the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other Dorset writers

Good news: it’s all happening at the minute

Firstly, my interview ‘a conversation…’ is on the Greenacre Writers’ site now. Why not pop over and have a read?


Secondly, I have a poem in the fabulous print publication Words for the Wild. You can read more about the project here.


And lastly, I’m off to the Thomas Hardy Society‘s fiftieth conference this evening to hear Paul Henry read from his acclaimed poetry collections The Brittle Sea and Boy Running. It will be good to touch base with Paul again (we were both lecturers at the University in South Wales in 2015).

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Using sayings from around the world as a prompt for public speaking

mag59Previously on this blog, I have written about my membership of a local public speaking group (you can read about the Casterbridge Speakers here). Last week, it was my turn to lead the table topics section of the agenda. Here members of the group are asked to give an impromptu talk on a non-specialist theme or topic for up to two-minutes. Some people love the challenge – others hate it. My role is to select topics in advance of the meeting which  allow speakers to share stories or offer opinions. According to Toastmasters International,  this role will  help to improve my organisational, time management and facilitation skills.

In order to offer a non-threatening subject for a two-minute talk, I looked to issue 65 of Writing in Education  for ideas. There, an article by Robert Paul Weston used Japanese sayings as guidance for writers. This got me thinking about using sayings from around the world as a prompt for a two-minute talk. After a little internet searching, I came up with these prompts:

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Best of CafeLit 2012

Product DetailsWhen I received an email on New Year’s Day from Debz Hobbs-Wyatt saying that my story The Shallows had been included in The Best of CafeLit 2012, I was delighted. Now I’m looking forward to receiving my copy of the anthology which is available through Amazon. The ezine CafeLit is a fantastic place to submit stories up to 3,000 words. Each year Debz selects 15 of the stories she’s most enjoyed for inclusion in a trade book and contributors receive a share of the profits.

I’m really pleased to see my work appear alongside that of Patsy Collins. Patsy has had considerable success in having her stories published in women’s magazines and now has a number of print and ebooks available. She writes regular blog posts which are well worth reading and you can find the link to her blog here.

Interestingly, Patsy was made redundant earlier in the year and I’m taking inspiration from the writing she’s undertaken since she’s been liberated from paid employment. In the meantime, the date of my dismissal through redundancy approaches and I’m making plans for a refocused future. When everything is confirmed, I’ll let you know more.



Some good news…

This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for, a piece of good news. There’s nothing like a little publishing success to get me refocused and positive. An article on the workshop I delivered at the National Association for Writers in Education (NAWE) conference appears in the current issue of Writing in Education, spring 2013. My name even features on the cover, although the print is probably too small for you to read it here. Also included in the journal is an interesting article on coaching for writers by Elizabeth Forbes and ‘Imaging the Story’ where Paul Houghton considers the role of the visual.


And, more positive news comes from Helen Pizzey at PURBECK! magazine who has included a review of Four Buses for the May/June issue of the magazine.

What keeps you on the tracks for writing?


Spring writing workshops

I’ve been invited to deliver several flash fiction workshops in the coming months and I’m delighted at the prospect. To give you an idea of what I’ll be covering, please see the outline below:

Flash fiction, keeping it short

Everyday lives are packed with tasks and activities that leave little time for reading or writing at length.  Flash fiction has the ability to fit into the breaks and provides satisfying stories with all the elements of a longer piece of fiction.  ‘Keeping it short’ is an interactive workshop that explores opportunities to incorporate flash fiction into your creative life and will use examples to share:

  • Flash fiction at its best
  • Starting points for writing flash fiction
  • Ideas about the definition of flash fiction
  • Websites and journals that publish flash fiction enabling writers to reach a wider audience

What do you think?  Have I got all the bases covered?


Black Pug Books, Wimborne

Victoria Sturgess, in the bookshop

Victoria Sturgess, in the bookshop

Black Pug Books has been open in Wimborne every Thursday, Friday and Saturday since October 2012. As a newcomer to the town, Victoria Sturgess has made her mark on the popular thoroughfare by opening a bookshop full of ‘loved and used books’ at 24 West Borough. Sitting in Victoria’s front room, it is a pleasure to be surrounded by a hand chosen collection of out-of-print books. The shelves groan at the sheer weight of choice and I was delighted to purchase ‘An Outpost in Papua’ by Arthur Kent Chignell an account of missionary work in the early 1900s.  Anything written about Papua New Guinea interests me, owing to my experience of living in Wabag, Enga Province during the 1980s.

wimborne 002Victoria has always wanted to run a book shop and began purchasing books that would form the stock three years ago.  Paperbacks are a sideline (along with LPs, cigarette cards and magazines) and these are displayed in a wheelbarrow that is set outside the front door whenever the shop is open.  Victoria encourages customers to knock on the door to gain access outside normal opening hours or you can telephone ahead for special visiting arrangements.

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What the Dickens? magazine – goes to sponsume

The splendid team at What the Dickens? magazine are seeking your help in getting the next edition into a printed format.  The bi-monthly magazine has been available free on-line for one year with six excellent issues. You can read the back copies here.

To find out more about the team behind the magazine there’s a You Tube film which even includes a photo of me!

So, if you feel in the mood to back this creative endeavour go to the Sponsume page, check out the level of sponsorship you’re able to make and help to turn this magazine into a page turning printed version.

Thank you for your help.