Tuesday, April 29, 2014

MAY DAY IS SPECIAL THIS YEAR - WE CELEBRATE OUR 120TH BIRTHDAY!

Amazing things happen at this time of the year.  I've researched so much history and folklore in Essex and will be letting you know some of our old county secrets in a few days.

Lady Sarah Wilson reporting from the
 Boer War in South Africa

But first, members of our Society of Women Writers and Journalists are gearing up to celebrate a very special birthday on Thursday 1 May. Members, friends and colleagues will be celebrating the Society's 120th anniversary.

In 1894, a dapper, wealthy newspaper magnate, Joseph Snell Wood had a wonderful idea.  He felt sorry that so many talented female journalists, playwrights and novelists were not regarded seriously in Fleet Street. With this in mind, he created a special club, with premises in London, originally called The Society of Women Journalists. More than 200 women clamoured to join.  The initial subscription was one guinea and among those pioneers were names such as the dramatist Pearl Craigie, Clemence Dane, Lady Sarah Wilson, Madame Sarah Grand, Dr Marie Stopes, Dame Rebecca West, Radclyffe Hall among many others.  Later, luminaries joined us, such as Vera Brittain, Elizabeth Longford, Marjorie Allingham and, of course, our sparkling Joyce Grenfell who brought such fun and fame to our Society.
Best selling author Martina Cole
 
These days, we are equally proud of our members and patrons who are among the most well known of modern authors, playwrights, TV and Television aficionardos.  They include Baroness Williams of Crosby (Shirley Williams), Dame Victoria Wood, Lady Sandra Howard, Sir Tim Rice, Simon Brett, Lord Quirk and the Earl of Stockton. Yes, we now welcome male associates.

We will be advertising some of our special events to be held in London over the next few months and suggest that folk with an interest in writing, will take a look at our website: www.swwj.co.uk  You will also see the cover of my book entitled THE WOMAN WRITER with a nice portrait of Joyce Grenfell on front.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

FELICITY GREEN - MAKING WAVES IN FLEET STREET

In my research for the current book I'm writing, I've discovered many famous folk who were born in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham. One, is Felicity Green, the brilliant journalist who was the first woman to join the board of a national newspaper.  She worked for the Mirror Group in the 1960s, when Fleet Street was an exclusively male environment and London was in full swing. Felicity, who can boast sixty years in the industry, recently spoke of her years as fashion editor on the Daily Mirror.  She remembered taking the mini skirt to Russia, meeting the designer Mary Quant and giving the then prime minister, Harold Wilson's wife, Mary, a home perm.

She spoke about her Dagenham childhood, when she gleaned her fashion sense from the silver screen. Skipping school to go to the cinema every Thursday afternoon with her father, Felicity was inspired by the Hollywood greats, 'Norma Shearer was my favourite. I kept a big scrapbook full of her pictures - but then I caught whooping cough, vomited all over it and the book had to be burned!'

And the octogenarian fashion expert's tip for looking good at any age?  'Look at this dress I'm wearing now (a simple black tunic), I'm 80-odd but I would have worn it in my twenties. Women mostly go wrong because they read an article saying 'Puff ball skirts are in' and think that they have to follow the latest craze. Experiment with fashion, just don't buy anything this year that you'll look daft in next year.' A great inspiration to us all. Felicity Green is, quite simply, a special person. She was a journalistic pioneer and she is a journalistic icon. And what style!



Thursday, April 17, 2014

FRIENDS OF LAKE MEADOWS - THE LATEST

Tree Sculpture

Wizard 6
Lake Meadows in Billericay, Essex, England, is busier than usual. After asking members and the public what they would like the tree trunk sculpted into, we were pleased to have received over sixty suggestions. These ranged from animals, including crocodiles, to people and totem poles but the overall winner was a wizard and a dragon, with over 35% of the votes.

The FoLM committee invited three sculptors to present their ideas and as a result a sculptor who has undertaken other figures in Essex parks, has been appointed. Now all we need is funding to achieve the project but we hope this will soon be achieved and that work will be starting around Easter to carve out these figures.

The aim behind the project is to encourage children to use their imagination and to make up stories. There will be a story session and sculpture workshops in the Spring. More to come - WATCH THIS SPACE (and Friends of Lake Meadows' website)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

STILL WITH MORRIS DANCING ON MY MIND

Billericay folk treasure their Mayflower Morris Men who were on top form on Sunday evening for Tony Motley's surprise birthday party. He had not the slightest idea that so many well-wishers were waiting for him at the Ivory Room - all dressed in their finery.  Although in mufti, he (fortunately) always carries his beautifully  bedecked tifter in the car and here he is, performing with his pals. Not the quiet dinner date with his family he anticipated.  But we certainly enjoyed celebrating with him.  Happy birthday, Tony.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

A VERY ENGLISH PIECE OF FOLKLORE - COMING UP 26 APRIL

A MUMMERS’ PLAY: ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON   Sat 26th April

Mayflower Morris Men will perform their Mummers’ play twice at 11 and 11.45 a.m. on Saturday 26th April on the corner of Billericay High St. and St. Edith’s Lane.  Totally free.  For all ages.  Remember to boo the Dragon!  See www.mayflowermorris.com for further details.

 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

AN EVERYWHERE: A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT READING by HEATHER REYES

Malcolm and Heather
 
Heather Reyes is a friend of mine and certainly of our Brentwood Writers' Circle members. She is a well known author, based in nearby Hutton in Essex. It's so good to hear of Heather's success in the world of writing.  Her first novel Zade, published by Saqi Books was a tale full of intriguing characters that still linger in my mind ten years later. This book was long-listed for the 2006 Prince Maurice Prize and her novel Miranda Road was published this year (it's on my reading pile), but it is her AN EVERYWHERE BOOK that is currently being read and which I find so beautifully and poignantly written.

Heather has edited nine anthologies highlighting the literary luminaries relating to world cities, for Oxygen Books' city-pick series.  If you are travelling to any major city around the globe (and you are keen on literature), do buy one and learn about the folk who are/were connected with that particular place.  This author's thought-provoking articles and short stories have appeared in a wide variety of publications in the UK and America.  She is also the author of four illustrated books for children. Take a look at her website www.heatherreyes.co.uk and you will understand how talented she is.

www.city-pick by Oxygen Books Malcolm Burgess and Heather Reyes (pictured)

Some of the best writing and best books on Berlin, Paris, New York, London, Istanbul, Amsterdam, St Petersburg, Venice and Dublin in our very original city-pick travel guide series... perfect gems of city writing ideal for city travel breaks or armchair reading. PLUS some new surprising reading adventures from Oxygen Books with An Everywhere: A Little Book About Reading ('a brilliant travel guide to the city of books', Helen Dunmore) and Miranda Road ('Hugely readable and quietly profound', Beatrice Colin).

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

JEAN McCONNELL'S SUPER NEW BOOK - JEAN IS A VP OF SOCIETY OF WOMEN WRITERS & JOURNALISTS

Start reading The Country Doctor on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

  


Deliver to:
 

 
 



 

Sample the beginning of this book for free
Deliver to:


Anybody can read Kindle books – even without a Kindle device-with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones and tablets.
The Country Doctor: Captivating tales from a young GP's case notes

 
 

The Country Doctor: Captivating tales from a young GP's case notes [Kindle Edition]

Jean McConnell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)



Kindle Price: £0.77 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.