Secrets of Crime

Crime novelist Debbie Young revealed the secrets of her success at an evening hosted by Wotton Writers Group this month. Debbie, who organises of the Hawkesbury Upton literature festival each April, is the author of the seven Sophie Sayers village mysteries and the St Bride’s School series of funny-feel-good books. Members of Somewhere Else were warmly welcomed by the Wotton Group who had invited us to join them for the evening in North Nibley Village Hall. You can find out more about Debbie’s writing life – and her books here.

Indigo Dreams

Frank McMahon was delighted to learn that his poem, The Stag, had won second place in the Indigo Dreams competition, Wild Nature.The poem will feature in an anthology of other prize-winning poems in 2022. Indigo Dreams is a successful indie publisher, with three magazines and collections from individual posts. You can find out more about them here.

Protecting Our Seas

The Seafarer, a poem by Iris Anne Lewis, has just been published in Issue 2 of Seaborne Magazine, a digital literary and arts magazine.Based in Cornwall, the editors are committed to helping keep our seas clean and support the wild and marine life who are dependent on it and will be donating a percentage their sales to local charities who help protect the oceans and marine life.
Issue 2, with its theme of storms, omens and monsters, has contributions from writers and artists around the world and includes poetry, fiction, non-fiction and artwork all about the sea. Why not head over to the magazine website here and treat yourself to a copy?
35% of the revenue from sales of this issue will be donated to Surfers against Sewage, a charity that helps fight against ocean pollution.

Sweet Resolution

This month’s featured writer is Clare Roberts, whose passions include wild water, music and mountains. Formerly a journalist, Clare now studies poetry, alongside her work teaching piano and singing. Her poem, ‘Tar Barrels of Allendale’ available to read here is one of two published in ‘Voices,’ a brand-new anthology of writing by the students and alumni of the University of Gloucestershire.

Clare says: ‘To hear different voices, we must listen. As a keen singer, the theme of the anthology conjures the idea of different melodies creating harmony. There will sometimes be dissonance, but that can make the waiting more poignant, and the resolution sweeter.’

Clare also writes radio programmes for Corinium Radio under the banner of Somewhere Else Writers, exploring themes including Inner and Outer Space, and Playfulness, using literature and music.

‘Voices’ is available through the university bookshop. You can also read ‘Tar Barrels of Allendale’ by clicking on the ‘Poem of the Month’ logo.

Graffiti Competition

Massive congratulations to Frank, Iris and Graham for their success in Graffiti magazine’s issue 27 competition.

Frank was runner up with his poem “Fingerprints”, Iris was commended twice for her poems “Monastery of Geghard” and “Votive”, and Graham was commended for his prose piece “Withheld”.

The full results are:

Poetry Winner : Marilyn Timms – The Shepherd’s Two Pocket Abacus

Runners up: Elizabeth Horrocks – Penelope Speaks

Frank McMahon – Fingerprints

Commended: Iris Lewis – Monastery of Geghard

Christine Griffin – Still Life

Judith van Dijkhuisen – Visiting the Hospice

Iris Lewis – Votive

Prose results

Winner: Joy Mawby – Journal of Mary Hughes

Runner up: Christine Griffin – Playing Piano at Joe’s Bar

Commended: Graham Bruce Fletcher -Withheld

Maggie Goddard – The Novice Deceiver

Marilyn Timms – Witness Statement

Sue Johnston – Eggshells

The Way Ahead

This month’s featured writer is Graham Bruce Fletcher, who was born in Leeds, Yorkshire and brought up between Yorkshire and Cirencester.  He has written for as long as he can remember, and hopes to continue to remember for as long as he can write. He has worked in many different fields, several offices (and other indoor locations), and travelled around Europe as a Marketing Director in the medical industry until he stopped inflicting himself upon employers to focus on writing both fiction and music, having retired at the age of fifty due to the opportunity he found in having survived cancer.

He is interested in almost everything, except reality TV shows, fashion and fast cars. He is a keen observer of other people’s behaviour, and an eavesdropper on private conversations with the intention of stealing ideas for his writing. He is particularly eager to hear the strange details of other people’s lives, a task he finds much easier now that people do not hesitate to hold intimate personal conversations loudly and in public on their mobile phones.  Any resemblance between real people and events and his stories is likely to be intentional.

Graham’s short story ‘The Way Ahead’ is featured in this month’s Cirencester Scene. You can read it by clicking on the story of the month logo on the Somewhere Else Writers’ website, or here

Tea break in Old Sodbury

Sophie Livingston wrote this month’s featured poem, ‘Old Sodbury’, while walking the Cotswold Way with her husband Jo. She says: ‘We’d spent a lot of the 100 miles talking about the stress in our lives. Walking always helps us get things in perspective – but the moment described in the poem when we took tea in the graveyard was one of those miraculous ones when all your worries suddenly seem trivial.’

Sophie worked as a journalist for 15 years before turning to fiction. Her work appears in national magazines and has been broadcast on BBC Radio. She was long listed for the InkTears flash fiction competition in 2017, the Fish Short Story Prize in 2020 and the Bath Short Story Prize this year. She was also long listed for the Mslexia/Poetry Book Society Prize in 2019. Recent work has featured in ArtemisPoetry (sic) and two Black Bough Poetry anthologies. During lockdown she founded the ‘Improbable Book Cafe’ ( a virtual coffee shop for people to unwind and listen to mood-lifting short stories and poetry. To read Old Sodbury click on the ‘Poem of the Month’ logo above. You can listen to a recording of Old Sodbury, plus other poems and stories by clicking here.