The Warmth of Winter Words


After keeping my head down for a couple of months and getting on with a bit of actual writing, I’ve ventured out again. Last Thursday, the day towns across the country turned on their Christmas Lights, I hosted another open mic Upstairs at the Globe in Warwick.


Bren Littlewood reading from Echoes of Justice

My planning was less than perfect this time around. I had inadvertently chosen the same evening as the Warwick Victorian Market; the town’s carparks were under severe pressure and some of the roads were facing gridlock. Frankly, I was worried: Would the readers (some of whom were travelling a considerable distance) make it to the Globe on time? Would our audience think better of it and stay home in front of the TV instead?


with Bren Littlewood and Debbie Young

I should have had more faith. Warwickshire (and Gloucestershire) writers are made of much sterner stuff! And our lovely audience braved the crowds (and the crowded carparks) and were rewarded by a richly diverse mix of offerings  in a beautiful, atmospheric venue. Enough to warm the chilliest of winter evenings.

There weren’t many photographers in the room this time around, so I don’t have lots of pictures. Instead, here are the brief biographies of the writers who read with me during the evening:

John Bishop

John Bishop become interested in poetry when hearing The Moody Blues in 1967. On hearing Pam Ayers in the ‘70s he began to write his own poetry. With over 4000 unpublished poems, this is his first ever open Mic. (He read some on the 4th plinth but it was 1 am. The audience was somewhat limited.)

Gwyneth Box

Gwyneth’s writing explores the literary borderlands between writer and narrator, translation and creation, and memoir and invention. Personal experience often provides the raw material for her writing, but she believes that real life is merely a stepping-stone to the poetic: facts can – and should – be sacrificed if they get in the way.

program-snapTerri Daneshyr

Terri Daneshyar began writing stories for children many years ago. She is a founder member of StoryVine, a Warwick based children’s writers group. With their help and encouragement, she has just completed her first novel, a YA fantasy. By day she masquerades as a teacher.

Jacci Gooding

Currently beavering away behind the scenes, competition winner Jacci enjoys working with other authors and reading at open-mic events.

Kitty Heap

Kitty Heap’s story, Sometimes You Have to Fall Before You Fly, was selected from more than 123,400 entries to progress to the second round of this year’s BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words Competition. Kitty is currently in Year 9 at Stratford Girls’ Grammar School. Kitty read Innocents’ Song  by Charles Causley.

Chris Hogarth

An ex-Shottery girl, Chris Hogarth is returning to the haunts of her youth this evening. These days she lives in a beautiful watermill in the depths of a magical Welsh valley, the subject of her tribute to Dylan Thomas.

Nick Le Mesurier

Nick Le Mesurier is a playwright, occasional poet, short story writer, researcher, and blogger about birds and culture. He has had monologues professionally performed. He writes for a Coventry based charity that helps musical and other developing artists nurture their skills through performance. Kate Wiltshire joined Nick in reading his duologue.

Bren Littlewood

Bren Littlewood, writing under the pen name of JJ Franklin, has written scripts for the BBC and her first novel, Urge to Kill, is a psychological thriller featuring DI Matt Turrell. Bren read from her second book in the series, Echoes of Justice. Both books are set in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Sue Newgas

Sue has been messing about with words since she sat at the family kitchen table as a wee child, making up poems and plays on her mother’s Olivetti. She’s worked as a copywriter, freelance journalist, loves writing stories and poems, and is delighted to be a member of the wonderful StoryVine children’s writing group!

Jane Scott

Jane Scott wrote her first book, Jane’s Book of Poems at the age of nine. While her children were young, she wrote pantomimes to raise money for the PTA and has since written many humorous poems and monologues for village events. These days, Jane writes, acts and directs for the Barford Drama Group.

Ellie Stevenson

Ellie Stevenson is the author of three novels, a collection of surreal short stories (Watching Charlotte Brontë Die) and a booklet on Writing for Magazines in the UK. Her latest novel, The Floozy in the Park includes an unsolved murder, a missing woman and an Edwardian mystery. Ellie is currently working on her next piece of long fiction, fuelled by inspiration, determination and coffee!

with-debbie-and-brenDebbie Young

Stocking Fillers, Debbie Young’s collection of Christmas short stories, has been described by one reviewer as “A delightful tray of wrapped Christmas bon-bons,”, but fortunately they don’t contain any calories. She’s currently working on a festive cosy mystery, Murder in the Manger, and hoping not to be struck down.

Thanks to all the readers. Let’s do it again in the Spring/Summer next year!




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