NWUK – the future

The great thing about New Writers UK is that we are a club; not a clique or a crusading army but a club, utterly relying on the membership ‘clubbing together’ to get things done. Our agenda is not dictated from on high, nor is it set by a small band of people who just happen to live within easy distance of meeting places. If we are to thrive then our agenda has to be set by YOU. We all need to be thinking of ways in which we can promote ourselves and our works. But the key point is YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Do you have contacts in schools? NWUK will do their best to support any visits you can organise.
What about links to a retail outlet? NWUK will help to stock shelves.
Organisations needing speakers? Many NWUK members would happily oblige.
How about a local mini book festival? NWUK will help with organisation (and of course participate).

So please don’t feel you are an unimportant person on the fringe of something. You can be right at the centre. E-mail your ideas, either to the whole group or to a few individuals. Even if you can’t get to meetings easily, we don’t want to lose your thoughts and ideas; and we certainly don’t want to lose your contacts and routes to selling books.

By Nick Thom


Inclusive Stories for Young Children

Lesley Berrington, the author, is NNEB qualified and was a Nursery Owner for 9 years. During this time she found it difficult to find story books featuring characters with disabilities for use in her Nurseries. After further research into this market she wrote ‘A Day at the Zoo’ and ‘Hattie’ was born!
All 4 stories are about friends and family enjoying a day out, the disability is not mentioned in the text. This is important because it is purely incidental and means each character is accepted for who they are and their disability doesn’t matter. Children of all abilities can have fun!
The range now also includes jigsaws, colouring sheets and posters. The feedback from child care providers has been excellent and these resources are now being used in hundreds of Nurseries across the UK.

For more information or to order online please visit:

Guest Post: Author, Morgan Maelor-Jones

I have just watched a repeat of the incredible BBC drama Wide Sargasso Sea, set in Jamaica, starring Rebecca Hall and Rafe Spall, a prequel to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. The best drama I have ever seen on TV. The young Mrs Antoinette Rochester thinks of England as '...roses, swans and snow...always snow.'

To think this ultimately derived from chilly (in all senses of the word) Howarth Parsonage and Charlotte Bronte's trip to Hathersage in 1845. 'Morton' in Jane Eyre is based on Hathersage and there is a large gravestone there to the local Eyre family from North Lees Manor. The Eyre family arms are displayed in the church chancel there.

I'd always assumed it was commonly known that Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre was an anagram of North Lees in Hathersage (North-thorn and 'lees' is an old word for 'field').

In Nikolaus Pevsner's 1978 Derbyshire edition of 'Buildings of England' he says 'North Lees plays a part in Jane Eyre (as March End or Moor House)...' . I'd thought Moor House in Jane Eyre was based on the real Moorseats - 750m north east from Hathersage Parsonage, where Charlotte Bronte actually stayed in 1845. In the novel itself, Jane was attracted off the moors by the lights of Moor House, much as Charlotte Bronte would have seen the real Moorseats from the Parsonage, albeit from lower down in the valley. So next time you go to Hathersage, and it all seems a bit tame, think Wide Sargasso Sea. Or rather let's all go and live in Bronte-world, far away from computer spreadsheets, crawling traffic to work, continual car MOTs and council taxes...

BBC Radio's Amanda Bowman: Am I a writer?

You are a writer, or you would not be reading this. But am I? A cupboard in my hall is overflowing with my scribblings but does that make me a writer?

When I was eight years old, I wrote to Penguin books and asked them if I bothered to write a book, would they publish it. I got a very kind letter back advising me to get some more life experience and then write to them again. The life experience I managed- perhaps too well - but I never troubled them with the fruits of my labour. 

I set myself targets - first novel at twenty, then thirty, then forty and finally, here I am at fifty one, nervously waiting to hear from a publisher who is a slight friend of a friend and wondering if my extremely short novel or possibly over-long short story is worth public scrutiny. It is a totally exposing and horrifying experience.

Years ago I attended a writing class and was lucky enough to have the amazing Sheelagh Gallagher as a teacher. She thought I was good enough and, although I respect the opinion of a woman I firmly believe to be a living Goddess, I think there is a reason for that. We would be set a writing assignment and in turn would read it to the class the following week. I am a great reader.  I can talk fluently for England, in private, in public and even in my sleep. I talk for pleasure, for fun and even for a living so maybe the writing was mediocre or worse and the reading of it was so splendid that it covered up how rubbish the writing was. I cannot bear for anyone to read what I've poured out on to paper and even the short novel/long short story was read to my husband rather than letting him read it himself. My friend is a published poet - she bullied me into sending it to her email box and the wonderful Julie Malone has read it and neither have said it was awful but they are both lovely, encouraging women who would not necessarily tell me I had wasted my time and theirs!

The more I think about it, the more of a fraud I feel. I have always wanted to be a brilliant fiction writer, not for the money or the fame but because, if I am honest with you as well as myself, I am arrogant enough to believe I can be as long as I do not test the theory by putting my writing in the public eye. I can delude myself that the world is missing out on the next Edgar Allen Poe or Patricia Highsmith merely because I haven't got around to sending my work off. So what is the point of this self obsessed ramble?  Well, the point is to tell you how much I admire you. You are a writer, you have put yourself out there and are prepared to accept whatever judgement comes. How did you get to where you are now?  What gave you that little extra bit of Oomph to push on through and share what you had to say?  Am I actually being realistic in my reluctance to test my writing ability or chicken?

Whatever the answers to those questions may be - and if we meet I will almost certainly ask them - I salute you. You are brave and bold and literally beautiful - pun intended. Those that can, do - and you have done  - and I'm jealous!