Monday, 15 August 2011

Short Story Contest

The Tunbridge Wells and District Writer's Circle belongs to the National Association of Writers' Group (NAWG). 

NAWG are holding a short story competition. The theme of the story is open, although all stories must be aimed at adults. They can be anything from 500 words to 2000 words. The closing date is 31st October 2011. 

Entry fees are £5.00, plus an extra £3.00 if you require a critique and the first prize is £250.00.

Email for further information.

Good luck!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Short Story Contest

In conjunction with the Electric Lantern Festival the Writers’ Circle is holding an Open Short Story Competition. Stories should be no longer than 1500 words and written around the theme of Tunbridge Wells and/or the surrounding areas. For ideas think Regency, Beau Nash, The Pantiles, Garden of England... the list is almost endless. 

There are three prizes – First £60. Second £30 and 3rd £15. Entry is £3 per story. Writers must be over 17 and can be members of the Circle, or of any other writing group, or of none.Closing date for last entries is the 31st July 2011. 

For submission guidelines and application form you can phone 07749 134301 or visit the Circle website at

We look forward to reading your entries.

Choose your Favourite Book

As part of their annual Bookfest Oxfam are inviting the residents of Tunbridge Wells to choose their favourite book.

Participation is free and you may vote in person at the Oxfam Bookshop in Chapel Place or by  

The closing date for votes is 15 July 2011 so hurry and let them know your choice.

Can't wait to see which book wins!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Date For The Diary

On Friday 17th June Crowborough Arts Network will be holding a Poetry Evening.

Bring three of your poems to read aloud, or just come along to enjoy an evening of poetry, great coffee and good company.

The evening will be held at The Old Fire Station Cafe in Crowborough. The cafe has been the venue of many events lately, such as a Conan Doyle Evening, and more recently, a very successful Comedy Night.

Note the date in your diary. Friday 17th June - 7.30pm.

See you there.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Interview With Tess Niland Kimber

In association with the Electric Lantern Film and Arts Festival the circle is holding a short story competition. Entries are welcomed in any genre but must be connected in some way to Tunbridge Wells. Think Beau Nash, Pantiles etc. More details about the competition can be found on our website Entry forms can be obtained by e-mailing Closing date: 1st July 2011.

Tess Niland Kimber - one of our judges for the competition agreed to do an interview for us. In this, she highlights some of the things she will be looking for, when she puts on her judges hat.

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing for as long as I an remember. I've got a very long winded novel about the aftermath of a nuclear war that I wrote when I was 9 but I know I was writing earlier - I just didn't keep anything before this.

What genre do you write in?

That's a good question. I'm not sure I stick to any particular one. I regularly sell to the woman's magazine market which could be described as romance but really all these stories are anything but. For my longer fiction, I started writing for teenagers, moved onto light romance and then switched to thrillers/crime when my agent suggested I try something meatier.

Have you been published? If so, where?

I've had nearly 100 short stories and serials published in most of the major UK woman mags - Take a Break, Woman's Weekly, My Weekly, People's Friend, The Weekly news, Loving and I've also had some articles in Able magazine.

Lots of my stories have been published in the top woman's mag in South Africa who asked me to supply and additional pseudonym as so may of my stories appeared in quick succession. Over there I'm also known as Teresa Andrews. I've had some stories appear in a Swedish woman's magazine and recently sold my first to Australia.

I've also had a light romantic novel published by Robert Hale which was published in hardback, paperback, large print and the foreign rights were sold to Europe.

Recently I've had some stories published in several anthologies including a South African e-book.

What inspires your writing?

Everything. Ideas are the easy part. Making them work on the page can be a problem sometimes though.

I don't like it if someone says, "Oh you must write about my life. It would make a wonderful book." They may well have had a fascinating life but for me personally, I prefer to have one tiny nugget that I can expand. Telling me blow by blow every event they've been through doesn't leave my imagination with anything to work on.

Do you have a writing routine - or a particular place you like to write?

I'm lucky enough to write full time. I have three youngish children, two of whom are disabled, so I find I write around their needs and this is the perfect job for that. After I've taken my eldest son to his special school for the day, I have breakfast then then write until my two youngest children come home from school. Then I dash out to collect my eldest son from school, have dinner and then write some more. I genuinely work 12 hour days so we can be together.

As for a special place - I write on a laptop so I can write anywhere. My son's school is in West Sussex so we live there during term time so he doesn't have to board and then go home to the Isle of White for holidays and weekends. In Sussex I have a desk set up in the corner of the bedroom which is way too cramped but on the island I have my own study/office. However, when I'm there I tend to write in the bedroom anyway as I have a massive desk in there now that someone kindly let me buy when they were going to throw it out. Due to the children's needs, I've learned to write wherever. My son often attends mobility courses in the New Forest so for years I've written in the car until my laptop battery dies. I'm an expert on the best car parks in the Forest that are quiet, near and cafe and have clean loos nearby.

What is the best advice you have been given in your writing career?

I don't think I've had any advice as such. However, I have learnt lots from other writers, especially the ones who wouldn't let a little thing like rejection put them off. I've also learnt that to be successful you have to treat this as a job. There's nothing wrong with the writer who wants to write occasionally, who sells occasionally, but if you want a career where you are regularly selling then you have to put in the hours, write what the market wants and read oodles too.

Do you have a writing goal?

Oh yes - to be a bestselling novelist.

As one of the judges of the Tunbridge Wells & District Writers' Circle's short story competition - what will you be looking for?

Horrible answer but I'll know it when I see it. Something slightly different, well written with well drawn characters who I can believe in. Rather than the X Factor I call it the Wow Factor. I recently read a story by a beginning author who is trying to sell the the mags. her story was set against a street party for the Royal Wedding and it was beautifully written, with a surprise ending that was equally believable. Her only failing was writing this too late to submit to the mags who would have needed to run this in April this year.

Finish the following prompt.

I knew I shouldn't open the door but it drew me like a log fire. I edged my way towards it, my hand outstretched. Just one peek wouldn't harm. Would it? Before I could change my mind I flung the door wide........

'Jasmine! I thought you were dead!'

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Our website

The Tunbridge Wells and District Writer's Circle website is now up and running at There you can find out who we are, what we do, where we meet and how being a member can be of benefit to you. Why not take a look?

If you think you'd like to join us, or if you have a question that isn't answered by the website, please do call us on 07749 134 301. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


The Easter Holidays have been blessed with beautiful weather so far and hopefully that will remain so. However, sunshine and holidays can leave us neglecting our writing. It's far too nice to be sitting at the PC and there seems to be so many more energetic pursuits that can distract us.

But it doesn't have to stop us from thinking or planning. Our chair can often be seen with a dog, on a lead in one hand and a Dictaphone in the other. Ok, it might look like she is talking to herself - or wandering around in a world of her own - but the cog wheels are turning and plans are being made.

I'm a fan of the notebook myself, which can be a bit of a problem if you don't carry a large handbag - but be without it - I dare not. You can guarantee that I will have a "PING" moment should I leave it at home and no matter how much I think I will remember - I never do.

I am sure there are more technological ways of recording your musings whilst out with the kids, or enjoying the weather, but I am not the lady to advise you on those.

My advice is simple - Be prepared.




Ian Porter will be talking about suffragettes and suffragists at Tunbridge Wells Library on Tuesday 17th May at 7pm.

Tickets cost £2 are available at the library 01892 522352.