Plymouth Writers Group
Alan Grant, Vice Chair of Plymouth Writers Group, tells us about this local creative writing group and the opportunities it provider for aspiring and established writers in the city.
At some stage in their lives, many people will have picked up a book, magazine, newspaper or read an article in a local publication and thought, “I could have written that – and done better!” The art of creative writing is not new. Even cavemen with their drawings, images, colours and designs were using the same basic skill that we (in the modern world of 2016 and with the latest technology) also embrace – “imagination and application”.
Creative writing is not a dark art. It has been said that within each and every one of us “there is a book to be written”. With a population of over 65 million, the libraries of the United Kingdom certainly could not cope with such an outpouring, and for many, the act of writing remains an extremely challenging and difficult process.
For those seeking to develop or enhance their existing writing skills, various opportunities are available in Plymouth. One of the most established groups is the Plymouth Writers Group (PWG). In 2014 the group relocated to the Roland Levinsky Building in Plymouth University – a move supported by the English & Creative Writing Department of the University as part of their drive to engage the local community.
PWG meets on the first Saturday of each month from 11am to 1:30pm. We have 25 members from absolute beginners through to published authors. PWG provides a place where local writers of fiction or poetry can come together in a friendly, supportive environment to explore their own writing and offer feedback to fellow writers. The group is not tutor-led, although we do have guest writers running occasional workshops. Within PWG there are also writers exploring other genres such as writing for the stage, radio and the wider media.
In my own particular case, following workshops at PWG and the TR2 Theatre Royal facility at Cattedown, I was fortunate enough to have a short play produced at the Theatre Royal in 2015. Other members of our group have won national literary awards and competitions. Self publishing and exploration of wider literary opportunities are also encouraged.
PWG have published two Anthologies; “War & Other Pieces” (2014) which focused on the centenary events surrounding World War 1, and “Time & Tide” (2015) which was more eclectic in terms of its focus. Publication of the 2016 Anthology is targeted for October 2016.
Plymouth Writers Group (credit: Thomas Loveder)
Finally, in a unique collaboration with the English & Creative Writing department of the University of Plymouth, PWG ran two International Writing Competitions in 2015 and 2016. Both competitions attracted entries from over 20 different countries. The competition was designed and managed by PWG, but engaged final year students from the University of Plymouth who helped with assessing entries. The Plymouth Poet Laureate (Mike Sullivan) acted as overall adjudicator. The international fiction competition was the first ever based in Plymouth. It’s success not only enhanced the status of PWG, but demonstrated the ability for collaboration between PWG, the University and City of Plymouth in terms of their ambition for the ultimate accolade of City of Culture.
As a local creative writing group, PWG offers a positive and dynamic example of what can be achieved by Plymouth writers working with other agencies and groups.