The purpose of the trip today, however, is to attend the Society of Women Writers and Journalists Annual General Meeting which is to be held the Liberal Club.
I have been a member of the SWWJ for many years on the strength of an earlier career in freelance journalism, but many of the members are well established journalists, published novelists, short story writers and poets. ‘The society started in 1894 by newspaper proprietor, Joseph Snell Wood and has a rich and varied history. During the Society’s first three years, it was managed by its founder, who bore all the initial expenses and is still prospers today.’
When the AGM formalities were over, we had the prize winners of the annual poetry competition adjudicated by Ross Kightly, who presented the Elizabeth Longford Trophy for Poetry to Dorothy Pope. Doris Corti came second in the competition and there were other worthy winners of certificates.
Ross Kightly is an established poet who was born in Melbourne and worked as a teacher both in Australia and the UK. Viral encephalitis hastened his retirement in 2007. However his chapbook, Gnome Balcony was published in 2011 by HappenStance Press, and he is still published in several poetry magazines. He is currently engaged in the translation of Italian poetry.
The keynote speaker Katy Guest, Literary Editor of ‘The Independent on Sunday’, gave us a lively talk about her work of a journalist. Katy is a cheerleader for old-fashioned paper books and believes that reports of their imminent demise are an exaggeration. I loved her list of the most popular questions she is asked.
As well as many events and a regular magazine for members, the Society has an excellent probationer’s membership scheme which is a good way for new writers to get on the ladder of success with their writing.
Having spent much of my life as a puppeteer, teacher, lecturer etc. my freelance journalism, although successful, became spasmodic. Oh the joy of changing genre from journalism to poetry even if somewhat late in life. I think I will always be an apprentice poet, but success for me is just to keep going. This was confirmed by Ross Kightly, who also shared some interesting websites during an enlightening chat after the proceedings.
(See the http://www.swwj.co.uk/ website for much more on this inspiring organisation)
An award winning blog for ‘a blog that brightens our day’!