Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Sylvia Kent and Brian Hughes MBE
A warm welcome was extended yesterday to Brian Hughes, our first legal author to take his place in the Phoenix 98fm studio Book Club chair.  Brian is working on the last draft of his new book, a memoir,  which already has hit the 300,000 word mark.  Brian knows the Phoenix 98fm studio well, as he appears on several programmes weekly with Scott Ross discussing legal matters, but yesterday, the majority of Book Club, was dedicated to his new book project expected to be published early next year. As yet, untitled.

Presenter Michelle Ward, assisted by Oli, were amazed to learn of Brian's past history with so many adventures and life changes, which resulted into a lively discussion and promoted several calls.

Brian Hughes MBE Oliver and Michelle Ward, our presenter
We also discussed the current books which Billericay Readers' Group are reading, the Society of Women Writers and Journalists' London events - exciting times ahead - and, of course, Brentwood Writers' Circle activities - all perfect connections for those who are thinking of writing their own books.   Do keep your eye on www.swwj.co.uk  www.brentwoodwriterscircle.org and, of course, www.phoenixfm.com


Sunday, October 29, 2017


Following last week's anniversary of the memorable 1917 battles in the Great War, organised by the Essex section of the Western Front Association linked with The Cater Museum, another Essex event is in our diaries. 

Saturday 11 November 7.30pm is our red letter day when we experience local talented playwright Dawn Knox's unique play The Sons of Three Countries Remembered.  Full details are on the poster and as you see, tickets are available from 07849 736101. We look forward to seeing you there. Dawn is an award winning author and one of our newest members of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She was a guest recently on Phoenix 98fm radio programme Book Club presented by Michelle Ward.   

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Members of the Western Front Association
Today was rather a special day and one that I would not have missed - the annual gathering of the Essex Branch of the WESTERN FRONT ASSOCIATION in Billericay at our Reading Rooms. Karen and Steve Dennis organised this poignant exhibition in league with Bill Fulton (chairman of the Essex Branch of the Western Front Association) which was appreciated by us all.
Katie Wilkie, Curator

The Curator, Katie Wilkie  of our local Cater
Museum at 74 High Street, Billericay prepared a collection of books and artefacts which attracted many visitors. Katie and staff from the museum came along, together with friends and families with an interest in the Great War.

Here is an image I especially like - Ken Wisdom with his unique poster that he personally created.

Welcome to writers of America and Canada.quent visitors

Ken Wisdom with his wonderful poster

Welcome to new readers from USA and Canada

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Delighted to find other Pitman's shorthand writers around the world, courtesy of the web.  Have found other professionals who learned New Era system and still practise their speeds.   Nice little example below, courtesy of Beryl Pratt. This is beautifully  written as an example, but of course, when you are writing at great speed, it is almost impossible to add vowels and my shorthand looks a scrawl, but at least I can transcribe it, which it what the system is all about.
It's interesting to know that whatever some new writing system is introduced, Pitman's - when studied properly (and it does take a longish time) - will still produce the fastest shorthand speeds in the world. Ask Hansard!
Thanks to Russian writers
With thanks to Russian writers

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


😊Writers love meeting their readers and I enjoyed meeting and signing some of my ten books at a lively gathering today. My titles are mainly non-fiction but they do stay in the book lists far longer.  History is a great "evergreen" aspect and I enjoy being asked to take on different projects which involve research around the county of Essex, England.

By using radio shows and social media, my page view listings increase daily, mainly because my topics are eclectic and touch on so many people's lives.  This week sees my one thousandth article on this Blogger medium (283,000 pv) although I have copies of more than four thousand printed features in press/magazines, albeit over a longish period of time.  Many thanks for dropping by. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

So good to receive latest edition of HOME FARMER, one of my favourite regular journals, well - I do write a wine making feature every month for Paul and Ruth - two of the best editors I have worked with over a very long writing career.  If you care about what you eat and grow, you will find many excellent articles that will intrigue you and extend your expertise and interest. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Well, it's anniversary time and learning a little more about the centenary of the Russian revolution in October 1917 via BBC Radio 4 morning programme. Learning more about the ghastly murder of the Tsar Nicholas and his family on 17 July 1918.

 This time was not just about political revolution - the overthrowing of the Tsarist regime by Lenin's Bolshevik party - it was an unprecedented thought experiment, a revolution in ideas.  From women's emancipation to early thinking about the biosphere and the role of art and music joined with work. Have just finished Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (courtesy of Essex Libraries). Quite a lot of  rethinking about the Russians and their history.

British writers, thinkers and radicals including HG Wells, Bertrand Russell and Arthur Ransom either visited the Soviet Union or wrote passionately in support of the young regime. Sylvia Pankhurst corresponded with Lenin directly from London, while Bertrand Russell, on returning from Moscow, compared what he saw to the vision of Plato's republic. The Russian Revolution also gave a huge boost to the new and radical social sciences as they were beginning to grow - the idea that social institutions could be subject to critical scrutiny in a clear, scientific manner was thrilling to those Western intellectuals.  Intellectual opposition to 1917 was just as fierce. While energising the field of left-leaning thought, the Russian Revolution also politicised the purpose of more traditional philosophy and it came out fighting.  The historian Justin Champion explores the early years of the Russian Revolution of 1917 as an intellectually explosive and genuinely creative moment - bringing in new ideas, vocabularies and concepts, challenging and transforming Western thinking in the process.

Listen again on BBC Radio 4


Sunday, October 08, 2017


I rarely buy books, particularly yearbooks these days, but this one is a 'must'.  It is the bestselling guide to all areas of publishing and the media is completely revised and updated every year.

The Yearbook is packed with advice, inspiration and practical guidance on who to contact and how to get published. Foreword to the 2018 edition by David Lodge New articles in the 2018 edition on: - Writing popular history by Tom Holland - Editing and writing by Diana Athill - Ghostwriting by Gillian Stern - Writing Thrillers by Kimberley Chambers - The health and wellness market by Anita Bean - Self-publishing online by Harry Bingham - How to choose your agent by Jo Unwin - First Chapters by Emma Flint - Pitching your ideas by Mike Unwin - How to make a living by Alison Branagan All articles are reviewed and updated every year. Key articles on Copyright Law, Tax, Publishing Agreements, E-publishing, Publishing news and trends are fully updated every year. Plus over 4,000 listings entries on who to contact and how across the media and publishing worlds In short it is 'Full of useful stuff' - J.K. Rowling


Our SWWJ team enjoyed such a happy day at the National Liberal Club a few weeks ago when we welcomed our new President Baroness Floella Benjamin and her husband.
Oh, how I wish I could give a talk like that - without notes - brilliant!  and what a lot of work she carries out for children, along with a very heavy work schedule.  We had such a lovely time and hope she can come along to our future events. Check us out at www.swwj.co.uk

@swwj.co.uk  #swwj