Sharing is Caring

In times like these, sometimes it feels like there is nothing but bad news.

Julie Nancy has recently shared her story with us; a heart-warming, tear-jerking and uplifting account that perhaps we can all take something away from.

'The last six years of my life (I am now 71 years of age) has been a very arduous journey, whilst dealing with my husband's cancer and finishing with the Covid19 pandemic. I began studying with the Open University (as I did not have the opportunity for further education when I was young) around the same time as my husband was diagnosed with cancer. My studying had to take place in hospitals, chemotherapy rooms and during the night (thankfully I am an insomniac). I became a full time carer for my husband whilst trying to snatch time to study. I also managed to write a book 'A Carer's Chaos' describing the different scenarios that took place during the time my husband was battling cancer which raised money towards a chair for the chemotherapy room. I was also a member of the Stroud Writers Circle during that time. I kept up with my writing and had different pieces of poetry published. I read my poem 'I Am A Memorial To The Tortured Soul' at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in 2017 and had a short story 'The Unwanted Visitor' published in the Stroud Short Stories 2015-2018 volume. I also had a poem 'A Dusting of Death' published in a pocket poetry book 'Dust', and three poems published in 'Ways to Peace' anthology. I was runner-up in a poetry competition 'Travel' (my poem 'Sinner on the Southern Line' was published in the Grafitti magazine). I found I held on to my pen tightly during that time as I felt I had lost myself completely and my writing was the only little piece of me left. My husband of fifty years, bless him encouraged me to keep taking my degree and continue with my writing no matter what. Sadly he passed away the first week I began one of my courses, but I knew I had to keep surging ahead through my tears to keep sane and deal with grief, funeral arrangements, taking control of all the paperwork and home etc etc. I also had to keep strong for my children and grandchildren who were also grieving. One saving grace was that when studying it took my mind away from the horrors of reality.

I have just discovered I have passed my Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Arts and Humanities (English Literature) with a 2.2. pass. It is bitter sweet as my husband is not here to enjoy my achievement but I know he will be smiling down on me. I am now arranging my graduation (which hopefully won't be disrupted by a lockdown).

To anyone reading this, never give up on your dreams. I discovered my writing was so therapeutic, and was a way of releasing many different emotions. It can sometimes be an escapism from reality, taking one into the wonderful world of fantasy. Be the unique person you are through your writing. Bless you all.'

Click here for more information from 2018.


The George Floyd Short Story Competition

Nottingham Writers' Studio (UK) have recently launched 'Black Lives: The George Floyd Short Story Competition' to increase diversity in publishing and help elevate writers' of colour (no previous experience necessary). The event is open to all, but they strongly encourage anyone who falls into the BAME category to apply.

The event is free to enter and comes with a top prize of £250, plus publication in an upcoming anthology.

Click here for full details.


Lockdown Exploits

When lockdown began, my husband Peter and I knew we had a chance to put a long-held ambition into practice; to draw together all the tools and techniques we had delivered as leadership trainers and taken onboard as individuals committed to personal development. The result is a self-help book called Finding Happiness after Covid 19. Why the name? A lot of people are questioning whether the way we led our lives really did support our needs for happiness and fulfilment. It’s designed to help people explore what they understand by happiness, draw up an action plan and finally a section on how to understand some of the obstacles which often sabotage our attempts to make life changes.

The book is available on Amazon for £2.43 and has been designed as an ebook with plenty of colour diagrams and links to useful websites to make it as user friendly as possible. We hope to have a free promotion in August some time.


Of Earth And Sky

The Gloucester Culture Trust are starting a new project called Of Earth And Sky, which is a city wide art installation featuring words and poetry created by communities in Gloucester.

If you would like to help help, or submit an entry, click here for more information.


New Poetry Collection by Derek Healy

Gloucestershire poet Derek Healy (recently exiled to the Malverns) has just had his second full length collection published. Called "Home", it is produced by Graffiti Books, costs £7, and is available to buy here or from Derek by email: dch.derekhealy@gmail.com

"Derek Healy writes beautifully. Lyrically rich, vividly imagistic, poignant and moving, these poems stay with you long after their reading." Anna Saunders

"His skilful use of form, as well as free verse, is a joy." Rona Laycock

"... ranges through lyrical reflection and wry, self-deprecatory humour to the raw honesty of his evocative musings on man's insignificance in the grand scheme of things.". Marilyn Timms


Buzzwords Poetry Competition

Situation depending, Buzzwords' monthly meet will not recommence until September at the earliest.

However, the Buzzwords poetry competition is currently live and accepting entries! Closing date 22nd August 2020.

Click here for more information.


Perspectives Magazine

Perspectives magazine, produced by Cheltenham Arts Council, has some fascinating articles about the arts in Cheltenham and the effects of Lockdown.

Click here to view the magazine online.


Competition Deadline Coming Up Fast

The Gloucestershire Writers' Network 2020 Competition deadline is fast approaching. Submit your prose or poetry by midnight, 12th July 2020 for your chance to take away first prize of £200 in either category, or a runner up book token prize.

All will be published in the competition anthology and invited to read at The Times Literature Festival. The theme is MY WORLD. Enter by post, or click here for more information and to enter online.

1 entry - £2.50

2 entries - £4.50

3 entries - £6.50

Poetry judge: Sarah James/Leavesley

Prose judge: Tyler Keevil


Kathryn Alderman Reviews 'Hex' by Jennie Farley

Kathryn Alderman reviews Hex by Jennie Farley in Ink Sweat and Tears, the poetry and prose webzine, exploring poetry that takes the reader on a 'magic carpet ride'.
Click here for the full review.


Cheryl Burman's Free Fantasy Trilogy

Cheryl is a Gloucestershire-based writer who has recently re-launched her fantasy trilogy, Guardians of the Forest.

It is free to download on kindle 22nd May - 23rd June.

Click here for more information.