Annual General Meeting, plus WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARDs
06 June 2017
In Attendance: Olive Cutting - Chair, Mary Matthews, Frank Burns, Patricia Burn, Sally Runham, Hazel Newton, Denny Gaudin, Derek Newton, John Cutting
Apologies from: John Williams and David Seaton
1. Welcome and notices
Olive welcomed everyone to the annual general meeting of Huntingdon Writers’ Group and also gave the notices and apologies.
The next meeting will be the AGM and the 2017/2018 programme will be available.
2. Reports from the Current Committee.
Olive – president,
Hazel – secretary,
Mary – treasurer, S
ally– newsletter editor
Olive thanked everyone for writing reports. Denny passed on praise about the group from Alan Mould who visited last month. Frank also liked the constitution of the group. Sally thanked Hazel for providing enjoyable refreshments and everyone thanked the ‘speakers’ within the group who have enabled costs to be kept low.
3. Election of Officers
Hazel, Mary, Olive and Sally agreed to continue in their roles of secretary, treasurer, president and newsletter editor respectively.
The position of vice president will be discussed at a later date if the need arises, such as with an increase in membership.
There was a vacancy as webmaster due to Ruth Ekblom leaving the group. Patricia was invited and agreed to take on this role which she had started during the year.
Peggy will remain an honorary member and receive the newsletter. Hazel will pass on our best wishes to Peggy.
4. Presentation of Awards
Three awards were presented by Olive
The first is for the best writer, best attendance and general contribution to the group who has been a member for three or more years. The winner was Hazel. Olive said Hazel had provided a range of material covering several genres and that her work was consistently of a high quality.
The second award is for the best writer, best attendance and general contribution to the group who has been a member for up to three years. The winner was Sally.
A third award is for anyone in the group who attends well, participates and contributes to the meetings. This award was given to Patricia.
The group applauded their achievements.
Hazel distributed the draft programme for discussion. The amended version is presented at the end of this newsletter. The main change is the addition of a competition for a longer submission of 1,800 to 2,500 words. This will become the Annual Challenge competition and has a long timescale, announcement in July, submission in April 2018 and announcement of the winner in July 2018.
The subject theme is Biography and Autobiography and it can be either fact or fiction.
Needingworth Scribblers will be invited to judge this.
Other slight amendments to the draft programme were made and these will have been checked by the committee before circulation.
6. Fees and Prize Money
These will stay the same. There will be a fundraising event on 14th October – please see details at Any Other Business.
7. Mendlesham Writers.
HWG has been asked to help judge a competition for this group, started by former HWG member Noel Fletcher who now lives in that town. Olive, Hazel and Sally will judge this first initiative, but Patricia has offered to help in future competitions. Hazel will receive three copies in the post of each entry and will distribute these to the two other judges. All three judges will read all entries and then meet to discuss their order of merit. We will ask them to be our judges for our 1,000 short story competition.
8. Needingworth Scribblers
HWG will work with this group again this year. Hazel mentioned a Thank You card sent to HWG by Needingworth Scribblers and HWG members felt that we all benefit from working together.
Break for refreshments
The group had refreshments including one of Derek’s birthday cakes during which time there was a lot of discussions.
9. Any Other Business
Mary showed a book by a local author that she has been mentoring and project managing towards publication. The author has been keen to publish his work for very many years. This project has given him the chance to bring his dream to fruition.
Table Top Sale 14th October
This is on Saturday 14th October at the Corn Exchange in St Ives. From 9am to 1pm. The overall event is run by the Save The Spire Appeal team of the Free Church in St Ives. Individual organisations can book tables and HWG will pay £6 for their table out of funds. HWG’s table will have second hand books for sale, provide cakes for sale as a welcoming gesture and there will be a small tombola stand. Donations of second hand books (that you think may be good sellers) and suitable items for the tombola are gratefully received.
Please pay your yearly subscription fees of £12 or £10 for concessions.
The meeting closed at 9.30pm.
The next meeting is on Tuesday 4th July.
Please bring a prepared piece of 200 to 500 words on any subject, not necessarily ‘independence’.
HWG AGM PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2017
Well, here we are again. Thank you for coming – AGMs aren’t everybody’s favourite way of spending an evening, although we do have the advantage of getting the business over and getting back to our main interest of reading our work. So I do hope that at least some of you have brought something to leaven the dough of what is usually a well-behaved end of year review. (In the past, I have been present at AGMs which ended in dispute, acrimony and the dissolution of the group. Let’s hope that this one doesn’t!)
It had been a good year on the whole, with interesting talks, competitions and some very original work produced. We have said farewell to some members and welcomed others. For myself, I have been only too relieved to be here at all, never mind taking an active part. Because I missed the first few meetings, it has been necessary to rely on the newsletter, for which much thanks to Sally. So here goes!
July The reading of 300-500 word pieces by members: reading through the descriptions, it sounds a varied collection; poems, memories, extracts from novels. I am constantly impressed by the range and quality of members’ work and this evening seems to have been a good example.
August A workshop by Needingworth Scribblers on short story writing seems to have been highly stimulating and enjoyed by everybody. I’m sorry to have missed this one!
September An ‘On The Spot’ evening, where “Where” and What” words were picked out of boxes; the “Who” box having gone missing, participants had to provide their own “Who”. This is always popular and, as usual, produced an extraordinary range of comedy, tragedy and reminiscence. An additional item was the reading of my granddaughter's request that for her 18th birthday present, we should not give her things, but instead write our recollections of our childhood, working lives and other early memories. I have to report that she was delighted with these recollections, the suggestion of her history teacher.
October For some reason, I have not got a copy of October’s newsletter; presumably, the awards were presented, and the winning entries read out.
November Our very own Mary Matthews gave a fascinating evening on self-publishing from the light of her own experience. Not to be undertaken lightly, but immensely informative and helpful to those who wish to try it.
December Again, not to be found in my collection; I do recall it as the usual enjoyable evening of chat and the dreaded ‘consequences’, once more demonstrating the infinite inventiveness of the members.
January Another favourite - ‘on the spot’ writing from a collection of objects, this time provided by Mary.
February A communication had been received by Hazel from Noel, detailing some of the things he is doing with the Writers’ Group he has formed in Mendlesham, and sending good wishes to HWG. The main part of the evening was the judging of the ‘Song Title’ competition. Great imagination had been shown by the writers and a wide variety of song titles chosen. The judging was by Andrew and Mavis from Hazel’s church – many thanks to them. Various items were read out by members as fillers at the end. Always bring a suitable short poem or piece of prose writing with you in case there’s a space to be filled! It’s a marvellous opportunity to try out something new.
March I would like to thank Hazel in particular and others who provide information about other events – competitions, workshops and writing weekends – it’s not always appreciated how useful these are. Patricia Burn, who runs creative writing workshops, then ran an evening of writing prompts, exercises timed by an egg timer (too quick!) and devious subjects like days of the week and 4 line poems. We were all exhausted by the end, but it was a very worthwhile evening in all.
April Mary again – what an asset to the Group she is! This time she talked about the use of social media for writers. I urge anyone who is interested to keep the newsletter for this month as a reference. This seems an inevitable way forward for writers in the future; one hopes that true inventiveness will not be smothered by technology. (All right, I’m a dinosaur!)
May Ghost story competition results – once more we welcomed members of the Needingworth Scribblers as judges. Anne Wingfield suggested that short story writing originated in Germany in the 19th century. (I thought Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was a collection of short stories on a theme?) and was the most popular form of writing in the USA. What happened to all the brilliant thrillers that used to dominate? The winning stories were read out and the evening finished with Frank’s spine chilling account of the Kimbolton Castle ghost.
In conclusion, congratulations to everyone who takes part in competitions, discussions, provides cakes and biscuits or objects to write about and generally keeps the Group in existence. Writing is a solitary business, and without the support of others, many of us would give up. On a personal level, this has been a difficult year and I greatly appreciate being part of such a supportive community.
Keep writing! That best seller is just round the corner and it might have your name on it!
Secretary’s Report for the Huntingdonshire Writers’ Group Annual General Meeting on June 6th 2017
Our programme over the past 12 months has been varied enough to cover most aspects of the art of writing. With your help tonight, we hope to put together twelve meetings offering, even more, challenges encouraging all of us to try something new, to invite – and accept constructive criticism – to engage others, sharing our common interest.
I will mention at this point the Needingworth Scribblers and the Mendlesham Writers. Both groups have expressed an interest in working together with us. The Scribblers led an interesting and helpful workshop in August and have, in the past, judged and critiqued our short story competitions.
Noel Fletcher has established a group which meets under the name of The Mendlesham Writers and has asked that we judge and critique their first Short Story competition. Olive, Sally and I are to do this. If anyone would be interested in being included in any future panel, please do let me know.
Many thanks for your friendship and support over the past year.
Treasurers Report for the AGM of the Huntingdon Writers’ Group 6th June 2017
We started the year with a balance of £644.09 and ended it with a total of £454.79, a drop of just under £190.
Our income, totalling £313.50, has come from subscriptions of £128.50 and meeting fees of £185. The total income is down on the previous year by £116.
Our largest expense is for the hire of the meeting room at £192 with additional amounts for printing, speakers, refreshments, prizes, postage, stationery, flowers and gifts bringing the total to £502.80. £13.41 more than the previous year.
At the committee meeting it was agreed to hold the subscriptions and meeting fees at their current rates with the reminder that subscriptions for the next year are now due. These are £12, reduced to £10 for those retired or not working. The meeting fees are £2 or £2.50 if we have a speaker.
This group does not cost a lot to run and the expenses are pretty steady but it is concerning that the funds have dropped significantly this year so as well as the usual rallying cry for more members the committee have decided to run a fundraising event. On Saturday 14th October we will be having a stall at the Corn Exchange in St Ives and are aiming to sell cakes and second hand books. HWG will obviously be advertising there as well. Any offers of help would be appreciated and donations welcome.
My thanks go to all the group for their support and for being so organised in paying their subscriptions and meeting fees that I never have to chase them. It is much appreciated.
Mary also provided a spreadsheet of financial information that can be supplied to any member on request.
Newsletter Editor’s Report
I joined HWG in 2015 and took over the job as Newsletter Editor at the 2016 AGM when Noel Fletcher moved to Suffolk. I attend most meetings and appreciate the varied styles of member writers shown both in regular meetings and also in competitions. I enjoy listening and learning from creative writers of Huntingdon Writers’ Group. I feel honoured to have been a part of our overall shared development this year.
The areas that I feel we have progressed together over the whole year include:
How to create a good short story, with huge help from the Needingworth Scribblers
How to write on the spot, with thanks especially to Patricia and her professional workshop
How to write a good story based on historical research and facts
How to share difficulties and rebuttals and yet to pursue our goals
How to self-publish, thanks hugely to Mary
An understanding of blogging, tweeting and the need to use social media to communicate as well as to identify markets and promote work. This capability will develop substantially this year.
With publications in environmental and agricultural research, my own style is as a technical reporter. Self-help books in various stages of disarray are my main projects. The forerunner is currently being assessed by an online agents/ publisher platform. Creative Writing is new to me as I avidly listen and learn at this writers’ group.
So enormous thanks to all who attend, to Needingworth Scribblers mentoring from a distance and to all who pop in to visit, giving us a real buzz. HWG has been asked to judge competitions for Noel’s new group in Suffolk and we consider that a real honour.
So here’s to shared pursuit of our dreams towards getting something worthwhile down in writing.