Festival 2014: Report

We did it again! An excellent Warwick Festival of Writing

A short report by Pam Fish, NAWG Chairman
Image: David Nobbs

David Nobbs – our after dinner speaker.

At 7.00pm on Saturday 30th August 2014, in the Chancellor's Suite at the University of Warwick, I sat down with 80 members and friends of NAWG for the Annual Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony, amongst the glitzy table settings with tee-lights and mirrors. This was the exciting moment half way through the Warwick Festival of Writing, when the short-listed writers would find out who had won the coveted trophies for the 2014 NAWG Writing Competitions.

The meal was delicious and expertly served. Everything about the food was spot-on and each dish looked delightful on the plate. There were three choices on the menu and so for each course there was interest in each other's choices, initiating friendly chatter.

Finally, after the last indulgent course of coffee and truffles it was time to sit back and listen to our guest speaker, David Nobbs. His recollections from his writing career were both stimulating and funny. I could easily see where Reginald Perrin came from as this talented man presented everything to us in his charming entertaining way.

Image: Vaughan Writers

Short-listed for the Denise Robertson Group Anthology.

Now it was time to open the "Golden Envelopes" in true Oscar style. The full list of trophy winners follows this article, but I must mention the string of awards won by Helen Jane Somers a member of Writers in Somerset. Winner of The Verica Peacock Memorial Trophy for Travel Article; Winner of The Jilly Cooper Trophy for the Short Story for Young Adults; Short-listed for Pam's People Competition and finally, commended for the Aine Maire Chadwick Trophy for her Ghost story. Phew! Well done Jane! But equally, congratulations to all the other winners, short-listed and commended.

This may have been a remarkable evening, but from the start the Warwick Festival of Writing had been a winner. As delegates arrived on Friday afternoon, made friends, renewed friendships and indulged in afternoon tea the atmosphere began to buzz. Those that wanted to went to the late afternoon workshop, and "Boosted their Self-confidence as a Writer", with Steve Bowkett. By the time it came to the evening meal in the modern self-service restaurant, everyone was beginning to get to know each other; a marvellous addition to the weekend.

Later that evening, one of our tutors, Jane Wenham-Jones created a chat show scenario where all the members of the committee and the tutors ware introduced in Jane's own inimitable way. From her zany interview we discovered hidden talents, like delivering lambs, being on Mastermind and firing water rockets into space and facts such as a member of our Committee being a "GI War Baby"!

Image: Buffet lunch

Buffet lunch.

Everyone then went off to their excellently equipped rooms to get a good night's sleep before the serious studying to start on Saturday. Soon after breakfast, day delegates began to arrive and the real learning began, with workshops by Tim Wilson, Veronica Heley, David Nobbs, Jane Wenham-Jones, Marvin Close, Maggie Harris; Paul Dodgson and Judi Goodwin. This mixture of talents taught techniques for creative writing, in many genres from writing memoirs; comedy; crime; short stories and longer fiction. Poetry, always a great favourite, had one workshop called "Love, Sex & Serious Stuff in Poetry" – it was very well attended! Writing lyrics, complete with guitars, an experiment this year, was a winner with Marvin Close plucking the strings.

There were two "open to all" talks during the course of the day, where we learned self-publishing from an expert, Richard Denning, accompanied by Dale Burgess the sales manager from Berforts Information Press, who was there to tell us about the printing part of the publishing cycle. Then from Paul Dodgson, "Tales from the Wireless", a totally absorbing talk, that took us on a journey down memory lane and behind the scenes at the BBC, which included a demonstration of sound effects. Later the Grand Raffle, had a first prize of a Writing Course from Writers Bureau, which was won by a very excited delegate.

After an intense, but fun packed day it was time to get ourselves ready for the Gala Dinner. The evening started with a drinks reception for the shortlisted prize winners and the committee, where I was able to relax and meet those that had reached this high status in the Annual Writing Competitions.

Sunday was a little more sedate, but much more was offered and learned. The AGM was well attended in the morning and I asked the delegates if they were happy with the 2014 Festival and the venue for which I received a resounding "yes". What more encouragement could we have had? All the hard work that had gone into putting on this event had paid off. NAWG members from groups local to Warwick had been an invaluable support to the committee. It would not have run so smoothly without the support of these NAWG members.

NAWG Writing Competitions – 2014

There's a results article with details of the winners, runners up and commended entries for the 2014 NAWG writing competitions.

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Author: Kevin Machin Date: September 3, 2014 2:39 pm
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