Tuesday 20 November 2012

Monmouth Writers' Group

Welcome to my interview with Michael Mortimer from Monmouth Writers' Group.


Hello Michael.  Can you tell us a bit about your writing group?
Monmouth Writers Group.  Established in 1995.  Meets at Chairman’s home- Ty Heddwch.  Meets first Monday each month and occasionally for Workshops on third Mondays.
How many members, on average, does your group have?
We have always kept membership to maximum of 12.  For most of our 17 years we have been at that number often with a waiting list.
Who are you and what is your role within the group?
I am the Chairman and refreshments maker and provider. Host and Chair meetings.
How are your sessions structured?
Each month we have a topic and members asked to produce prose or poetry on topic. This is read to the meeting and commented upon. We need to keep members to 12 max to give time for each members contribution.
What types of things do you cover in your group?
Topics are very varied. Last 3 have been’ On the Beach’,  ‘Pilgrims’,  ‘Best Laid Plans’.
What have been some of your most popular/successful activities?
We have produced 3 anthologies sold for charity.  For some years we put on performance evenings well attended by about 50 or so ‘supporters’.  We also wrote a piece with sounds and pictures which was performed at least 7 times. 
What genres do the members of your group write?
We (deliberately) have new writers and published writers so work produced is vary varied. We especially enjoy seeing new writers blossom.  Until recently our youngest member was 15 and our oldest 93. (the 15 year old had to stop to attend rehearsals at school – she was a brilliant writer) There have been around 70 members over the years. (but not at the same time!).
What kind of support does your writing group provide for its writers?
One of our members runs a Creative Writing course and there are other very experienced writers.  Also we have visiting published writers to a workshop sometimes.  2 were previously members of the group. 
Where do you get your ideas/writing prompts from?
I produce most topics but sometimes ask others to.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
After you have written something (especially prose) tighten it up- try to précis it- will probably be better at a third or even half the length. (We had a member who taught writing at Open Uni. level and he always made this comment). 
Do members of the group get a chance to run/lead a session or part of a session?
Yes if I am away but they always insist I should chair if I am there.
How would someone go about joining your writing group?
Our details are on many websites etc. always with my details and I ask for a phone call or e-mail before anyone comes first time. 
Thank you Michael.

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