Hi there to both new and old visitors to the Higham Writers web page.
The site has been up and running since May this year, mostly due to the efforts of our friend John Parkinson from PENINSULA TIMES our local neighbourhood journal (see his website) . We have all been very pleased with the response in terms of visitors to the site. We have posted a large amount of work in the hope of entertaining a few readers and in the hope of getting some feedback from you. We are always aware that different readers have different preferences so there may be something there for you, maybe not.
Some of our material has come from existing members of the group, but also from old members or associates like Henry Bradford who has been busy publishing his fifth book, and Tom Parr, another established writer, who is associated with Higham Writers through his sister, our own Pat Jerome.
As you might know we meet weekly to write, listen and learn our way through two hours of what is generally entertaining discussion and tuition. The group is kept small by design; at the moment we have ten members, and this is a good number to handle, giving everyone the chance to take active part in what is going on. The focus of the group tends to change with the fluctuating membership; sometimes we have a very active majority interested in getting published, but mainly everyone is quite laid about the process, especially with the rate at which rejection slips seem to come in. However, we reach a large number of people through our Showcase audiences – and they keep asking for more, and an appreciative audience trumps a rejection slip every time.
We are indebted to John Parkinson who set up the site for us and is keeping a watchful eye on posts and visitors – all positive figures, we gather. Later this month we have invited him to one of our meetings to tell us about his own Peninsula Times – which includes the publishing openings there available to us as writers – and his own journalistic career.
We had our usual summer break at the end of July, and started again in September with two new members, Dave and Phil, both capable writers who will complement our Showcase team. Dave is returning to writing after a break. Phil is writing his memoirs, and has already got up to age nine – 71 years to go! It makes us reflect that we all have memories of our past way of life, incidents that might be lost and forgotten, and these should be recorded, not only for our own families, but also for posterity.
Though most members enjoyed a summer break from the routine of writing for the group, others have kept busy. Dominic has been working away at the final draft of his (third) novel, and has now sent it off to his first choice of agent. We will be watching progress with interest. See Dominic’s profile for the other things he gets up to.
Other members of the group have been busy through the summer; Denise went to Poland, visiting Krakow and Auschwitz and indulging her other passion of photography. Marion went to Canada, spying on grizzlies and Odette did a tour of Ireland with her family, taking in a fair amount of Guinness as well as the landscape. Pat as usual has been up to her eyes in gardening, when she isn’t writing, but recently was adopted by a stray cat which has changed her household duties to include waiting on the newcomer. Kay is still housebound but still manages to send in work and we are keeping her place for her as she hopes to get back to us shortly.
Odette has been by far the busiest member of the group recently. Our resident local historian, she researches and writes text for the various displays at the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, as well as giving talks on local historical themes. She is currently working and researching another book “Wartime Memories of Strood”.
Odette’s latest success has been the recent publication by the City of Rochester Society of a book entitled “Two Gentlemen of Strood” which is a short illustrated biography of the Strood historian, Henry Smetham, and the 18th century vicar, Caleb Parfect. He established the first workhouse in Kent (as distinct from a poor house, I am assured by Odette – a workhouse sets the inmates to work to contribute towards their keep.) If anyone is interested in buying a copy, it costs £5. It can be purchased either from the Archives or by contacting Odette at –
f you wish to know any more about Odette’s activities, please see her profile on our Home page.
We have posted a large amount of material on the website, mainly with the hope that readers might be moved to give a short critique or comment. It is positive feedback that helps writers know whether they pleased their readers in their chosen market.
If you have enjoyed a piece – or have a constructive comment – please do send it to us as we would love to hear from you. If you wish to contact individual authors you can do so through the website.
Best wishes to you all,