Monday, May 27, 2019

ARTWORK REQUIRED FOR BRENTWOOD ART TRAIL (COURTESY OF 'ENJOY BRENTWOOD MORE')

L
Just noticed this little note about the Brentwood Art Trail which is included in the May-June 2019 ENJOY BRENTWOOD MORE! magazine.So many friends are clever artists and I'm hoping they will check out the website:
brentwoodarttrail.co.uk 
Neighbouring Billericay also runs a similar Art Trail and it is a pleasure always to view some of the best artwork in Essex.  Picture credit: Villene Hyam. Editor Hayley Anderson



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

WISHING OUR LOVELY SWWJ MEMBER ELIZABETH LORD A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY

So many of our wonderful SWWJ members are celebrating their  new books published this summer, and one - Elizabeth Lord (we know her as Ivy) is currently celebrating her birthday today as well as a new book. She has been a member of our Society for more than 35 years and in that time has had 30 books published.  We all wish Ivy a very happy 91st birthday. She is our great friend and my model for my first (and only) front page publication for the Writing Magazine below.

STOP PRESS! OUR PRESIDENT STRIKES GOLD AT RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW

Our SWWJ President, Floella Lady Benjamin has many strings to her bow and the latest arrived yesterday at London's RHS celebration of perfect gardening. She is obviously delighted as can be seen with this snap of her receiving her second Gold Medal Award for "Floella's Future". Lovely news passed on to our many members - check us out at www.swwj.co.uk. I'm happy to do a little weeding, Floella, just drop me a line!

Monday, May 20, 2019

ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY - VIP DAY AT CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW

Today, first day of the Chelsea Flower Show in London is usually where you once found me on VIP day. After fifteen years regular attendance, I am home in my office writing - of course - but have a deadline for my new book, so will have to resort to television-watching this evening. Always enjoyed the day meeting so many super folk from every walk of life, but then of course I had to write the features for editors and send off the images that evening.  Quite a frantic time, I seem to remember.  Here are a few memories from times past. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

READING GROUP DISCUSSIONS - THIS WEEK MARC CHAGALL

Although we are a 'reading group', contents and topics are invariably discussed on Book Club at Phoenix 98fm. Today, a member brought up the topic of the Russian-born artist Marc Chagall's modern stained glass windows. I remembered this unusually striking  artwork which is a wonderful memorial window set in the east window of All Saints church at Tudeley, a tiny village in Kent. Simon Jenkins, the expert on British monuments, in his great book ENGLAND'S THOUSAND BEST CHURCHES, gave this building a fascinating critique. The last time I visited Tudeley (a place I knew well from childhood) was on a dull day, but the windows in the south wall of the nave are wonderful, giving the visitor a treat in which the artist used his blue and yellow shades within his beautiful glass work. The work was commissioned by the parents of a daughter who was drowned in a sailing accident in 1963. When the first window was installed in the church in 1967, it was so admired that more windows  for the entire church were commissioned. Seven arrived in 1974 and the final four in 1985, the year of Chagall's death. 

REVISITING BLETCHLEY PARK AGAIN - COURTESY OF THE BBC

Now and again we hear a really good programme on BBC Radio 4 and this morning's script re the gender balance at Bletchley Park during World War Two - very much a topical theme today - was fascinting.  Reminds me of some of the members of our SWWJ whom I interviewed many years ago - some of whom had served at Bletchley Park during that war and after.  I did use the  topic as a feature for one of my columns at the time, which meant more research - as there's so much out there to learn about this period of history. Here is one of my favourite Bletchley girls - the late Mary Kenyon and I know there were many other such wonderful women within our Society, who still won't say too much about their valuable work carried out so long ago.  Mary was our guest on Book Club courtesy of Phoenix 98fm radio studio, a few years back and she really was one of our most interesting contributors to the programme. 

Copyright Sylvia Kent

Saturday, May 11, 2019

POET CAROL ANN DUFFY STEPS DOWN - NEW POET LAUREATE

Gosh - that decade sped by (check out my blog post for 8 October 2009)! Now we have a new poet laureate. I've met most of the living PLs from my interviewing days plus numerous other published poets at our SWWJ and ALCS events over the last couple of dozen years at various writers' events. However, I know very little about this newly installed poet laureate Simon Armitage, a former prison officer who succeeds Carol Ann Duffy. She has been the only female PL, although one of our very earliest SWWJ members, Alice Meynell was in the running to don the mantle. 


The poet SWWJ member Alice Meynell

I write about her in one of my books THE WOMAN WRITER page 7 details below.  You will discover why, in 1913, she was turned down, yet Alfred Lord Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling and G K Chesterton were all rooting for her. You could say these were 'bloggers of their day'. 

We are proud of the poets in our Society of Women Writers and Journalists, so do take a look at our website - see below.

One of my books which is currently undergoing reprinting and available soon is THE WOMAN WRITER published by The History Press  ISBN 978-0-7524-5159-6. Part of my research covers the most momentous years of our international Society when the wonderful Joyce Grenfell was our president, followed by a succession of famous names such as Clemence Dane, Vera Brittain, Elizabeth Longford, Shirley Williams,Nina Bawden,Victoria Wood and now the lovely Floella, Lady Benjamin. You can order this history via the SWWJ website: www.swwj.co.uk




Thursday, May 09, 2019

AN ANGLO SAXON LYRE AND OTHER ARTEFACTS AWAITING INSPECTION - FABULOUS NEWS SENT TO ME TODAY

Such exciting news today from historic pals in Essex regarding the ancient burial site that seemingly was excavated some years back just up the road in Prittlewell, Southend. Pictures and more information about the content of this amazing discovery are arriving soon. Archaeologists at Essex University are releasing information gradually, but the suggestion is that Christianity may have arrived earlier than previously believed, according to experts at the University of East Anglia. I would love to see that lyre and other artefacts in due course. The burial site was discovered beneath a roadside verge and has now been hailed as the UK's  “equivalent of Tutankhamun’s tomb”. Shall update as I receive information. 


NEW EDITION OF WOMAN WRITER NEWSLETTER NOW ON DISPLAY IN LOCAL LIBRARY


MORE SWWJ PICTURES FROM LONDON'S STATIONERS' HALL

SWWJ Patron Lord Stockton and VP Valerie Dunmore
Warm wishes to readers who were interested in the Society of Women Writers & Journalists' great 125th birthday luncheon held last week at the magnificent Stationers' Hall in  Ave Maria Lane. Hello to my regular viewers from the US and Canada.  What a joy to welcome so many great writers and their guests, in particular our President,  Floella, Lady Benjamin, the Earl of Stockton and other friends and members of this ancient Society who came along to celebrate with us.  The menu was superb and this venue  is one of the most beautiful livery halls in the City of London. 


Always delighted to meet a chef or two pictured here with our friends who just loved the results of his kitchen

Photographer Olivia Gerard with her camera and yours truly

As Archivist to SWWJ, it was interesting for me to meet others who share this title and love history which was all around us. Former members met here over 80 years ago and we have held some amazing events within, hosted by some of the world's most famous writers and entertainers. 
Our guest speaker last week was the well known novelist Kate Mosse and I am now reading her new book  The Burning Chambers which is the Sunday Times No. 1 best seller. More pictures will pop up soon, but currently working on my own manuscript with deadline approaching.  Click on to www.swwj.co.uk for updated information and maybe a chance to join us.   

Saturday, May 04, 2019

SUPER SWWJ DAY SPENT AT STATIONERS' HALL IN THE HEART OF LONDON'S CITY FOR OUR 125TH CELEBRATIONS

Well, we waited and planned and eventually met many of our lovely members and guests on Thursday at the historic Stationers' Hall in the City of London to celebrate our 125th birthday.  Chairman Barbara Field-Holmes and her team worked hard to make the occasion memorable and it was a truly wonderful day. The lunch was superb and Floella, Baroness Benjamin - our President - gave an inspirational introduction. We absolutely loved meeting our guest speaker Kate Mosse who spoke about her life and work as one of the most successful novelists today, later signing her current best-selling book The Burning Chambers.  We now have more members and some new friends - always positive additions to our sometimes solitary lives as writers.  Long live the SWWJ!  Do stop by at www.swwj.co.uk and see what's on offer to professional writers. 
Laura Burkin and Patrick Forsyth from Brentwood Writers' Circle