Millie and Bird at Cullercoats

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The RNLI Cullercoats

On Friday evening, as part of the Iron Eclectic Festival, Avril read from her short story collection Millie and Bird  in the RNLI at Cullercoats.

She read The Trouble with Holy Island which seemed appropriate with the North Coast stretching away at her back. If you’d like to know more about why she found the festival inspiring and read the poem she wrote in response to it CLICK HERE.

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The Launch of Writing at the Maison Bleue

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For those of you who weren’t able to join us but we know were with us in spirit – here we are at the packed launch of Wendy Robertson’s Writing at the Maison Bleue.

Exceptional french wine as well as delicious food, a great reading from Wendy and of course a great crowd made for a wonderful evening

To all our followers – we hope you have a good bank holiday despite the rain.

The Launch of Wendy Robertson’s Writing at the Maison Bleue

Happy Easter to all our followers and below a special invitation from Wendy

BOOK LAUNCH
A date for your Diary?

MB

I wondered if you would like to join me for wine and a few French canapés to celebrate the launch of ‘Writing at the Maison Bleue’, my brand new novel about writing and writers.

At the Lafkaido Hearn Culture Centre in Durham City On May 1st .

Some of you are counties, cities, even oceans away, so I do realise you might not make it to my launch in person. But I am sending this invitation to all the people whose company, one way or another – in the flesh, at workshops, discussions or lectures, over wine or on line – I’ve so enjoyed in the last few years, during the process of moving from the capacious umbrella of a major publisher into the sunshine of independent publishing under the parasol of the RoomToWrite collective.

It goes without saying that I have loved writing this novel Writing at the Maison Bleue, reflecting as it does my love of France and my passion for writers, readers and the writing process.

If you can’t make it I really hope you will raise your glass, a coffee or a tea-cup on May 1st to Francine and her fellow writers at the Maison Bleue. You will then be there with me at the launch in spirit. If you manage to read the book perhaps you’ll let me know how it strikes you.

If you can make it (Hooray!) here are the details.
It takes place on Friday 1st May (7.30 – 9.30)
The Lafkaido Hearn Culture Centre* at the University of Japan
Mill Lane
Durham City
County Durham DH1 3YB
(Opposite the Oriental Museum)
Parking Available

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Julia’s Cafe Workshop

Saturday’s workshop in celebration of the the life and work of Julia Darling was a very special event. The kind of event we’re sure Julia would have approved of: full of laughter and fun, comradely, democratic and inspiring, buzzing with ideas and some truly dazzling writing.

To all who participated –  in no particular order – Judy, Liz, Kris, Sue, Christine, Eleanor, Linda, Rachel, Amanda, Eileen, Rosie, Hilary, Rachel, (and to John and Eileen who couldn’t make due to illness) Thank you for coming, thank you for sharing precious memories of Julia, thank you for the writing and the wonderful read around and thank you for contributing to Marie Curie Cancer Care. And last but not least, a huge thank you to Anne for running the show and making it such a great day.

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Photos by Gillian, Collage by Wendy – read more about the day here on Wendy’s Blog.

Do try and join us on March 20th for Avril’s book launch  – we’d love to see you there….

Julia’s Cafe – A Playwriting Workshop

We are delighted to bring you details of Julia’s Cafe – a playwriting workshop on Saturday March 7th –
The workshop, led by novelist and playwright Anne Ousby, will be a celebration of the life and work of the brilliant poet, playwright and novelist Julia Darling  – who could never resist a cafe.

 

Anne says :  Our Mum used to meet us from Junior school and we’d go to the afternoon pictures, sit in the front row, eat jam sandwiches and drink tea out of our thermos. We saw some great films and actors and some very inappropriate B films, like ‘The Monkey’s Paw.’ – I have only just stopped having nightmares about this. This whole experience began my love affair with dialogue and actors. As a writer I’ve had more thrills out of the plays I’ve written than anything else I’ve attempted and that’s how I first met Julia…

Anne has written plays for stage and radio as well as TV and film scripts, so why not come along to her workshop and join us in celebrating Julia’s extraordinay life . No previous experience necessary. Let’s just have a fun day in Julia’s Cafe…

Sat March 7th – 10am for 10.30 start at Teikyo University of Japan, University of Durham (opposite the Oriental Museum) –  finishing around 3.30pm

The workshop is FREE – we just ask you make a donation of £10.00 to Marie Curie Cancer Care (this will be collected on the day)

Places will be limted please e mail:  amjoy@hotmail.co.uk     to book your place – please use Julia’s Cafe in your subject line

Our Spring Programme

daffsHere at RoomtoWrite, we’re doing our best to shrug off that post Christmas gloom and those icy, January winds  by planning our Spring programme. This, as well as news of new working partnerships and projects, reminds us that the best is yet to come; there will be an end to cold and snow. There will be daffodils.

So what have we been up to and what’s on the programme? Firstly our planned events include:

A playwriting workshop at Teikyo on Saturday March 7th (a fun day) – details have still to be finalised but the workshop will be  a celebration of the life and work of the late, poet, playwright and novelist extraordinaire, Julia Darling.  The workshop fee will be modest and all proceeds will go to  Marie Curie Cancer Care. Further details and signing up in the next week or so.

For more about celebrations of Julia’s life, read Avril’s blog post HERE.

Friday March 20th – 7.30-9.00 pm – at Teikyo, the launch of Avril Joy’s short story collection Millie and Bird and Tales of Paradise from Iron Press – entry FREE – all are welcome. Please do come and share in our celebrations.

Friday May 1st  – in the evening at Teikyo, the launch of Wendy Robertson’s, (apologies for previous error)

Francine – At the Maison Bleu ~ Veteran romance writer Francine Costigan travels with new energy to Ruthie Dancing’s writing retreat on the Canal du Midi,determined at last to embark on a memoir of her extraordinary experiences as a messenger girl for the Resistance in World War Two. And the other writers at the Maison Bleu  have their own stories to tell…

Entry FREE – all are welcome. We very much hope to see you there.

 

In the coming year we are also intending to work more closely with North East writer Rachel Cochrane on community projects involving local writers. Ideas  are still in the discussion stage but we feel that a fruitful partnership lies ahead.

We have also – just last week – agreed a very special writing project with Forward Assist a charity working with war veterans of all ages in the North East – you can find out more about Forward Assist and our intended project HERE on Wendy’s blog

 

As always we apreciate your support in all our ventures and we will keep you updated just as soon as we have full details of the playwriting workshop –

Avril also has a FREE newsletter for writers and if you’d like to receive it every week just email her at  amjoy@hotmail.co.uk

Our Prize Winners Reception

recp 8There was a real buzz in the room last night with great coversation and much laughter as we celebrated the winners and shortlisted writers in our RoomtoWrite short story competition. We had a great time – and it seems that everyone else did too. Here’s what some of our writers thought of the evening…

‘Huge thanks to Avril, Wendy and Gillian for making last night such a special occasion; it was a lovely event, personal, welcoming and so thoughtfully planned. I particularly enjoyed listening to your feedback on all of the stories, although they all sounded so brilliant I did wonder if you’d picked the right winner! Chris (Yes we did pick the right winner.’  Chris! )

‘Thank you for a lovely time last evening, it was good to talk to all the short listed writers, there’s always a new friend to make. Listening to why the judges liked a particular story was so interesting and I’m looking forward to reading them all . You were all so kind to me, seeking me out to talk about my work. It was obvious all the judges really had read every story, and, although I’m sure Pat Barker was kind to all of us, I was thrilled when she spoke to me with such knowledge and understanding of my story.’ – Ruth

‘Room to Write is a really special and different competition – thrilled to have been part of the first one. Thank you all!’ Isabel

See more PHOTOS  from last night HERE

and to read our judges comments take a look HERE