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© Thames Valley Writers’ Circle
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27 Oct 2020: Halloween/Bonfire Night Comp Results

One Nil

A mystery tale with an unexpected shock ending tinged with melancholy.

1st Les W

Congratulations to Les - for the second year in a row he has come top in a strong field of entries!

2nd Nick

3rd Elizabeth

Shauna

Ghosts, passion,violence, it’s all there in this camping trip with a difference.

Dilemma

An amusing story of a frustrated vampire.
If you haven’t read these stories, and the other entries, they are listed, with links, on the Library 2020 page.

17 Nov 2020: Our Biggest Meeting Yet on Zoom

As confidence grows, so does attendance at our on-line meetings - 20 people joined in this meeting! Marta, who can’t get full audio/video connection from Hungary was able to comment on what she heard by using Zoom’s “chat” facility with great effect. Unfortunately, Rebecca lost her phone connection to the meeting but she will be ready to read next week (no pressure, Rebecca). One of the highlights was the piece by Richard about Anzac Day in Australia; an event celebrated with a vastly greater depth of feeling, it seems, than any Remembrance Day in the UK. He wrote it for the "True Life Experience" section of the 2017 writing competition run by the Victorian Veteran Community - that’s the Australian state, not the 19th century queen! It gained second or third place, Richard can’t remember which. The photos are of Richard with his award certificate, and his grand-daughter. She seems pleased! If you want to learn more about what Anzac day means to Australians and New Zealanders, go to the BBC web site article written in April 2015.
Congratulations to Walter - his poem Ode to a Blackbird has been published in an online magazine, The Open Page Literary Journal. This is the poem that won Walter the Chris Mundy Memorial Competition, last March. The Open Page is published irregularly by a group of volunteers who also have links with the publisher Holland House.

27 Nov 2020: Walter May Be a Poet

Click the Play button (bottom left) to hear the interview

4 Jan 2021: Neil Interviewed on BBC Radio Berkshire

Neil was interviewed about his latest book, FOR THE LOVE OF RADIO 4, today. If you missed it, here is the full interview. Thank you Stuart for making this available to us.
We have received a substantial gift in the will of our former Life President, Barbara Smith. That she decreed how we should spend her legacy, to pay for some top speakers and to have a party to remember her, is no surprise. This unexpected gift shows just how much the Circle meant to her. It was after her husband of 40 years died, that she started to write and attended several courses both in Oxford and Reading. It was after a course at Theale Green School that she founded the Thames Valley Writers’ Circle so that the course members could keep meeting. Even after she had relinquished the position as our Convenor, she continued to work ceaselessly for the Circle, and we were pleased that she could still be with us and contributing until the final illness took her away. Barbara was adept at sweet talking some of the top writers in the country to come and talk to us. People like Colin Dexter of Inspector Morse fame. Robert Harris, author of
best sellers like Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii and many more. Brian Thompson, who wrote for stage, radio and television and whose memoirs, Keeping Mum and Clever Girl were both award winners, Mike Walker, an author and the UK’s finest radio adaptor, won a number of Sony Awards. Ironically, none of these guests ever required a fee. By having a party, Barbara wanted us to have fun, for that is what she was about – having fun. An example was the year she gave us all an A4 sheet with photos and drawing of all types of bugs and told us the optional homework for the summer break was stories or poems about bugs. On return, the members voted for their favourites but that was not enough for Barbara. She produced four clockwork caterpillars and the top four writers had to wind them up and line them up for a race on the table to see who would get the prize. Barbara said the party was so we would remember her. Barbara, how could we ever forget you.

25 Jan 2021: Barbara’s Legacy

by Dick Sawdon Smith

9 Feb 2021: Arthur Redway Memorial Competition Results

There were 15 entries to this year’s event. The general view was that the standard was very high and picking the top three was a very difficult task. The results were: 1st After the Storm Sarah Flint 2nd Calling Les Williams 3rd The Lighthouse Janis Doughty The full list of entries and the authors is on the Library 2021 page.

23 Feb 2021: Six Spoons of Sugar

The title is the ration of sugar allowed during WWII. The book is Richard’s reminiscences as an evacuee during the war. He read the prologue and part of the first chapter to us at last night’s meeting. The reading provoked quite a bit of discussion. If you would like to follow up the discussion or weren’t there but are interested in matters WWII, you may like to know that Richard will be reading more of the book next week (time permitting) and that the book is still available. You can buy Six Spoons of Sugar from many online sources including Amazon and eBay. Just Google ‘six spoons of sugar richard holdsworth’.
The book is also available as part of a collection from the REME book shop. To purchase online, go to: https://remeshop.org.uk/product/book-bundle/

1 Sep 2020: New Term Meetings

Twelve people ‘attended’ the first meeting of the new term and read their summer homework stories which were well received. An added bonus was that we were able to display the stories on participant’s screens while they were being read. It has been suggested that we might be able to give better feedback to those reading at Zoom meetings if their work is available to be read before the meeting. We would like to give the idea a try, so send in your work for the next Zoom meeting (15 Sep) as early as you can. Walter will put it on the web site (Corona-file page) ASAP for all to read and consider before the meeting. The work will still be read at the meeting in the usual way for the benefit of those who had been unable to read them beforehand. When sending work to Walter for meetings, please indicate which meeting you intend it to be read at, as there may be some overlap with stories arriving in Walter’s Inbox for different meetings. Next week’s meeting (8 Sep) will be the ‘old’ style Corona-file meeting (without Zoom). Make sure your material is sent to Walter to put on the Corona-File page in good time for the meeting. From then on the weekly meetings will alternate Zoom/non-Zoom.
Joyce & Gerry

15 Sep 2020: Thirteen’s a Winning Number

During this week’s meeting on Zoom, thirteen people attended for some or all of the duration of the meeting. Overcoming time, distance and technology, the meeting included: Sarah - she read us her piece on her smartphone, from the passenger seat of a car, then had to leave us when her battery ran down. Rebecca - her internet was unreliable, so she joined us via a dial-up phone connection which meant she had no video, but she could still join in! Richard - bleary eyed but determined, he read us his story from his home in Melbourne, and regaled us with tales of Australia in lockdown. It was very like one of our face-to-face meeting with readings, discussion of the readings, then wandering off the point and Les getting us back in order. Everyone seems to be getting comfortable with the technology so anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge yet, have a go, it really isn’t difficult!

17 Sep 2020: The Barbara Olive Smith Trophy Has Arrived

Neil with the new trophy which he won in the inaugural competition earlier this year with his Who Wants to be a Millionaire story, Your Call. The competition, in memory of our late founder, was judged by Iain Pattison. Selecting and engraving the trophy has been delayed by Covid-19 but now the trophy and winner have been united.

29 Sep 2020: Zoom Shrinks the World

Richard joined us again this week. Here’s what he had to say about the meeting. ‘Just to say what a great meeting and a pleasure to get up at this unholy hour to "meet" you all again! And making me welcome! Thanks for making it possible. And I have to say that although Lockdown won't let me travel more than 5ks in Melbourne - thanks to modern technology I can come 12,000 miles to Berkshire! Thanks again. Many good readings as always from the Group. A real pleasure. Yes, the parakeets and gaily colour parrots WERE waiting to be fed. Bed now!’ During the meeting, Patrick mentioned a book on writing poetry which made a big impression on him. Entitled How to Grow Your Own Poem, he recommends it to the poets among us, and to those who have never written a poem but would like to try. Here are the details. Title: How to Grow Your Own Poem Author: Kate Clanchy ISBN-13: 978-1529024692 Publisher: Picador To purchase it online: https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Grow-Your-Own- Poem/dp/1529024692/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=grow+your+own+po ems&qid=1601410422&sr=8-1
17 Oct 2020: Neil’s Latest Book is Published Neil is celebrating the publication of his latest book, For the Love of Radio 4: The Unofficial Puzzle Book. It's certainly a fun publication and you needn't be an expert on Radio 4 to enjoy. Published by Summersdale, the book includes mystery sudokus, word searches, cryptograms, picture puzzles, criss- crosses, coded crosswords as well as chance to decide which celebrity chose which luxury to take with them to a desert island.
Click the Play button (bottom left) to hear the interview

30 Mar 2021: Chris Mundy Memorial Competition

This year’s event attracted a record number of entries. All agreed that it was very difficult to to pick a winner with the quality being so good. All the entries can be read in the Library on the 2021 page. …and the winners were… Noticing
1. David Baldock
2. Colin Ferguson
3. Janis Doughty
Noticing
Broadstairs Nostalgia
The Hospital Waiting Room
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27 Oct 2020: Halloween/Bonfire Night

Comp Results

One Nil

A mystery tale with an unexpected shock ending tinged with melancholy.

1st Les W

Congratulations to Les - for the second year in a row he has come top in a strong field of entries!

2nd Nick

3rd Elizabeth

Shauna

Ghosts, passion,violence, it’s all there in this camping trip with a difference.

Dilemma

An amusing story of a frustrated vampire.
If you haven’t read these stories, and the other entries, they are listed, with links, on the Library 2020 page.

17 Nov 2020: Our Biggest Meeting Yet

on Zoom

As confidence grows, so does attendance at our on-line meetings - 20 people joined in this meeting! Marta, who can’t get full audio/video connection from Hungary was able to comment on what she heard by using Zoom’s “chat” facility with great effect. Unfortunately, Rebecca lost her phone connection to the meeting but she will be ready to read next week (no pressure, Rebecca). One of the highlights was the piece by Richard about Anzac Day in Australia; an event celebrated with a vastly greater depth of feeling, it seems, than any Remembrance Day in the UK. He wrote it for the "True Life Experience" section of the 2017 writing competition run by the Victorian Veteran Community - that’s the Australian state, not the 19th century queen! It gained second or third place, Richard can’t remember which. The photos are of Richard with his award certificate, and his grand- daughter. She seems pleased! If you want to learn more about what Anzac day means to Australians and New Zealanders, go to the BBC web site article written in April 2015.
Congratulations to Walter - his poem Ode to a Blackbird has been published in an online magazine, The Open Page Literary Journal. This is the poem that won Walter the Chris Mundy Memorial Competition, last March. The Open Page is published irregularly by a group of volunteers who also have links with the publisher Holland House.

27 Nov 2020: Walter May Be a Poet

Click the Play button (bottom left) to hear the interview

4 Jan 2021: Neil Interviewed on BBC

Radio Berkshire

Neil was interviewed about his latest book, FOR THE LOVE OF RADIO 4, today. If you missed it, here is the full interview. Thank you Stuart for making this available to us.
We have received a substantial gift in the will of our former Life President, Barbara Smith. That she decreed how we should spend her legacy, to pay for some top speakers and to have a party to remember her, is no surprise. This unexpected gift shows just how much the Circle meant to her. It was after her husband of 40 years died, that she started to write and attended several courses both in Oxford and Reading. It was after a course at Theale Green School that she founded the Thames Valley Writers’ Circle so that the course members could keep meeting. Even after she had relinquished the position as our Convenor, she continued to work ceaselessly for the Circle, and we were pleased that she could still be with us and contributing until the final illness took her away. Barbara was adept at sweet talking some of the top writers in the country to come and talk to us. People like Colin Dexter of Inspector Morse fame. Robert Harris, author of best sellers like Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii and many more. Brian Thompson, who wrote for stage, radio and television and whose memoirs, Keeping Mum and Clever Girl were both award winners, Mike Walker, an author and the UK’s finest radio adaptor, won a number of Sony Awards. Ironically, none of these guests ever required a fee. By having a party, Barbara wanted us to have fun, for that is what she was about – having fun. An example was the year she gave us all an A4 sheet with photos and drawing of all types of bugs and told us the optional homework for the summer break was stories or poems about bugs. On return, the members voted for their favourites but that was not enough for Barbara. She produced four clockwork caterpillars and the top four writers had to wind them up and line them up for a race on the table to see who would get the prize. Barbara said the party was so we would remember her. Barbara, how could we ever forget you.

25 Jan 2021: Barbara’s Legacy

by Dick Sawdon Smith

9 Feb 2021: Arthur Redway

Memorial Competition

Results

There were 15 entries to this year’s event. The general view was that the standard was very high and picking the top three was a very difficult task. The results were: 1st After the Storm Sarah Flint 2nd Calling Les Williams 3rd The Lighthouse Janis Doughty The full list of entries and the authors is on the Library 2021 page.

23 Feb 2021: Six Spoons of Sugar

The title is the ration of sugar allowed during WWII. The book is Richard’s reminiscences as an evacuee during the war. He read the prologue and part of the first chapter to us at last night’s meeting. The reading provoked quite a bit of discussion. If you would like to follow up the discussion or weren’t there but are interested in matters WWII, you may like to know that Richard will be reading more of the book next week (time permitting) and that the book is still available. You can buy Six Spoons of Sugar from many online sources including Amazon and eBay. Just Google ‘six spoons of sugar richard holdsworth’.
The book is also available as part of a collection from the REME book shop. To purchase online, go to: https://remeshop.org.uk/product/bo ok-bundle/

1 Sep 2020: New Term Meetings

Twelve people ‘attended’ the first meeting of the new term and read their summer homework stories which were well received. An added bonus was that we were able to display the stories on participant’s screens while they were being read. It has been suggested that we might be able to give better feedback to those reading at Zoom meetings if their work is available to be read before the meeting. We would like to give the idea a try, so send in your work for the next Zoom meeting (15 Sep) as early as you can. Walter will put it on the web site (Corona-file page) ASAP for all to read and consider before the meeting. The work will still be read at the meeting in the usual way for the benefit of those who had been unable to read them beforehand. When sending work to Walter for meetings, please indicate which meeting you intend it to be read at, as there may be some overlap with stories arriving in Walter’s Inbox for different meetings. Next week’s meeting (8 Sep) will be the ‘old’ style Corona-file meeting (without Zoom). Make sure your material is sent to Walter to put on the Corona-File page in good time for the meeting. From then on the weekly meetings will alternate Zoom/non- Zoom.
Joyce & Gerry

15 Sep 2020: Thirteen’s a Winning

Number

During this week’s meeting on Zoom, thirteen people attended for some or all of the duration of the meeting. Overcoming time, distance and technology, the meeting included: Sarah - she read us her piece on her smartphone, from the passenger seat of a car, then had to leave us when her battery ran down. Rebecca - her internet was unreliable, so she joined us via a dial-up phone connection which meant she had no video, but she could still join in! Richard - bleary eyed but determined, he read us his story from his home in Melbourne, and regaled us with tales of Australia in lockdown. It was very like one of our face-to-face meeting with readings, discussion of the readings, then wandering off the point and Les getting us back in order. Everyone seems to be getting comfortable with the technology so anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge yet, have a go, it really isn’t difficult!

17 Sep 2020: The Barbara Olive Smith

Trophy Has Arrived

Neil with the new trophy which he won in the inaugural competition earlier this year with his Who Wants to be a Millionaire story, Your Call. The competition, in memory of our late founder, was judged by Iain Pattison. Selecting and engraving the trophy has been delayed by Covid-19 but now the trophy and winner have been united.

29 Sep 2020: Zoom Shrinks the World

Richard joined us again this week. Here’s what he had to say about the meeting. ‘Just to say what a great meeting and a pleasure to get up at this unholy hour to "meet" you all again! And making me welcome! Thanks for making it possible. And I have to say that although Lockdown won't let me travel more than 5ks in Melbourne - thanks to modern technology I can come 12,000 miles to Berkshire! Thanks again. Many good readings as always from the Group. A real pleasure. Yes, the parakeets and gaily colour parrots WERE waiting to be fed. Bed now!’ During the meeting, Patrick mentioned a book on writing poetry which made a big impression on him. Entitled How to Grow Your Own Poem, he recommends it to the poets among us, and to those who have never written a poem but would like to try. Here are the details. Title: How to Grow Your Own Poem Author: Kate Clanchy ISBN-13: 978-1529024692 Publisher: Picador To purchase it online: https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Grow-Your-Own- Poem/dp/1529024692/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=grow+yo ur+own+poems&qid=1601410422&sr=8-1
17 Oct 2020: Neil’s Latest Book is Published Neil is celebrating the publication of his latest book, For the Love of Radio 4: The Unofficial Puzzle Book. It's certainly a fun publication and you needn't be an expert on Radio 4 to enjoy. Published by Summersdale, the book includes mystery sudokus, word searches, cryptograms, picture puzzles, criss-crosses, coded crosswords as well as chance to decide which celebrity chose which luxury to take with them to a desert island.
Click the Play button (bottom left) to hear the interview

30 Mar 2021: Chris Mundy Memorial

Competition

This year’s event attracted a record number of entries. All agreed that it was very difficult to to pick a winner with the quality being so good. All the entries can be read in the Library on the 2021 page. …and the winners were…
1. David Baldock
2. Colin Ferguson
3. Janis Doughty
Noticing
Broadstairs Nostalgia
The Hospital Waiting Room
News - 2
News - 2