Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on the above date.

Present: Adele, Barbara, Harry, Jenny, John, Karen, MicheleIan (chair).

Apologies: Gill, Kaz, LesleyPip.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Harry drew attention to the Bridport Prize this year – the UK’s foremost annual short story prize. Closing date: 31 May 2023. Something new is a section for self-published authors to submit a precis and 5,000-8,000 words of their first novel.

Members’ Readings

John — introduced his novel: Painted Jack. A soldier returns from the war, and savours the atmosphere of civilian life with mixed feelings.

Ian — read two poems: Inuit Aren’t Fools; and The Angels of Okinawa.

Barbara — continued with her murder mystery. The scene is Market Pickwell, England in 1950. John interviews Mrs Crawford at the scene of an aggravated burglary at the manor. The invalided Mrs M has been found lying on the floor of the library. The name of a young Polish refugee, Jacek, turns up in the course of the enquiry. John decides to interview him too.

Harry — distributed a handout of the next instalment of his latest sea memoir. The majority of the crew are Asian, some speaking no English. The author describes how the different tribes, creeds and castes need to be addressed in the lingua-francas available to him.

Karen — describes how she was encouraged to novelise her dissertation for her degree course on English and Creative Writing on her chosen topic: Mary Eleanor Bowes, and to write it in the first person. Mary, she felt, was crying out to be vindicated.

Michele —  read a further instalment of her novel in-progress: The Undesirables, set in Southern Africa during the Boer War, 1898-1902. We now view Camp Irene through the eyes of the new camp doctor. In a violent incident a soldier shoots a black man dead, then claims he was only following orders. The doctor has the man arrested. But it is clear to him that the incident arose because the participants did not share a common language.
Only recently qualified, the doctor has seen terrible things in the war, and has drifted into taking laudanum in order to get to sleep at nights.

Jenny — continued reading from her period novel in-progress based on the historical figure of Mary Eleanor Bowes, the heiress of a vast fortune from the Durham coalfields. Her father having died, the teenage Mary is taken to London by her mother, where she is introduced to metropolitan society. She meets and falls in love with (“the beautiful”) Lord Strathmore, who pays court to her in gentle and appealing ways.

The meeting closed at 1:05 PM.