Archive for 2012

Not tonight Josephine...

Do you know that Napoleon never actually said that...

So, we will not be meeting tonight - 20th December, but if you fancy wondering down to The Rising Sun, we may well be raising a glass or three in there from 8pm.

Happy Christmas everyone!

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Same Difference.

Last night

I was repeatedly let down: Part 2.

Bilal said he would be coming.  He didn't.

I thought Lee would read his poem about sex. But again he didn't, that young man is such a tease! 

We all thought that Steve would be late.  He wasn't.

The heating was functioning ( just about ) 

So, swings and roundabouts. On the swings ( or was it the roundabouts?)  we did hear another chapter from Lily's book which we all enjoyed, and I got there before it started raining :-)  

Oh and we have now officially retired the 'limegreenskunk' wgwg register of attendance because it's full.  It was started on November 9th 2006 when in attendance were Anne, Bilal, Treva Da Silva, Jeff Achampong, Steve, Lynsey and Joe...ah memories.

We will start the new book in the New Year, and yes,now you realise that that was the last wgwg of 2012 - and you missed it!

We are hoping to see everyone on the 15th ( unless you are in India, in which case we are assuming we won't)

 Details tbc soon!

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Last night

I was repeatedly let down:

Anne said that she would be late. She wasn't.

I thought I would bring cake. I didn;t.

I thought Mary would read from her novel. She didn't.

I though Lee would read about sex. He didn't.

I thought I would bring in something rewritten. I didn't (although, thank God, no one noticed).

On the other hand:

Anne as on time, so I got to chat with her. Awesome.

Cake it bad for you. Fair enough.

If Mary had read from her novel, I would be have been driven made with jealousy as it is so good. In the event, she read out something and, as soon as she was done, turned (to me? Or everyone?) and said 'you hated that didn't you?' I was able to say 'yes' and being so mean did my soul a power of good.

Lee reading about sex would merely have revved my engine...

People were very nice about my writing.

See... it was actually a great evening.

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Seven Go Exploring

Fiction and travel writing Ukraine, America and Pakistan. Free birthday cake from another table in the pub. There's only one thing left to say. nom nom nom

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Concrete Boats

I love it when it all comes together as it did last night.  Eight stalwart members, five fantastic readings and good craic in the pub afterwards - and lovely Lily is back from her travels. Truly our cups runneth over.

And please look out for the following - yes, it's not all sitting around drinking in The Rising Sun you know...

Mary's book,'The Tarot Killer' is out next week: 

The Green Press are publishing Lynsey's book, 'First Aid Kit Girl' in January.

SJ's book appears to have sold out but will be in stock again soon, never fear!

The conversation in the pub?  I remember something about someone who walked around with a lump of cheese on their head for four days ( think it might have been Peter Green, or was it Syd Barrett?)  Then there was definitely a concrete boat, oh and lots about death and drugs.  Then there was a sort of mini boot sale, and we decided against blockading Harlesden Road. It's probably for the best.

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Eight for Glory

One newbie and seven oldbies (old bees?). Two novel chapters and a short story. Not even Solomon was arrayed like Bilal. Good pub and home to Question Time on iPlayer "live restart". What else do you want to know?

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Writers on Tea

A good night, despite a mysterious 'no show' -you know who you are, and what you missed and then Lynsey couldn't make it because she is ill ( get well soon - keep taking the pills ).

So, Lynn read a piece called Diamond in the Rough,  well that's what it was called until Bilal got to work on it anyway. It's going to be a fine piece of work once she has buffed it up (sorry).  We all have favourite stories about our families and Lynn brings hers to life with such a true, delicate touch - lovely.

Bilal came dressed as a fisherman ( don't ask ) and read out another instalment of his fine book - with added Hermann Hesse, and why not...

SJ - some of us got the story straight away, others were a bit mystified at first, then the penny dropped.  The main message to take away from it is firstly,  that SJ is a fine writer, and secondly, don't ever, ever annoy her.

Then to the pub, where two of us sat drinking cups of tea - shocking.  Dylan Thomas would be turning in his grave...

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Fund It - help publish Saltwater

This is a fundraising appeal for Saltwater - a collection of short stories by Lane Ashfeldt. It is up to about 80% of the target with just three days left.

Lane Ashfeldt by SissuPlease consider sponsoring this short story collection. There are various rewards for different amounts pledged. For a small contribution, it is like placing an advance order.

Lane Ashfeldt’s short stories are fine and Lane has helped a lot of other writers via Lane is also a highly esteemed member of this writing group when she's in town. Alas for us, she now lives in Wales. 

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Strawberry Pencils - avoid.

Bilal arrived on time but he's still suffering the effects of bronchitis, so when he left before the end, we understood (and appreciated the effort).  Steve arrived half way through Clare's piece, but that's ok, that's life.  Alistair never made it at all, but we understood.  What we don't understand however, is strawberry pencils.  WTF is that all about?  Should you spot a can of strawberry pencils for sale in a pub, do yourself a favour and avoid them at all costs. True, they are somehow strangely moreish, but as Steve found to his cost, they are not the perfect accompaniment to red wine ( who knew? ) In fact they don't complement wine at all, not even the wine in The Rising Sun.

The writing - what of the writing I hear you ask.  Well, Clare read us the climax of her children's story and that school is violently erupting in quite unexpected ways, it's definitely not one for anyone with arachnophobia.  Steve gave us some more conversations between various characters including, Ada, Nora and Tony ( he's a one and no mistake ) and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next and whether it's a play or a short story... Then SJ read us the third of her trilogy of short stories, and do you know what, in my humble opinion, it was even better than the first two - I know!  How is that even possible?

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Thursday, from the perspective of Sunday...

Hallo.  I got so excited that Kensal Rise reached it's target, and then some, that I nearly forgot to blog.
Um, what happened Thursday night ?  Seems such a long time ago.  Ah yes, it's all coming back to me...
SJ read a blinder of a short story.  Really you should have been there, this story was bloody marvellous. I feel sorry for you because you didn't hear it. Where were you?  Mary read a much improved version of the one about the boy and his father with the ambiguous ending - I'm still not sure what happened at the end, and am quite happy with this state of affairs.  Jeff read out the next instalment of his new book, complete with instructions about how to cross the threshold of The Ritz (or not), Steve took us back to Ballymun Avenue for some great conversation and Lily read us one last story before heading off to Siberia.  Then we went to the pub.

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7th September is the deadline for Kensal Rise Library!

Please help save Kensal Rise Library - visit the site at
The Willesden Green Writer's Group has donated £1,000 to the cause, we think it's money well spent if it helps to keep this library going for the community.  Please give what you can, the deadline is Sept 7th.

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Like You Do

Thought it was going to be a damp squib tonight what with people away on holiday or lecturing at Syracuse university ( like you do) but you know what - it turned out to be a really good night. In fact for the first time in ages, we didn't get around to hearing everyone read.  Sorry Lily - you are first up on September 6th,  if you are back from sailing around Menorca and travelling around Siberia ( like you do ).
We heard Clare's continuing children's story which is reaching a thrilling climax and Steve's Irish family saga, told in his inimitable style. Newcomer Su read a fantastic short story set within the Sri Lankan community which, with some slight adjustments, will be a stomping good read, and to finish we had a poem that has a lot of potential from another newcomer, or should I say 'returner',  Abina.  Then off to the pub until eleven thirty to discuss, amongst other things, biros, propelling pencils and vomit ( like you do )


Tonight, 2 Aug has been cancelled

Olympics/summer/dance fever has spread through the regular members like a... er.. olympics/summer/dance fever.

The only person that can make it did say that she thought my shirt bright and my remarks brighter (which is basically the nicest thing that anyone has said to me this decade), but that she did not have anything to read.



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The Green Press is back!

Our publishing house is back in business and there's some exciting plans afoot.

If you're a part of the group, please let me know if you have something to contribute to the blog, all submissions gratefully received from poems, to short stories, to podcasts. Email me on


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We shall not be moved (yet)

Planning application to demolish Willesden Library withdrawn

A controversial planning application which would have seen a Victorian Library in Willesden High Road demolished has been withdrawn.
Plans for the re-development Willesden Green Library Centre, in High Road, Willesden will now be re-drafted by the developers Galliford Try.
The plans have attracted much criticism with campaign groups who have called for the old library, which was built in 1894 and stands in front of the current building to be preserved.
A spokesman for Brent Council said the decision to redraft the plans was to “allow more time to consider the design of the new cultural centre.” (Brent and Kilburn Times)

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Pipeline ahoy

Oh, lots of exciting things in the pipeline.  Watch this space for news of our next publication!  That's all for now, see you on the 21st...

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Next time, can we have red M&M's and Perrier water?

Thanks to the marvellous Queens Park Book Festival for looking after us in the hospitality tent on Sunday before and after our turns in the Qwerty tent. Mary Bracht has pictures and a report on her website.

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Queens Park books festival gig

The Willesden Green Writers' Group neverending world tour reaches Queens Park when we open the final day of the Queens Park Book Festival. Come and see us in the Qwerty tent. We have Mary Bracht, we have Tim Craven, we have me. What would you like to hear me read? Will there be children with angel wings and painted faces, will there be winos, will there be people in tweed jackets and sensible shoes?

Programme, ticket prices etc: Queens Park Book Festival. Our bit starts at 12 p.m. on Sunday in the Qwerty tent.

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The smell of Yoga

Once again the condemned library centre was jumping, with the voting ballot station in the education room, kids swarming all over the library, a big meeting in space 1. We had to take the place left by the Yoga class. How to describe it? It's not wintergreen, more like soggy cardboard. A couple of newbies thought we were very hard on a tyro short story but we were really just trying to be helpful and constructive. Another amusing excerpt from future bestselling novel in progress, then to the pub. Somebody said poetry was for girls, to which somebody else quoted Catullus 16. There was no shortage of wine.

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In the education room again this week. Three novel excerpts took us to the US for a chaotic road trip in a stolen car, a gaslit and foggy old London prowled by an assassin and to children stealing and sleeping rough in Seoul, Korea. We also had a first draft of a short story with a bit of industrial espionage.

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Wgwg Meeting Dates...

We meet on the first and third Thursday of the month at 8pm.

Here are the dates until September.

April 19th
May 3rd
May 17th
June 7th
June 21st
July 5th
July 19th
Aug 2nd
Aug 16th

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The Willesden Herald Short Story Competition Results

The first prize went to "Winter Lambing" by Virginia Gilbert. Equal runners up were "Curtains" by Charles Lambert and "Frost Heave" by Geraldine Mills. And what a fab night it was to be sure. Our boy Steve did himself and his competition proud - his speech was a masterpiece that left us well, speechless - it was quite magnificent. Well done everyone concerned.

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Cracking Night

'That were a cracking night' said Tim (or words to that effect) as we wondered out of the Rising Sun last night.  And he was not wrong, earlier we had heard his poem which made the Hanger Lane Gyratory system seem almost romantic - and that's no mean feat I'm sure you will agree.  Then we had Lynn's wonderful flash fiction piece about her father and finally John's piece took us back to Central America.  Have we persuaded him to write it in the first person I wonder?  Only time will tell.  In the pub Steve took the conversation down some very strange avenues that had us all in stitches, but then that is what we expect, nay, demand from Steve.

And don't forget this...

The Willesden Herald
international short story competition 2012

Willesden Green Library Centre
95 Willesden High Road, London NW10
8 pm - 10 pm, Thursday, 12 April

Nearest station: Willesden Green. Buses 52, 302, 98, 260, 266, 460.
Join actors from Liars’ League for an evening to celebrate the short story. Discover who has won the Willesden international short story competition 2012. Introduced by Sam Taradash.

Admission: Free. Refreshments available.

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Travelling (Thursday 15th)

Seven of us tonight - and we were taken to Central America, Korea and Russia, not bad for a quiet Thursday night. I know we had some damn fine writing read out but I'm not sure what happened afterwards, 'cos I went home, too tired to go for even a quick drink - shock horror...

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!


Steve's Idea

Remember back in the day when we used to do 'writing exercises'? Well, guess what, we did one last night - I know!

The first hour we had a very good poem from 'rising star in the literary firmament' Tim, and an excellent excerpt from Bilal's novel. Then, instead of disappearing down the pub, some sort of insanity took hold and we performed the aforementioned writing exercise, it has to be said, with varying levels of success. It was all Steve's fault, he suggested it and we took some persuading but once it was done I think we all felt a little pleased with ourselves for putting in the effort - or maybe not, depending on our level of success. Will we do it again next time - who knows? Will new member Chris come again - we hope so. Will there be more bay leaves, yes I do believe there will be.

So join us on 15th March for more rigorous literary criticism, a possible writing exercise (really?) and free bay leaves (!)

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Feb 16th

Well I must admit that initially the signs weren't looking good for tonight - illness and family commitments had cut a swathe through our ranks, or so it seemed. I sat in the room not expecting anyone to turn up...then five people arrived and we had a functioning group, phew. We critiqued a children's story, a poem and a short story and then repaired to the pub to talk about punctuation, bad writing, good writing, ghosts and Kindles. Alistair sported a very striking hat because it was his birthday and because you weren't there, you missed the opportunity to see Alistair's hat - it's too late now, he is off to South Africa for a while, we will miss him. We also have a new member - not the new member from last week, but a new new member, we hope she comes back, we liked her and we liked her writing - fingers crossed...


On a winter's night a writer

I HATE Italo Calvino.

Anyway, it's cold... it's colder than a politician's heart, it's so cold that the local flasher was caught describing himself to women, it was so cold the lawyers had their hands in their own pockets... etc, etc...

We were not expecting many people but five hardy souls turned up, including a new poet. The poet had spoken about how he had tried various other writers' groups, so when he read out, instead of being really nice and positive as even the most acid-tongued of are when a new person reads out for the first time, we had to make sure that our feedback was more insightful that whatever he had from other groups - so we gave it to him. We hope he comes back!

So there was poetry from the new member and only one other piece of prose, but we read, listened and vivisected til 9.20pm.

After the pub, this happened:

No one knows why.

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January 19th

Last night we had a free style beat poem, an empty shampoo bottle, some exquisite ballet dancing and an extremely unusual school, and free sandwiches in the pub. Excellent start to the year I'd say.

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Hello 2012

We kicked off 2012 with an all female group, although before we started there were some pithy comments via his mobile from Bilal about the submissions for his online book ( stand by for feedback folks - or should that be, take cover)

We heard further extracts from Mary and Lily's books both of which are excellent and bode well for the standard of writing in 2012 and then we went down the pub. Within minutes of us arriving, the pub was compeletely deserted - was it something we said?

Mary is off to her editing course, which unfortunately clashes with wgwg so we won't be seeing her for a while. We wish her well for the course - we will miss you Mary, don't forget to come back to us!

Next meeting January 19th - see you there.

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