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EXETER AUTHORS ASSOCIATION

Writing Groups in Devon

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Blog posts : "devon"

A Slice of Pi-Life by Jenny Kane

January 17, 2018

Last night I spent the evening talking to the Exeter branch of the Pi-Society at the Hotel du Vin in Exeter - and my head is literally buzzing.

After a delightful two hours in the company of friendly, intelligent and joyful people, I am riding high on one of the privileges of being a writer. There are few perks in this profession; little money, no days off, no spare time, frequent bouts of insecurity and more disappointments than it would ever be sensible to count- but we do get to meet a wide range of amazing people. For me this is one of the highlights of the job- and after just two hours with the members of the Pi-society - I feel lucky to have met each and every one of the people who’d turned out to see me despite the hail and gales that hit the city last night.

On my arrival to the library in the Hotel du Vin, I joined the group sat around a big round table (wine glasses full and at the ready), and the event began. We broke the ice with a discussion about our favourite books and reads, and then we were off! I answered questions about books, writing, and my rather diverse career- from archaeologist to erotica to romance, to historical crime- for the next two hours. The evening simply flew by.

Before I knew it, the time had come to sell a few copies of my books, and we were preparing to face the elements of the cold and wet winter night once again.

I’d like to thank Nicky Dunn for inviting me alone to the Pi-Society, and the whole group for making me feel so welcome.

Jenny

www.jennykane.co.uk

 

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Coffee Shops and Cornwall - An Evening with Jenny Kane

January 11, 2018

It is always a privilege to be invited to talk about the books I’ve written, to meet readers and to help spread the joy that comes from both reading and writing.

This week saw the first author talk by members of the Exeter Author’s Association at Bampton’s Learning and Resource Centre (LARCS ). I was delighted to kick off this series of six events with an evening discussing my love of writing about ‘Coffee Shops and Cornwall.’

Every seat in LARCS was taken, and the audience’s smiles were wide and welcoming as I launched, somewhat nervously, into my confession that I ought not to be a writer at all- but should be sitting in a library somewhere translating Medieval Latin.

Clearly surprised that writing hadn’t been my childhood dream- but that I’d desperately wanted to be an archaeologist and historian instead- I think, however, that it was my disclosure that Mars Bar scones were responsible for my diversion into writing fiction which surprised people the most. It seems I need to educate folk in the powers of the ‘super-scone’!

The evening was split into two parts; with forty-five minutes of talk about my writing, my inspiration, coffee shops and Cornwall and two very short reading, followed by a half hour break in which to indulge in some delicious coffee (how could I refuse?), tea and cake. After we were all fortified with welcome calories and beverages, and some books had been sold and signed, part two of the evenings' chatter began we with me explaining how life-writing works- and the reasons behind my Robin Hood obsession.

 

Half an hour of questions followed, and I suspect if it hadn’t been getting so late, the questions would have kept coming from the engaging and kind audience.

It was a truly lovely evening, and I’d like to thank Kelvin and the LARCS team for looking after me so well.

These bi-monthly evenings will continue to take place from 7-9pm on the second Wednesday of the month. After the success of the first event, I am very much looking forward to the subsequent talks in the village’s library/resource centre.

Jenny Kane

www.jennykane.co.uk

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Exploring the Devon Dialect

June 7, 2017

The Tiverton Poetry Group monthly meeting is always a surprising affair. The chameleon nature of the CreaTiv Hub, means you never know what you are actually walking into. On occasions our meeting has been held amid art exhibitions, photography and the hilarious children’s art centre time, when we ended up holding our meeting on a kiddie art table complete with beautifully vivid matching chairs.

The surrealist nature of the room reflects the surrealist nature of the group.  In what other context would a group with such disparate former lives as a postman, PhD student, life coach, author, teacher, air force corporal, and book shop owner all meet under the cover of darkness than to discuss poetry?

Last night we walked into a rainbow coloured treasure trove of vintage clothes. The atmosphere oozed with their memories of lives once lived and now discarded.

The past is indeed a foreign country and this month’s meeting delved into Devon’s poetical past with readings from John Keats, a one-time resident of Teignmouth, slightly risqué poem ‘Where Be Ye Going, You Devon Maid?’   and Rudyard Kipling, a Westward Ho! man, poem ‘The Gardener.’ We also ventured into the near past of Devon folk history with an attempted reading of Crediton born, Jan Stewer’s ‘Home! Home, Begad,’ which proved a highly challenging read.  Here is a section to attempt if you can…

Home! Home, begad. ‘Tis snawin’ an’ blawing’ an’ I be sneezin’ an’ barkin’ an’ me nawse gets nipped off if I aunly putts ‘en outside the door an’ the sky is as black as thinder an’ ev’rything in the shops is dear as zuvrins an’ they voretells ’tis gwain to be the wist winter o’ the lot.

But ’tis home an’ that’s all I cares about fer the present.

I’ve left the warm zin behine me fer a bit, zim-zo, an’ I mus’ zay I veels the cold most jewsive. If I aunly goes two enches away from the vire the ole gewse-vlesh creeps up all ovver me an’ me knees is knackin’ together an’ me teeth is chitterin’.

But ’tis home.

An’ there’s other kinds of warmness bezides the yet o’ the zin. There’s the zight o’ yer awn volks an’ the ole familiar noises which you never did’n use to take no notice of, but now they makes ‘e preck up yer yers like music.

It takes a brave man/ woman to slow your vowels and roll easy ‘z’s and try to speak like a Devonian.

After various levels of dialect success, the group moved on to their own Devon inspired poetry and AOB.

We were delighted to learn long standing member Audrey had won a Haiku Competition with an actual cash reward and people say poetry doesn’t pay!

Group poets P.J. Reed, Trina J. Stacey, and Brian Willis are performing at CredFest17 as part of the Exeter Authors Association ‘A Celebration of Books’ event on Saturday 17th June, Crediton Library from 2 – 5pm.  Everyone is welcome to this free event but spaces are limited.

For further information visit – http://exeterauthorsassociation.jigsy.com/credfest17-information

Finally, The Tiverton Poetry Group are planning their annual open poetry event at the Independent Coffee Trader, Tiverton with a tentative date of Tuesday 11 July.

More details to follow!

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The North Devon Author's Present 'Writers in a Cabin'

April 18, 2017

Our latest meeting at Latte and Lunch cafe on Bideford quay was spent in discussing our forthcoming ‘Writers in a Cabin’ residence. Nestled at the bottom of the hill in the little fishing hamlet of Bucks Mills, lies The Cabin. This two-roomed hut began life as a fisherman’s store before being acquired by Judith Ackland’s family. Together with her friend Mary Stella Edwards, Judith used the building as an artists’ retreat for half a century. The solitude and spectacular views across the rugged North Devon coastline make it ideal for those seeking inspiration. Now in the care of the National Trust, the Cabin is almost exactly as the artists left it in 1971.

From 29 April – 1 May, it will once again be a setting that encourages creative talents to flourish. Between 10.00 and 4.00, the seven members of the North Devon authors’ group will take it in turns to use the cabin and its wonderful surroundings as their muse. The work of all these writers is rooted the past, in the local landscape, or both. They look forward to discussing their work, both past and forthcoming and signing copies of their books. This will be a unique opportunity, not only to view inside The Cabin, which is rarely open to the public but also to talk to enthusiastic and friendly authors about their writing.

The Writers in the Cabin will be:

Ruth Downie writes crime novels set in Roman times. Ruth’s book Medicus has recently attracted a ‘Discovered Diamond’ award for historical fiction. https://ruthdownie.com/

Janet Few is an author of local, social and family history books, including a history of Bucks Mills Who Lived in Cottages like These?: the inhabitants of Bucks Mills. She is now working on an historical novel set in North Devon. https://thehistoryinterpreter.wordpress.com

Susan Hughes writes books set in the first half of the twentieth century. Her debut novel A Kiss from France was long-listed for the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2017. She is now writing her second book. http://susanhughes.net/  

Wendy Percival is the author of mystery novels featuring genealogy sleuth Esme Quentin, which include The Indelible Stain, set on the North Devon coast, near Hartland. www.wendypercival.co.uk

P J Reed is a poet and author who writes of the beauty and ethereal nature of the changing countryside. Her latest anthology Flicker was published last month. http://pjreedwriting.jigsy.com  

Liz Shakespeare’s books are inspired by the people, history and landscapes of Devon. Her latest novel The Postman Poet, which was launched last month, is based on the true story of Edward Capern who composed poems and songs whilst delivering letters in Victorian North Devon. http://www.lizshakespeare.co.uk  

Pamela Vass writes North Devon based fiction and social history. Her novel Seeds of Doubt debates whether the Lynmouth floods of 1952 were an Act of God or the Act of Man. www.boundstonebooks.co.uk

 

by Janet Few

 

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Tiverton Poets Go Surreal

December 7, 2016

On Tuesday The Tiverton Poetry Society met in the CreaTiv hub in Tiverton to discuss the fascinating subject of surrealism. 

What is Surrealism?

"Three men riding on a bicycle which has only one wheel, I guess that's surrealism."(Dong Kingman)

Surrealism emerged as the direct result of the publication of André Breton’s first Le Manifeste du Surréalisme(Manifesto of Surrealism) (1924). In this manifesto, Breton presented two definitions of surrealism,

1) Pure Automatism

Automatism is the use of techniques, such as automatic writing, self-induced hallucinations, and word games like the exquisite corpse to make manifest repressed mental activities. 

2)  Philosophical Surrealism

The surrealist view of reality and expresses the surrealist’s desire to open the vistas of the arts through the close observation of the dream state and the free play of thought.

Modern surrealists can be seen  by their use of personal juxtapositions, placing distant realities together, so that the interconnections between them were only apparent to the creator.

Several very interesting, magical and creative poems were read including works by the great modern poets Selima Hill and David Gascogne.

In the second half of the meeting, the group read their own work based on the concept of spirits with work ranging from haiku, limericks, blank verse, micropoetry and automatic writing. The atmosphere for spirit work was greatly enhanced by the dark evening and a machine which made the sound of a hidden intruder coughing at spookily irregular intervals.

This is an active, fun  poetry group and ideal for people who want to learn more about poetry.

The next group meeting is on the theme of Welsh poets and poets have been challenged to write a surrealist poem to share with the group!

by P.J. Reed

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The Twyford Writers - writing in styles

November 16, 2016

Twyford Writers braved the chilly autumn darkness this week to meet in The Royal British Legion Hall  and discuss writing they don't normally do.

It's always a challenge writing in a genre you don't like but it's always good to put a toe outside your comfort zone and test the waters of unexplored writing styles. The results were strange and wonderful. There was a highly entertaining soap parody complete with a heart attack, resuscitation, staff cuts, hospital romances, broken relationships, and embittered staff.

We had a food poetry extravaganza featuring chocolate in a variety of poetry styles including tanka, limerick, and senryu but requests for a quick sausage roll dinner were rebuffed.

There was also the strange experience of a horror writer writing a very creepy romance about the wrong type of love which brought a huge reaction from the group.

Finally, there was a descriptive narrative about Knightshayes in the form of a guidebook. 

The group then spent a very happy final  hour in the bar discussing future writing plans, stories and plotting future story twists. 

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Twyford Writers

October 10, 2016

The Tiverton-based writing group the Twyford Writers met last Thursday to discuss their latest writing projects.

The bar was vacated  due to a darts match so the meeting was held in the quiet surroundings the memorial room of the British Legion Hall. The group read their own very diverse interpretations of an image of a person with a diagonal dark/ light split background. From this starting place, the group's imagination ran to vastly different places. The scene was variously interpreted as a blind man being described a painting, a first-hand account of a chase through a snow covered landscape and of a couple's voyage to a new life.

It is always fascinating to listen to the stories being told by their writers and this session was no exception. 

The writing challenge for next month is to write in a form outside your normal writing comfort zone whether that means prose, parables, comedy or romance etc.

This hard working, fun group is open to new members. 

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The Tiverton Poetry Society (October 2016)

October 6, 2016

This October, The Tiverton Poetry Society met in the inspirational surroundings of CreaTiv, Tiverton. It was a very good turn out with an exciting mix of poets and writing styles ranging from romantics to haiku to horror poets.  

The first part of the evening involved a discussion on Poet Laureates, their history, and examples of their poetry. One of the stand evening poems was by the American Poet Laureate, Billy Collins and his emotional poem entitled,  I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of "Three Blind Mice."

The second part of the evening was a chance for Tiverton's poets to read their own work regarding the theme of ''webs" which turned out to be a deadly mix of poems regarding black widow spiders, the evils of the world wide web and the effects of drugs on spiders web making abilities. 

The theme for the next meeting will be writing poems that include some of the following words: Bananas, Jelly, Murder, Despotic, Big, Book, Reflection, Limbo, Go, Now, Work, Money, Ball, Water, Winter, Thought, Gold, and Sapphire.

Everyone is welcome to attend!

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Devon Writers News

September 22, 2016

The Devon Writers group met in the homely surroundings of the Oak Room, Tiverton. The Oak Room was very welcoming with groups of comfortable settees and tea and coffee delivered to caffeine deprived writers in style. Writers group meetings are always fascinating and this group showed the depth and diversity of writing talent in  Devon. The topics ranged from the writing of successful film scripts to the various sub-genres of erotica!

The next meeting of the Devon Writers is on 11th November 2016 at 10.30-12.00 in the Oak Room.

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