Workshop Blog 12/02/24

I remember speaking with three other proud new fathers at a baby clinic. All had sons and the first said his son was named David, because he was born on St David’s Day. The second’s baby was named Patrick, because he was born on St Patrick’s Day. I asked the third what his son was called, and the proud father said ‘Pancakes.’

And here we are celebrating Laura’s book launch at Waterstones in Cardiff, 7 – 8 this evening (first novel – The Trials of Lila Dalton). Be there or be square. She had an excellent write-up in the Sunday Times. I shall be there Laura. Three copies please.

But this week has been extraordinary. We had 19 present, so we are nearly back to pre-Covid levels. This, allied to the incompetence of the chair, meant three people who were ready to read could not, and the next time each of them is at the circle they shall be pushed to the front of the queue. So worry not, Angela, Matt, and Eryl. We shall wrest those words from you very soon. We had two first-timers – Jack and Calvin, and were pleased to welcome back Anuja, Zelia, and Michael.

First to read was Anuja reading I Am Cain (or Kane depending on where and how you read it). This is about the biblical character and he is murdering people then being reborn constantly. I loved the part where he justifies himself by saying ‘…I haven’t kill anyone for ages…’ Very good.

Sarah then gave us a poem, Penrhiwceiber Peaks which had such wonderful rhythm and impact. She’s an extraordinary poet.

Another extraordinary writer is Kim, who gave us another section of his tale of mid-late 1980s left-wing groups and trade unionists during a time of immense change. This is a fictionalised account but based on the facts of what Kim observed at the time. It rang many bells for me and some other members. Great stuff.

We then heard from Jack and Calvin, who are both interested in SciFi but come at it from somewhat different perspectives. What they do have in common is that they both want to get a novel written and ready to send off. We’re here to help guys and would love to hear some of your work.

Daniel then read us a short story he has been kicking about for a while. This was dramatic, impactful and really strong, but only about 1300 words. Everyone agreed that Daniel needs to send this off; either for publication or to enter a competition.

Something different was presented to us next, as Gill did a ‘show-and-tell’ with some rejection letters her grandfather had received for a manuscript he sent off to agents/publishers in 1923. Yes. That’s 101 years ago. The letters were unbelievably polite and flowery and Gill showed us many items from her grandfather’s literary time, including some ‘Galley Proofs’ so called because since 1650, when a piece was accepted for publication a small press would be used to print of proof copies, for checking and approving, before the main presses were set for the major job of printing for sale. This was a lovely break from the usual and it gives us some ideas of what things were like before Wales had electricity and running water. When men were men and sheep were scared. Them were the days.

Laura (did I mention she is a published author, officially from tonight though her book is already on sale) treated us to a part of what might be her next novel. We were allowed to comment and make suggestions, but I can assure you that this work had great detail and some lovely hooks. I particularly liked ‘…Vegas vulgarity…’

The final reading was by Mike, who read us chapter three of his current novel project. This was a constant line of one-liners, wicked banter, and great observation. I said it was a bit like Tarantino without the violence. My fave line? ‘…she’d been railed more times than Cardiff Central Station…’ How cheeky is that? Next week is on ZOOM and here are the details:

ZOOM link:

Meeting ID:  836 2067 4224

Passcode:  019874

We have a Wattsapp group that Matt and a few others set up, which bounces ideas around and offers support and even proof readings. Sometimes they meet in a bar to discuss things. The link:

Also from Matt, perhaps check this out for submissions:

For all payments of membership and competition entries please use this account:

Account number:  39655934

Sort Code:  23-05-80

Account:  CARDIFFWRITERS’CIRCLE (all capitals and with the apostrophe)

Bank Metro

Annual membership £10 per term (three terms) and £4 per session, (ZOOM and YMCA), competitions £3 for a single entry £5 for two. Competitions open to members only and new members get their first two sessions free of charge. Payments can also be made in cash to the treasurer.

Please see attached a few opportunities and other valuable information.

Bestest all, P.

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