Maria Stadnicka - 'Somina' Book launch

My next poetry collection, SOMNIA is published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, editor Alec Newman, with cover artwork by painter Mark Mawer.

 The launch will be at The Museum in the ParkStroud, Thursday 5th December 2019, at 7.30pm and it will feature guests Uta Baldauf, performer, and poets David Clarke, Adam Horovitz and Philip Rush.

 About SOMNIA: 

Writer Ian Seed (author of New York Hotel, a TSL Book of the Year) wrote: ‘one of the best books of poetry I've read this year is Maria Stadnicka's extraordinarily vivid collection, Somnia.' 
'Stadnicka’s poetics is one of craftmanship, wherein she carefully walks the tightrope of surreal poetic metaphor and the gritty realism of investigative journalism and broadcasting.’ (Briony Hughes, writer and critic, Stride Magazine, October 2019)
‘Somnia is consistently alluring and enigmatic in its poetic voice. What compels it’s Stadnicka’s calm creativity in conveying the horrors and/or abstractions of these – her poetic voice completely comfortable in its suggestiveness: inventive, provoking, highly visual.' (Mike Ferguson, writer and critic, International Times, September 2019)
'Create dangerously.'
Maria Stadnicka

Welcome to our new Co-Chair

With the departure of Kathryn for a well earned GWN sabatical, we are delighted to welcome Rod Griffiths (CBE) to the GWN team.  Rod brings a wealth of experience to the team, joining Penny and Chris as Co-Chair.

Here is a potted bio of Rod  - Welcome on board ;)


I was professor of public health at the university of Birmingham and regional director of public health from 1992 until 2004. After that I was elected president of the national professional body for public health— the Faculty of Public Health, part of the Royal College of Physicians.  I got a CBE in 2000 for services to public health.

In those roles I did a lot of media work, both writing in academic and popular journals as well as radio and TV interviews.

I've always been interested in writing and communication. Despite dyslexia running quite strongly in our family I was good at English, particularly the creative writing side— rather less good at spelling.

Before I retired I went on a couple of creative writing courses as part of my annual holidays and started writing fiction seriously during the last few years before I retired. I had an agent for a short while but it seemed clear to me that I was unlikely to get much priority from her because she had more famous clients who were younger. The crude fact is that an agent needs clients who will make money for at least a few years if they are to regain their initial investment in the client. I was past 60, so in some ways lot a long term prospect. We parted company in a few months and I went down the self publishing route.

I have published three novels and two collections of short stories.

Two friends of mine in the Worcester Writer's Circle and myself got fed up with advising members on how to self publish and after some careful research we set up a small publishing Company— Black Pear Press (  So far we have published over fifty books, by about twenty different authors; mostly collections of poetry and short stories with some novels, both for YA and all ages as well as a few children's books. We are still in business. Although it might be fair to say it is more of a self funding hobby ;)

My own writing is somewhat eclectic in style and genre— it is unlikely that I will ever sell a book that brings in as much as my pension, so I really don't worry too much about trying to sell lots of books or to build a following by sticking to a small pallette of characters in one genre.

Who knows how much longer I'll be doing this, but for now I still appear to be healthy and having fun with most aspects of writing.  That's probably enough about me for you to be able to answer anyone who says 'Who is this person?'

I look forward to joining the GWN team and helping to shape and develop this further.


Success Stories...

Writers and Performers News - Congratulations all !

  • Ziggy Dicks has been chosen as Gloucestershire’s next Poet Laureate.
  • Howard and Marilyn Timms’ poetry collaboration “Deciphering the Maze” will be published by Indigo Dreams Press during 2020.
  • Robin Gilbert’s poem “Dee” was commended in the 2019 Buzzwords Poetry Competition.
  • David Hale won the Gloucestershire prize in the Buzzwords competition, for his poem “On Nashchokinsky Street”, Anya Maltsberger was runner up, with “Kilvicheon Church, Mull”
  • Barry Faulkner’s 9th DCS Palmer book made the top 100 medical thrillers list on Amazon in the first three days after publication.
  • Christine Griffin’s poem “Pandora’s Husband’s Phone was published in the October edition of Snakeskin.
  • Belinda Rimmer and Judith van Dijkhuizen have had poems accepted for the November edition of Snakeskin


Pamphlet Competition

Frosted Fire Firsts

Judges: Dr Angela France, David Clarke, and 2019 competition winner Janet Lees.

The 2020 competition offers two prizes of publication of a 32-page pamphlet for poets who have not previously had a poetry collection published. Each winner will receive 50 free copies of their pamphlet, and marketing support to launch it. Both poets will also be offered a headline poet event at Cheltenham Poetry Festival, after their pamphlet is published.

A shortlist will be published by the end of March 2020, and the shortlisted poets will be invited to read a poem at the 2020 Cheltenham Poetry Festival, at an event in which the winners will be announced.

Rules and entry to Frosted Fire Firsts competition

Wild! Competition from CPF...

In keeping with the Wild! theme of our 2020 festival, we are holding a contest for a poem inspired by that theme. Your poem(s) can be as unruly and untamed as you like in your take on the theme.

The winning poet will receive £200, the second £75 and the third £25.

Prizes will be awarded at a special Competition event at next year’s Cheltenham Poetry Festival (or posted to any winner who can’t attend.) Shortlisted poets will be given a complimentary ticket to the event in April 2020, and invited to read their successful poems. The winners will then be announced.

Judges: Poet Ben Ray* and Festival Founder and CEO Anna Saunders, who will read all entries anonymously.

Our sponsors for this competition are two wonderful independent shops in Cheltenham.


Click here for full details and how to enter


A Big Thank you every one for making this year's GWN event another success...


Feedback from our winners, guests and the audience were really positive and we've had some great feedback.  People thought we produced an excellent show and that it was well-organised.

Several comments were made about the high standard of the winners' writing.


''Just a short note to thank you for everything you did to make last night's event happen''

''For me it was an incredible experience to spend time with so many talented writers.  I learned a lot! ''

''The whole experience has been extremely positive and is just the boost I needed to crack on with my writing.  I am really grateful to the GWN and for all you do.''

''I just wanted to congratulate you all for such a great night and it was so well hosted''

''You all do such an amazing job and make such a great contribution to the writing community''



...Another successful highlight in the GWN calendar.

Look out for more writing opportunities in our newsletter and website.

If you did not enter this years competition then there's alwasy next year ...  ;))


Thank you - from Kathryn and the GWN team

Diwali Celebration

Here are some details of an event that should brighten up an autumn day.  NAPA (Nethra Academy of Performing Arts) are organising a Diwali Celebration at Pate's Grammar School on Sunday 20th October, which will raise money for the school's "Making £nds Meet" fund.
A copy of the flier is attached and the ticket booking link is here:
It sounds like a super day out.

New - story inspired Escape Rooms


How many times do you find yourself reading a book and wishing that you could step into the story? Now a Cheltenham company allows you to do just that.

Cheltenham author, Kim Fleet, who was last year’s prose judge in the GWN Writing Competition, has partnered with Escape Rooms Cheltenham to create an escape room based on her novel Paternoster. Paternoster is the first in Kim’s series of Eden Grey mysteries and is shortly to be re-issued by Sapere Books.

Escape rooms are a popular world-wide phenomenon whereby a group of friends, family or colleagues are thrown into a scenario where they’re locked in a room, and have to solve a series of puzzles in order to escape. The Paternoster escape room explores a dark and dangerous past lurking beneath the genteel exterior of Cheltenham - a past with tentacles that reach into the present. Sleuths taking part in the escape room are presented with the cases of a kidnapped schoolgirl, a murdered secretary, and a businessman who utters 'paternoster' with his dying breath. They have an hour to uncover what links them all or they too will fall foul of Cheltenham's murky secrets.

The Paternoster Escape Room will be open until 21st December, 2019 and bookings are available at:


Dr Kim Fleet



Connect with me on LinkedIn:

Join me on Instagram @kimfleet

Follow me on Twitter: @KimFleet

Submissions open...


Submission Opportunity for Dear Dylan
Calling all  fans - we would love you to submit to our forthcoming collection of poems/letters inspired by the bardic boy. We will be looking for your poems about, and letter to, the wonderful Dylan Thomas.
Read more and submit here !

Local Success Stories...

Writers and Performers News- Congratulations one and all !

  • Chloe Jacquet reached the semi-finals of the Hammer  & Tongue National Poetry Slam
    Finals at the Royal Albert Hall in London on the 1st of June and finished 6th overall.
  • Nigel Messenger’s third book “From Eden to Babylon “ has been published by Austin
  • Val Ormrod won the Ware Poets International Poetry Competition with her
    poem “Footsteps”.
  • Christine Griffin’s story ‘Curtains ‘ has been placed 3rd in the Evesham Festival
    of Words short story competition
  • Helen Dewberry’s film featuring David Clarke’s poem “Let Me Be Very Clear” showed on
    30 June at Festival of Young Literature in Weimar.
  • Chris Hemingway’s poem “Mr Green” was published in the July edition of “Strix”, and