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Monday, 1 February 2016

Writing groups in Swindon

I love hanging around with writers, and attend as many writing groups as possible. Recently a few people have asked me to list what's available, so here goes!

The famous blue gate of the Richard Jefferies Museum

Mulberry Arts at Richard Jefferies

The Richard Jefferies Museum is great! It hosts LOADS of writing groups! (And, as a bonus, if you're there late in the evening then the ghost might bang on the floorboards.) Details of their writing courses/groups are here. Some of the courses have already started so it might be best to write and query before paying to reserve a place.

It can be a challenge to find the museum so allow plenty of time for the hunt! Your best bet is to park at the Sun Inn (next to Coate Water). Then walk up the main road towards the Great Western Hospital, until you pass a blue gate (see pic above) set in the wall on your right. The next entrance on the right (a sort of gravelly driveway) is the museum.

Poetry Swindon Open Mic

Poetry Swindon used to be known as BlueGate Poets (because, again, they have strong links to the Richard Jefferies museum - see the 'blue gate' pic above!). Their "open mic" night is very friendly. You can bring a poem or short creative piece to read for your 5 minute slot... or you can just sit and listen to clever people reading clever words! Poetry Swindon also host many workshops throughout the year. See their events page for details.

Writers' Kitchen at Lower Shaw Farm

Also known as the Writers' CafĂ©, this informal gathering happens at Lower Shaw Farm on the last Thursday of every month. The next one's on 25 Feb 2016. Email Matt Holland if you want more info (follow this link to get the email address and full details of the group) or just turn up on the night. There's no need to book. You can bring something to read aloud (aim for a maximum of about 1,000 words) or just sit and enjoy listening to everyone else. the size of the group varies from month to month. If the group is small enough then feel free to ask for crit/feedback on your work. Cost is £2.

Swindon Genre Writers 

An informal gathering every couple of weeks upstairs at MacKenzies in Old Town. Details are here and if that link's not working then join the facebook group to get all the info. We usually bring a piece of work for crit/feedback but don't feel obliged - you're welcome to just join us for a beer!

Swindon Free Writers

I haven't actually managed to attend any meetings with these guys, so please check their site for details. They're a fun group who I believe tend to meet purely to chat rather than swap crit/feedback. There might be a few fun writing exercises as well. Come and vent your editing frustrations over a coffee!

Eastcott Writers

A group of novelists and poets, meeting for writing exercises as well as crit/feedback. They have a facebook group which gives all the details, and the group is also used to share work and feedback/comments. The meeting takes place on the first Tuesday of the month, at Savernake Street Community Hall. Bring a short prose piece (up to 1k words), or a poem. Cost is £2.

New College, Swindon

New College runs several writing courses as evening classes. Log on to their site, look for "part-time study" and then search for "creative writing". If their site hasn't changed, then this link should hopefully do all that for you. I'd recommend the "Creative Writing for Beginners" class to everyone, whether you think you need it or not! It's currently run by Hilda Sheehan (one of the "Five British poets to watch in 2016"!) who is a master at introducing you to new worlds of artistic writing. She'll change the way you write for the better!

Mum's the Word

You need to be a mum to attend this group, and I don't have the necessary qualifications. It happens at the same venue as the Writers' Kitchen (see above). Details are here.


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