uk...

It's set in Hampshire, and tells the story of a woman whose life/work balance is so out of whack, even her Spanish mother tries to fix her up with their priest's dozy nephew. Spurred into action, Millie sets about finding Mr Right at local cricket clubs, with some entertaining and alarming results – not least being held hostage by local criminals. Finally, she does discover Mr Right, but only after chasing Mr Wrong.

The second book, 'Vicki's Work of Heart' will be out in March next year.



Congratulations to Colin - his latest book, Spirit in the Melody, which is a collection of his hymns set to new music, is published and is available via his website: www.cdferguson.com



Congratulations to Dick - his article A Morning to Remember recording his night on the Trafalgar Square pavement waiting for the Coronation in 1953, was published the June edition of the Best of British magazine.



Congratulations to Barbara - her short story The Greater Loss is to be published in My Weekly - in the edition dated July 13 (but it may be in the shops before that date).



Dick Sawdon Smith was the winner of the Micheldever Cup for script writing with his play The Boomerang Kid in the 2013 Basingstoke Music and Arts Festival.



Jan Sprenger's play Line Dancing, which was finalist in Pint sized Plays 2011 is going to be included in an anthology. 

This means she's had to sign her first publishing contract. Let's hope it the first of many!



Congratulations to Barbara - her story Start All Over Again is in today's edition of My Weekly - on sale everywhere!



Congratulations to Jan, who entered her novel, Vicki's Work of Heart in the Novelicious competition for undiscovered 'Chic-Lit' novelists.

Her book was selected from over 200 entries for the top 20 which were then put on their website for the public to vote - the result was that Jan's book was runner-up.

She received a manuscript critique from the editor, some chocolates and some books - all she needs now is for a publisher to snap it up!



Congratulations to Sally - her publishers (Strategic Book Publishing) have agreed to publish her novel Breaking Tracks.

It will be available from Amazon and Strategic sometime this summer.



Elizabeth’s fourth Regency romance, The Rake's Challenge, is due to be published soon.



Yet another success for Richard – his new book (his Aussie book) “In the HOT SEAT” has been published.

Click here for details.


Congratulations once again to Elizabeth:
F A Thorpe is publishing April and May in a Large Print edition
                Robert Hale will publish her fourth Regency romance, The Rake's Challenge, about May next year.

Congratulations to Jan – her play, “Romantic Hero“ has been shortlisted in the “Pint Sized Plays” competition (see: http://www.pintsizedplays.org.uk/)

There were nearly 200 entries and the shortlist is 36.  These will now be judged by Theatre Director, Phil Clark and the ten winners announced later this month (August 2010)

Congratulations to Clare who has made it to the short list in the Bridge House Publishing Company’s debut novel competition (1 of 6 novels selected) with “Moving Over Snow.”

Congratulations Mojib! 
His anthology of 100 poems: “Not Just Love” is now available from:
www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/NotJustLove.html ... for only $12.95!



Publication of Elizabeth’s new novel, “April and May”
(ISBN 9780709090427) is scheduled for the end of April 2010
…which seems very appropriate!

(The cover shows sunset over Constantinople.)




Another success for Dick – his short story 'The Legend of St Barbe's Fountain' has appeared on the front page of the October issue of the on-line Magazine “Brittany Writers”.


Claudette didn’t win in Cannes – but her new play, “Vive la Retraite (“Happy Retirement”) won another competition – and is being performed in Orléans on Saturday 24th October see www.viesenscene.fr  (Google will translate it for you!)

It is also being published in a book entitled “Vies en Scène” (“Life on the Stage”) - for the 2nd national competition of creative writing for the theatre, 2009. Publisher: (Editions) ABS see: www.abseditions.com


Congratulations to Nick (2) whose young-adult horror novel “BACK FROM THE DEAD” has been selected to appear in the British Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) ‘Undiscovered Voices’ anthology.

He’s already had a call from an agent asking for the manuscript!


Congratulations to Dick whose play “The 11.57”, written originally for our one-act-play competition, has been selected to be performed by the Progress Theatre for this year's 'Write-fest' which features new plays of not more than 15 minutes.

The dates are 22nd, 23rd and 24th October at 7.45pm.

Tickets are available on 0118 960600 or via www.readingarts.com, click on 'other venues' and put 'progress' in the keyword box. They are priced at £7 or £8 online.

You can read the script of “The 11.57” by clicking here!


Congratulations to Jess – her novel, “Child of the Hive”, is to be published on 24th September.

Set in a Britain of the near future, Child of the Hive is both a tense sci-fi thriller and a gripping philosophical exploration of what it means to be human in a world of ever-increasing technological sophistication.

Visit her website.


Congratulations to Colin - his new book has been published – and is available in the shops from today, priced £7.50.

Entitled 'Sharing Jesus' it is a collection of fifty new Christian poems all of which can be sung to old familiar tunes.  Many have already been published in anthologies and magazines and all have been tested on live congregations.


Congratulations to Chris Davidson who has had her book “Goodnight, Sweet Prince” published by Best Global Publishing.


Congratulations to Dorothy – her poem “Why did I hesitate?” won third place in the Tilehurst Eisteddfod 2009   Click here to read it.


Congratulations to Clare – her short story Like Soft Fruit (her entry for the Arthur Redway memorial competition) has been selected for publication in “Sand - a Journal of Strange Tales” (issue No. 4 due out in May) see:  http://www.strangepublications.com


Congratulations to Liz Armstrong-Hall – she has two articles scheduled for publication in US children's magazines:
"Who Cleaned the Horse?" (the community dig in Uffington, Oxfordshire)
DIG magazine, an archaeological magazine for kids, May-June 2009, and "The Giant in the Forest" (how Cornwall artists Sue and Pete Hill made their iconic mud sculpture at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall) Highlights for Children, August 2009.


Two of our members were successful in the short story competition sponsored by At Home Services to mark national storytelling week. It was open to anyone over 50 to provide a real-life story. The winner was Claudette Flint whose story 'The Little Winding Road,' told of her memories of the German occupation of France during World War 2. Author Gervase Phinn was the judge and said, "There is a real authenticity in this delightful and original tale with its vibrant descriptions. The writer creates a vividly realised picture of the characters in the French town." 

The runner-up was Richard Holdsworth for his story 'Scorecard' taken from his evacuee book, 'Six Spoons of Sugar'. Gervase Phinn praised this 'very readable and entertaining story'. "It captures well the obsessions of the young boys and there is splendid use of dialogue and most a effective end." 

(Click on title to read the story.)


Several Successes for Chris in the Basingstoke 2009 Arts Festival:

1st  for Short Story (click here to read it),

1st  for Article (click here to read it),

2nd  for Poem,

2nd  for Sonnet.


and success for Barbara too in the Basingstoke 2009 Arts Festival:

her play, "Grandmother's Little Incident" came 2nd (with honours)

(click here to read it).


More success for Richard – “Six Spoons” launched in Australia!


Double congratulations to Adrian!
The book he contributed to in the summer has now been published: "Sci-Fi Art - A Graphical History"
in which he is named as a co-author,
his January 2008 competition winning story: "Professor Rosenkopf and the Quest for Cheese"
has been republished in the Stilton Village Newsletter, after they found it on the TVWC website!


Congratulations to Clare – her short story (4500 words) “Mrs. Piccola’s Hat” has been selected for publication in the spring issue of “A Cappella Zoo” which is an American "literary journal of magical realism and works that experiment with technique, form, language, thought, and reality."   See:  http://www.acappellazoo.com/
She is also going to provide a French version of the story to be published in the same issue.
Visit her website : www.claregoubin.com/


Congratulations to Elizabeth – the Romantic Novelists Association has shortlisted “The Wild Card” for its Romance Prize.

The Romance Prize honours the most memorable stories set around a single theme that concentrates on the developing love affair.


Congratulations to Mary - her 100-word piece Movin’ On”
was published in
“Discovering a Comet and more micro-fiction”
published by Leaf Books


More success for Elizabeth – her second Beth Elliott novel, “In All Honour” is already being advertised by Waterstones.


Visit her website at : www.freewebs.com/bethelliott


Congratulations to Jess – her novel, a speculative thriller called “The Child of the Hive” has been accepted for publication by the Book Guild.

No date has been agreed yet for its release – but it will be in about a year’s time.

Visit her blog at : http://jessicameats.wordpress.com/


Congratulations to Claudette - her play “All they Need is Love” which was produced at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town, and ran successfully for three weeks in 2007, was short-listed for the 17th Meyer-Whitworth award this year.
Unfortunately, although having been short-listed, the play was not one of those chosen to be performed at the National Theatre.



Congratulations to Elizabeth  -  her second novel has been accepted by Robert Hale and will be published in hardback, probably in time for Christmas.


Congratulations to Chris who won two first prizes in the Basingstoke 2008 Arts Festival.

She is seen here with the Arthur Attwood cup awarded for her article A Matter of Convenience
and the Jim Briggs cup for her sonnet Escape.”


Barbara has had a short story accepted by The Countryman magazine.  It is called “The Squealers” and is set during the Second World War when her family lived in Bristol.  The story is about two piglets who were given to her mother as a birthday present.

She hasn’t been given her a publication date - but it will probably be in the May edition.

                Barbara has also had a story published in the hardback Yours 2008 yearbook.

                The story was originally called ”The Feel Good Factor” but the editor changed the title to “Knowing Mr. Right.”


Congratulations to Richard who is about to publish his book: “Six Spoons of Sugar”  the reminiscences of a WWII evacuee - after five years of writing, three Publishers and four Designers…

It has come second (twice) in Lifewriting at the Winchester Conference – the award sponsored by the Queen’s English Society.

Click here to see the whole cover and to read more about the book.


Congratulations to Elizabeth  -  her latest novel, “The Wild Card”
a Regency romance set in 1810, has been accepted by Robert Hale
and is to be published in hardback.


Four members have achieved success in this year's competitions of NAWG
(National Association of Writers' Groups):

was the winner in the humorous poem category with “Go Down Fighting.”  Click here to see her receiving her prize from Denise Robertson who is the patron of NAWG.  The main prize consists of an engraved crystal paperweight in the shape of a book, together with a copy of The Writers and Artists Year Book 2008, a pen and a certificate.  The festival weekend was held at St. Aidan’s College, Durham, and was greatly enjoyed by all.

Jan Springer was the winner of the Children’s novel award with “Mission On, Like it or Not,” but was unable to attend.

Chris was also runner-up in the formal poem category with her sonnet “Freedom.” Barbara Smith was highly commended for her travel article “The Land of the Dodo,” and Colin Ferguson was highly commended for his formal poem entitled “The Tragedy.”


July 2007 - Barbara Smith and Dick Sawdon Smith achieve success against international competition
in a short story competition run by Radio Heartbeat based at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie Scotland. The competition was advertised via the internet to all writers' groups in the UK. The organisers were inundated by entries and surprised to receive some from America, Australia. New Zealand, France, Italy and Turkey. 

All the stories had to be suitable for reading on the radio and the final judge was Janice Long of
BBC Radio 2.  Barbara Smith was runner-up with 'Circumstantial Evidence', a story of an elderly couple who find a body in their living room but are more concerned with who is going to pay for the cleaning of their blood stained carpet.  Dick Sawdon Smith took third place with 'A Watered Down Protest', which tells of a young suffragette who puts her romance in jeopardy by making a protest at Henley Royal Regatta.  The winner was a writer from Glasgow, whose story was in the form of a conversation in a pub.  As well as being read on the radio the winning stories are also being included in an anthology.


Dick Sawdon Smith has won the Sony Broadcast Cup for short stories at Basingstoke Festival of Music and Arts for 2007. 

This is the sixth time in the last seven years that he has won this award!

In order to publicise the creative writing section of the festival, Dick has produced a short booklet containing the six winning stories which will be given away free at the prize giving in June.


The 2007 anthology, ‘Hidden Depths’ was short-listed for the National Association of Writers Groups (NAWG) Annual Anthology Competition.


The Crocodile Under the Bed“  by Barbara Smith has won the Writing Magazine’s ‘Bravery’ short story competition and is published in the December 2006 edition of Writing Magazine (click here to read it).



Dick Sawdon Smith won the Sony Cup for short stories at Basingstoke Festival of Music and Arts for 2006, with 'Letters Home' a tale of a National Serviceman's devotion to writing home from his posting in Aden in the 1950s.  Judge Rosemary Trollope called it “an excellent, professional entry in a class on it's own.”  It also won the Richard Watterson Cup for the best entry in the Adult writing class.

Dick was also presented with a Highly Commended Certificate at the National Association of Writing Groups' National Writing Festival at Durham in September 2006, for his entry in the competition for articles on a 'How to' theme.  Dick's was called “How to Beat Road Rage.”


“A Literary Pot-pourri  One of our most notable achievements was in 1995 when the Circle was presented with an award and cup by the magazine Writers' News and the David St John Thomas Charitable Trust for the best Writers' Circle Anthology.  The win for the anthology inspired some further poetry from one of the members, Eileen M. Beasley.