Welcome to Tamworth Writers.
In mid-September 1995, a bemused group of would-be writers assembled on a wet Wednesday afternoon at Tamworth Art Centre, to enrol in a Keele University course called Enjoy Writing God knows what they expected to do each week. Maybe one or two supposed they would be studying myth and symbolism in post-modernist literature, while others perhaps hoped to learn how to write a best-seller and make their fortune. Some simple souls may have come because they thought they might enjoy writing. For whatever reason, they laboured for two terms and then decided, like alcoholics off to the pub, that although the course was over they might as well continue meeting. They had nothing better to do on a Wednesday afternoon.
So begins the introduction to Tamworth Writers’ very first Anthology, the imaginatively named ‘Tamworth Writing 1’ which came out in 1996.
Much has happened since those far-off days. Many of those inaugural members are still with us, though some have left to be replaced by others. A hardcore of addicts still meets for our creative ‘fix’ every Wednesday afternoon. We moved from the Arts Centre when Tamworth Council generously offered us the use of a room in the Town Hall, in return for an annual donation to the Mayor’s Fund – an offer we gratefully accepted. More recently, we made the move to Tamworth Library. A temporary re-housing to begin while the Town Hall was refurbished but the surroundings were so conducive to writing, we decided to stay.
We never got to grips with the arty side of things – myth, symbolism and post-modernism are still mysteries to us – and no-one has cracked the fame and fortune bit either. But we have not been idle. Over the years we have published ten anthologies of members’ work: six general, three poetry and a book of children’s stories. We have run two open short story competitions. We took part in the 2005 Tamworth Poetry Day. We give readings to local groups (just ask – we’ll come!). We get real published authors to come and tell us how it’s done. We run regular members’ competitions throughout the year, for short stories, poems and non fiction. All the time we carry on with what has always been our main activities: writing, reading, commenting on what we’ve written and encouraging each other.
A typical meeting
At 1 pm we start to gather and exchange news – anyone won anything? Been published? Heard anything interesting?
At 1.20pm or thereabouts we write – whether catching up on the homework theme of the week, tackling our work in progress or maybe editing; whatever we choose to do this is silent time to ‘get stuff done’.
Each week we have a theme to write on (you can find this under the ‘Writing Programme’ heading in the menu). The weekly ‘homework’ is not compulsory but it often helpt to kickstart creativity – and it’s surprising how varied the results can be. As for critiquing – members can request ‘no comments’ or go for the full works. It’s entirely up to them.
Tamworth Library are the perfect hosts and provide us with a refreshment trolley which we keep stocked with tea, coffee and of course biscuits.
At 2pm it’s time to read our work. Members can read either their work in progress, the weekly homework prompt or any written work they would like to share. Depending on what time we have left we fit in a writing exercise – usually 5-10 minutes on a prompt.
We also have workshops, occasional guest speakers and a regular Work in Progress – but generally speaking, this is what we do.
To get the feel for one of our meetings, head to our main blog page – this can be found by clicking on the Tamworth Writers heading at the top of the page. You can also follow us on Twitter – links given in the sidebar. Tamworth Writers has a website where you can find even more information taking you further back into the groups history and you can follow this site from the link in the sidebar. There are plans to add one monthly evening meeting to the mix as work and family commitments prevent some would-be members from joining; give us a follow to keep in touch with the news.