The London Caricaturist runs The London Writers’ Group!

Something good has come out of one of my obsessions.

I must be a good organiser. As well as running my own business, I set up the London Writers’ Group for anyone who wants feedback on their creative works. It was March last year and last night we had the anniversary meeting which was fascinating, inspirational and thoroughly encouraging to all seven writers who were there.

Words come first. Even as a cartoonist or any visual artist, your inspiration must be somehow described in your mind and any images which come forth are the result of that mental process which involves language and words.

For me, writing has always been an equal obsession to drawing. My youth was littered with exercise books not only full of drawings but also with stories, songs and poems.

Writing is difficult to maintain when you have to earn a living unless you have been lucky enough to be the next JK Rowling or Sebastian Faulks. And. let’s face it, luck does have an awful lot to do with it. Sour grapes permit me to say that that must be the only reason why there is so much poor quality writing in book shops.

For several years I was lucky enough to belong to a weekly writing group in Barnet, where I really feel my style and techniques were honed. This was under the gimlet eye (cliché – sorry!) of Australian poet, writer and teacher, Katherine Gallagher who, in an eccentric way, has a precise knack of pinpointing problems in one’s writing.

After this group folded, due to college cutbacks, it felt easy to drift, and though I was getting occasional bits and pieces published, everyday work and family life once again cut in on my creative writing time.

Writers are often, unlike me, shy retiring creatures who seldom show their work to others and therefore develop a deep rooted insecurity about the value of their writing. Getting together in a group like this proves to be inspirational and encouraging for most and having a regular deadline that the meeting poses is a great incentive to keep writing.

So, I decided to see if I could interest writers in a monthly meeting in Central London.

Finding a friendly pub with a comfortable upstairs room proved little problem and, after trying two for a while, we are currently ensconced in The Black Horse, Rathbone Place. And best of all, we have roped in Katherine Gallagher to be our facilitator, so we continue to benefit from her professional focus.

The procedure is that each writer brings in a short piece plus enough photocopies so that we can all read along and offer feedback.

Over the year, we have seen a staggering range of work, including short stories, excerpts from ongoing novels, play scripts, poems, bits of journalism and song lyrics. The subject matter has included personal stories of trauma and redemption, love stories, comic dramas, children’s plays, erotic fantasies, illness, adventures, murder mysteries, poetry about the English language, the nature of God and religion and, oh! Everything! The whole of human existence is expressed in a friendly and supportive group.

Several members of Ecademy have been involved, but it seems difficult for them to commit to appearing every month. The numbers vary from fifteen down to just three (during one of the first months) but now seems to be settling down to a regular group of ten people which is very manageable over a two and a half hour period.

We have a group on Facebook where all the activities are charted and I send out a group email to those who are not on Facebook. But we’re not really looking for new members at the moment.

I suspect I’m not alone in thinking that The London Writers’ Group is a good thing.

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2 Responses

  1. Chapter One…….. on a dull grey morning as Simon was leaving for his local swimming baths, a thought popped into his head. This was strange as thoughts and ideas were not the usual visitors to Simon’s mind. No. His mind was full of big noses and long chins, but not today……….

  2. Such talent for outrageously hilarious comedy! I expect to see you at the next London Writers’ Group with this story finished!

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