Follow the Sun Literature and Writing Conference 28-30th Jan

On 28th-30th January, an exciting new online literature and writing conference, Follow the Sun, will take place across the globe. The event is run by Paper Nations, Transnational Literature, and the research center for Transcultural Creativity and Education (TRACE). 

Follow the Sun is a literary festival-meets-conference, a summit of citizens from around the world embarking on a creative and thought-provoking journey through transnational literature, writing, and performance. Follow the Sun is ideal for anyone who is in need of creative renewal. The event will culminate on Saturday 30th January with a masterclass (9am-2pm UK time only) on performance poetry in the online world. Led by renowned writer, Zena Edwards, the masterclass is a unique opportunity to meet others, be inspired, and hone your public speaking and performance skills.

Christine Griffin's 'Once Upon a Time'

Christine Griffin's story, 'Once Upon a Time', was runner-up in Writing Magazine's short story competition.


Click here to view the winners and shortlist, and to read stories.

Waymarks by Gill Garrett

Gill Garrett, a previous GWN committee member and winner of the GWN poetry prize in 2013 and 2016, has a new collection out with Graffiti Books.

Waymarks is available directly from Gill for £7.00 plus £2.00 postage and packing.

Please contact her at

Resilience 2020 Anthology

The 2020 prose and poetry anthology, 'Resilience', has been published by Dean Writers Circle. Featuring prose writers and poets who either live in or have a close connection with the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley, they know first hand the long history of resilience of the people, the flora and fauna, and the landscape. The contributions are from writers with all levels of experience. What brings them together is their passion for this unique corner of the world, and their belief in its continuing resilience in these extraordinary times.

Click here for more information, and to purchase your copy of the anthology.

Proceeds from the sale of this anthology are being donated to Forest Read Easy Deal (FRED), a charity which facilitates adult literacy.

A photo of bare trees in a field on a cold, sunny winter's day

Photo Competition Winners!

Congratulations to our seasonal photography competition winners:

Four Winter Trees at Eventide (Caroline Summerfield)


A photo of bare trees in a field on a cold, sunny winter's day
Four Winter Trees at Eventide (Caroline Summerfield)


Caroline is the author of the Gloucestershire-inspired play, 'The Tree Charter Tapestry', which celebrates our ancient woodlands and forests, and the deep connection which we all share with Nature. The recording of the production, at the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham, is available to listen to as a podcast on:

For further information about other plays going into production and touring, in 2021, please refer to the Natura Contemporary Theatre's website:

Gift-wrapped (Robin Barker)


A photo of a beautiful Regency house in Cheltenham with red ribbon outside like a christmas present wrapped up. There are trees outside full of Christmas lights.
Gift-wrapped by Robin Barker


'Photography is a hobby for me along with writing and travelling. I enjoy taking pictures…. it is a distraction from daily life, especially at the moment with the pandemic. I often find the best pictures I take are when I am on a walk ……… and can capture a scene or a moment in time. This one came gift-wrapped.'

Here We Come (copyright Rose Finch LRPS)


Photos of horses walking through a snowy field
Here We Come (copyright Rose Finch LRPS)


The photograph was taken during the recent snow but we were delighted to be told the background to it, a friendship with the horses that began in May last year. The picture of the foal (not part of the competition) was taken at that time.

Photo of a foalIt might appear, from first glance, that there is nothing exceptional about this image. But for me, it reminds me of a new discovery, be it in a very simple way.

It was taken on the 7th May, when we were in lockdown. Our outdoor activity was restricted to one precious walk per day, near home. I had discovered some common land, very close to where I live, which I had never walked or explored before. Spring had arrived and there were hawthorn bushes everywhere, in beautiful white blossom. The walk takes you slowly uphill to an old, rugged and lone tree. And looking back, there is a glorious view, leading to the Malvern Hills in the distance.

There were horses grazing here. I have learned since that they are Gypsy Vanners, whose history begins with the Gypsies of Great Britain, who sought a horse with strength and build to pull their caravans. They wanted a horse that was not only strong, but that was mild-mannered, gentle and easily trained. They are relatively small horses, but are broadly built and sport heavy feathering, starting at their knees and hocks. A long, full mane and tail are also common traits.

Knowing nothing about horses to that day, I was to embark on a very special journey, when I discovered a new-born foal. I watched as she lay so tiny, close to her Mum. She was beautiful, with a black and white coat. Always armed with my camera, which goes with me almost everywhere, I was very cautious, as I didn’t know how the mares would respond, so I kept a respectful and safe distance. I returned the next day and then became very excited when I realised that another foal had been born.

During the next few weeks, I watched their growth and development. I discovered that the mares were protective, but gentle and not at all worried about my intrusion. They became very used to this strange person with a camera, who photographed them constantly. One of the foals was much more confident than the other and quickly trotted to me when I approached, tentative at first, but then with increasing confidence. She seemed to welcome the human contact and would allow me to stroke and talk to her. Totally besotted, I relished this new experience. I didn’t take food, as I quickly learned that the adults would become very competitive for carrots and there was a definite pecking order. Being full grown mares, they were still big enough to knock you over, if they so desired.

Even several months later, they would still come to me, although they quickly grew in size and height. Observing their way of life, they seem to live a harsh way of life in some ways, though they have plenty of grassland and water. But they do not receive any real care or grooming, which is such a shame, as they are majestic creatures. And I wonder what they are bred for……

However, I feel privileged, to have witnessed the growth of a devoted family of beautiful and gentle horses. In the midst of the horror and worry of COVID-19, I have felt for the first time what every farmer must feel, that special connection with his animals……. . It is something I will always remember with joy!


Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Winter Photo Competition

Can you capture the essence of this time of year in a photograph?


We are running a fun competition to celebrate all that is beautiful, intriguing, interesting, quirky or unusual about our county at this time of year.

If you feel you have a winner, send it to us by 31st December 2020, and the top 3, as judged by the GWN committee, will be featured on our website.

There is no entry fee, the prize is to share your talent and image with a wider audience.

The rules:
1. Photographs must be taken by the entrant.
2. Your entry will be published on our website with your name, subject to your permission.
3. Email your entries to
4. Don’t forget to include your contact details.
5. Your photo must have been taken in Gloucestershire in the 2020 winter season.

Poetry by Iris Anne Lewis

Three poems by Iris Anne Lewis have been published in the Winter 2020 issue of The High Window. The poems ‘Autumn Migration’, ’November’ and, ‘Carol’ all have seasonal themes, and may be read here. Click on Iris’s name in the list of poets.

Iris was also November's feature poet in the Silver Branch series of Black Bough Poetry, further information available here, and is also included in the playlist accompanying Black Bough Poetry’s Christmas and Winter edition (available free online at the Black Bough Poetry website or for purchase via Amazon).
Listen to the playlist here.

Going Up Camborne Hill by Selwyn Morgan

Selwyn Morgan of Somewhere Else Writers has recently published the novel Going up Camborne Hill. The novel, an extended family saga, spans several centuries and continents. Selwyn hopes in future to run seminars about the self-publishing experience

Click here for more information and to purchase the novel.

Covid-inspired Poetry Anthology

Frank McMahon from Cirencester has had three poems published in a Covid-inspired anthology entitled, Can you hear the people sing?, published by Palewell Press.

The anthology has writers from round the world and the UK and is available to purchase here.

Gloucestershire Writers and Performers

Frances March’s poetry was specially commended in Freedom from Torture’s recent 'Resilience' competition.

Belinda Rimmer is a runner-up in the Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition.

Chole Jacquet’s first poetry collection Take it by the Line has recently been released by Black Eyes Publishing.

GWN Team member Penny Howarth, who also writes as Penny Ayres, has had poetry published by Ink, Sweat and Tears’ 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' feature, starting 21st December.

Frank Macmahon has had three poems published in Palewell Press’s Covid-inspired anthology, Can You Hear the People Sing?

If you would like a mention of any recent writing successes, (and a link if you like!) on the website or in our newsletter, please do contact us on