The Writers

Kate Cheasman

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It was inevitable that I should end up being involved in writing groups and, for five years, tutoring one. My love of words began with bedtime stories. I remember those words on the crisp pages and the excitement of turning the pages.

I was fortunate to have excellent English Language teachers throughout my education and words were still magical: the sounds, the rhythm, the pictures they painted. Poetry was encouraged and we were asked to write as well as read them. Writing poems is a skill I embrace to this day. Choosing words that fit the metre and best portray the mood is a very enjoyable discipline.

Seeing my work in print started with contributions to the school magazine and moved on to having stories and poems published. Nothing can beat the thrill of the first time this happens. Linked to this was the chance to read on the local radio.

When I was asked to run Cutting Edge Writers, at first it seemed a daunting challenge. I little realized what joy I would get from the task. To see members gain confidence and the ability to express their diverse ideas with clarity and flair, is immensely rewarding.

Felicity Jelliff

Flick2It is safe to say that I was brought up with a literary background as my mother and my two uncles were all published authors, not to mention various ancestors whose books adorned the book cases. As a child I wrote short stories and later reports for various village societies. With grand ideas of following in my mother’s footsteps I wrote a romantic novel which was duly rejected.

Several years were spent running a restaurant and on retirement I wrote, what I hope, was an amusing account of my experiences, this was published by a local publisher. With a local artist we self-published  a short illustrated book of the history of our village. Since joining Cutting Edge Writers, energies are taken up with ‘homework’. There are three novels in the pipe line where they appear to be stuck!

Malcolm Knott

Malcolm picMalcolm Knott is a retired barrister and academic who sat for many years as a part-time judge. He now spends a few weeks every year training young lawyers in courtroom skills. A voracious reader, especially of non-fiction, his wide-ranging interests outside the law include stamp collecting, toy soldiers and the theatre.

His only published work is a textbook on employment law but he has privately printed half a dozen Sherlock Holmes adventures which he modestly describes as ‘rather better than some of the originals.’ The style is authentic. In the first adventure Holmes is consulted by a distraught young woman whose father has mysteriously disappeared. ‘You must begin at the beginning,’ says Holmes. ‘At the moment I know nothing about you, beyond the obvious facts that your father is a soldier, your mother died some years ago and you have recently ceased to play the violin.’

Malcolm is now researching and writing up his family history. When time permits he is also working on a non-fiction book, A true and Authentic Account of the Death of Mary Ashford, a murder mystery from the early nineteenth century.

Favourite authors: P. G. Woodhouse, Arnold Bennett and Georges Simenon. Desert island book: The Invasion of the Crimea by A.W. Kinglake (in 6 volumes).

Sue Gow

Sue Gow - Final2My introduction to fiction began with stories told by my gaggle (gabble!) of great-aunts. As a small child, I was transfixed by the vividness of their childhood in Eire.

I was a voracious reader quite young, frightening myself with Grimm’s Fairy Tales and escaping into books about history and worldwide expeditions. I made up stories for my siblings, perhaps carrying on the previous generation’s oral tradition and later, as a drama teacher in a primary school, helped the children write their own stories and plays.

My first brush with writing for others started with letters home to my family and friends, after moving to Canada. I enjoyed conjuring vivid descriptions of my life and travels, as well as the highs and lows of being a new immigrant.

Then a year ago, I was encouraged by a member of Cutting Edge Writers to come to a class. With more than a little trepidation, I went and haven’t looked back since. The encouragement of the group, many of whom are published writers themselves, and their helpful critiques of my weekly assignments have been a great boost to my confidence, as I now challenge myself to be more ambitious and creative in my writing.

Dennis Skeet

Dennis1I first wrote at school and loved it. Then came a gap of fifty years or so before I took it up seriously. Starting with a distance learning course I completed all twenty modules in two years. The first thirteen were non-fiction, a definite must according to my tutor. By mid-course I had earned enough in magazines payments for articles published to pay for the course fee.

Fiction is quite different; for a start it is more competitive. But I enjoy the creativity although I have had limited success compared to non-fiction. I’ve been short listed in writing magazines and a couple of on-line writing competitions. However, I did score a success in one popular woman’s magazine by writing a romantic short story; not my normal genre but a challenge nonetheless.

Our small group not only sets the creative juices flowing but it is a pool of like-minded individuals who possess writing talent and humour in equal measure. The latter, an additional requirement of any organization that likes to take itself seriously. We write every week and we have fun doing so. Creative writing refreshes the parts of literature that other forms cannot reach.

Maggie Cammiss

Maggie Cammiss1Following a long career in television news, I began writing seriously when I moved from London to Norfolk with my partner and joined a local writing group, Cutting Edge Writers, in Halesworth, Suffolk. Write about what you know, they said, and my experiences in 24-hour rolling news provided a lot of the inspiration for my debut novel, No News is Good News, which is set in the familiar environment of a television newsroom, and was published by Accent Press in December 2014.

Writing can be a lonely pursuit and the regular input and support from people who understand the process was a huge benefit. The comments and criticisms I received from my fellow writers helped me enormously and served as a valuable editing tool.  I believe that staring into space with a cup of tea to hand is a legitimate use of my time and I take a notebook and pen everywhere because I’m an inveterate eavesdropper.

My second novel, Breaking News, is out now.

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Phil Harley

Phil in San Telmo BarA recent recruit to Suffolk, I have been writing fiction seriously for about four years. In a past life I earned good money writing policy documents and academic papers, now I earn nothing writing what I enjoy.

I took retirement early, sold my house and with my wife circumnavigated the world a couple of times. It was a seminal experience and, through the act of keeping a journal, I realised how much I wanted to write. I’ve belonged to several writing groups and have attended an Advanced Novel Writing Class in Norwich.

Whilst I enjoy producing short stories and poems, some of which can be enjoyed in the Cutting Edge Anthology, my main ambition remains to have a novel published. I have self –published one – Tissue of Secrets – and am just completing a second, partially set in Southwold. I have read some extracts on local radio and this summer will be sending it off to agents. Should I be successful I will be in the fortunate position of having achieved all my worldly ambitions.

Sheila Ash

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After decades of writing only business and management reports, having lived and worked on 4 continents, and travelled extensively on 5, I felt I needed to re-find the depth and breadth of my native language.  I joined my first creative writing group upon returning to live in the UK in 2014 when my initial thought was to write the fantasy sagas I love to read. Instead, I unearthed a poet!  In 2018, I joined Cutting Edge Writer in order to hone that skill through the constructive critical feedback of fellow writers.  I blog about reading, writing and travelling at   http://www.ashramblings.com/

 

Simon Watts-Lee

I was born in Aden – now in the Yemen but in those days it was part of the British Colonies. I had difficulty with schooling and distance learning, getting most of the letters in each word but not necessarily in the right order. I did much better with Maths; however, towards the end of schooling I was inspired by my English teacher and enjoyed creative writing despite a mental block with certain aspects of English.

After many years of working with maths and computers I rediscovered my interest in creative writing. I joined Cutting Edge Writers in 2012 and have tried to improve my grasp of English language with various writing courses.

Come the revolution English will be rationalised in terms of spelling and punctuation but keep its rich complexity of meaning.