Friday, 14 June 2013


It seems an age since I last blogged, but that doesn't mean to say I have been idle!  Worthy Words Workshops have continued to meet at Worthing library on the 2nd Wednesday of every month, and I still have room for a couple more if any writers are interested.  During our April meeting we talked about 'What Makes a Good Short Story, the difference between a commercial and a competition story, and what ingredients were needed.  We also discussed some writing competition entries and came to the unanimous decision that the winning entry is not necessarily the best story. 

In May we took 'Windows and Doors as our theme and talked about how we could incorporate them into our prose for best effect, and how to use windows and mirrors to reflect our character's thoughts.  Also on the 18th May I run a SWWJ day for Writers at Worthing Library.  I  divided the day up into non-fiction in the morning and fiction in the afternoon and included a workshop on the various aspects of love.  Everyone participated and went home always with at least two ideas to work on. 

June was another busy month for me  as I run a 'Write Your First Novel Course' at Denman College in Oxford between 7-9th June.  I had a super, super bunch of students who were  really keen to learn and all had the basis of a good novel to work on, and we are hoping to meet up again this time next year with our novels.  If anyone reading is interested I will be doing another novel course at Denman in November. The June meeting of Worthy Words Workshops was the final on short stories and we had a look at mainstream as well as small press markets as well as having a look at come of the guidelines.  Our next meeting is on 10th July, and anyone interested in joining us do contact me for more information.

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Well... Not a Guide to Worthing is well and truly launched, and many thanks to the Worthing Herald, Littlehampton Gazette and Sussex Society magazine for giving it such prominence. Also many thanks to everyone who braved the dreadful weather last Saturday to come at talk to me at Waterstones.  It is always a joy talking to readers and I was delighted to learn that the book has been so well received by 'born and bred' resident. If you missed the signing then you can obtain a copy through Amazon.
Worthing is such a lovely friendly nostalgic town to live in.  It is remembered as a Victorian resort favoured by the genteel and continued to serve holiday makers until the advent of the cheap package holidays in the 1950s. Today it still has a thriving tourism trade with a vast number of events held throughout the year, but there is much, much more to Worthing than just another holiday resort. Delve into its past and you will discover that the Borough’s Coat of Arms depicts its three main industries, fishing, seaside tourism, and market gardening. 
Mackerel and herring have been caught here since the 16th century.  They were sold locally, and exported to other towns when the railway arrived in the town, and local fish is still sold along the shoreline today. Princess Amelia’s visit to recuperate from a knee problem in 1798 turned this little fishing village into a fashionable resort, gaining town status in 1803, with the sea still providing livelihoods for the local fisherman who also went to the aid of any ship in trouble in  the area. Sadly whilst doing such noble deeds many lost their lives.In one disaster alone, 11 local men were lost, 9 women widowed and forty-seven children made fatherless.  A devastating blow to the town.
Running alongside the fishing and tourist industries Worthing was famous for large scale market gardening, and in 1899 the area became known as the ‘town of hot houses’ thanks to a Broadwater company that pioneered the glasshouse business. In its day the area was famous for its grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, mushrooms and chrysanthemums, in fact 600 tons of produce were exported from the area in just one year.
Worthing, like any other town  has its quirky and unusual side too. For example, how many know that Worthing’s Council papers were hidden in a family vault during the war; that cucumbers were exported to the south Wales coal mines to quench the miners thirsts underground, or that an ornate fountain graces one of our residential Closes? A unique feature to Worthing are the boat poaches on the fisherman’s cottages, derived from a time when fishermen used their upturned boats as a shelter in bad weather, and the beach has been covered in oranges and lemons, and more recently wood.  

Worthing’s most Iconic building is the Dome, which celebrated its150th anniversary in 2012.  Once known by the German name of the Kursaal and still used for entertainment today. Its 960ft pier has been blown away, burnt down and deliberately blown up and still attracts a steady stream of visitors today.
This historic town as over 360 listed buildings, some made of flint, but it has also had its planning disasters too. Worthing was saved for future generations to enjoy thanks of the bravery of the crew of a Lancaster on route to Munich with a cargo of bombs and incendiaries.
Worthing has so many literary connections and has been the location of several films; Up the Junction, The Birthday Party, Wish You Were Here, and more recently Sea Monsters.  The list of past and present residents and visitors reads like a list from Who’s Who; Percy Shelley, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Nicolette Sheridan, Jonathan Cake, Hugh Lloyd, Alma Cogan to name just a few, and when you add to this an array of statues and sculptures, memorials, folklore, riotous and rebellious times, cafes and open spaces making Worthing a  vibrant, nostalgic and historic town.

Saturday, 21 July 2012


Even the torrential rain on Wednesday11th July couldn't deter a hardy bunch of writers attending the last Worthy Words Workshop meeting of the term.  These meetings are held at Worthing Library on the second Wednesday of the month 2-4pm. Many thanks to all who braved the weather, and an extra special thanks must go to Julie who left her sick bed to attend, and to Sue who started off with good intentions but was driven back by the rain, feet squelching in trainers, and clutching an inside out umbrella! Where is our great British summer? What a dedicated bunch we are! 
   The theme for the meeting was how to turn any visit or journey into a travel article or a setting for a short story or a novel, and judging my the lively discussions it gave most a few ideas to work on. Each member received a handout on the subject, which included: Nonfiction: Understanding the readership of the magazine you are aiming at, the content, the various markets and how to specialise within the travel trade on subjects such as food and drink, garden and gardening, arts and crafts, folklore and the quirky and the unusual. Fiction: Have a genuine feel for the place you are going to use as a setting, take lots of photographs and look at the local history of the place if you are historical writers.Wendy advised everyone to do some research before the visit, and to make sure you included in your suitcase the following: 
   Research information
   List of things they need to find out.
   Camera, spare batteries and a spare memory card.
   Notebook or holiday journal – write in it every day, not only where you have been and what you have seen, but the feel of the place, the people, and anything that strikes you are interesting – similar to what you would do when you sit and people watch.
  A supply of pens, pencils and a spare notebook or two and finally...If you take a laptop write up any notes each evening in point form.  Also download any photographs from your camera so you have plenty of space. A list of all the current writing competitions, together with a 'Summer Challenge' were handed out to ensure that everyone was kept active until the next meeting in September.  Anyone in the Worthing and surrounding area that is interested in any aspect of writing, do contact Wendy  for more a friendly chat and more information.  Worthy Words Workshops resumes on Wednesday 12th September.  Looking forward to seeing you all.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Friends of Worthing and Broadwater Cemetery

A belated New Year's resolution to myself - I must keep this blog up to date as so many exciting things are happening at the moment!
It has been another very busy month for me charging around Worthing, delving into the archives, acting like a tourist and looking for anything unusual to photograph for my book Not a Guide to Worthing. Shame the weather has not be kinder to me. July 7th saw me taking a tour organised by the Friends of Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery. These free monthly tours, during the summer months, are a must for anyone interested in history and the people who helped to shape this great town. Each one is themed - July we were lucky to have two, Seafarers and Worthing Mayors - truly a delight  for me as many of the people featured also had a place in my Shipwrecks of Sussex book, including Worthing's seafaring disaster, which happened on 14th November 1894. The Zadne, a steamer carrying coal from south Wales to London got into trouble during a hurricane storm.  On the horizon was spotted a sole survivor in a lifeboat, but within metres of the shore the boat flipped over, and he was drowned.  During the course of the day all the bodies were washed ashore. One body was repatriated to south Wales and the reminder, including two that was not identified were buried in a mass grave in the cemetery.
 Don't miss 'The Friends' Open Day on Saturday 4th August which starts at 10.00am through to 3pm, and includes three fantastic tours: Religious Figures who greatly influenced what happened in Worthing, a Military Tour concentrating on those who served in all conflicts, and a General Tour based on the guides own selection of interesting people buried in the cemetery, plus stalls, refreshments, booklets and much, much more.  I am looking forward to the day, and hope to see you there too.

Friday, 15 June 2012


Madlen Namro and Wendy Hughes had a wonderful time last Saturday launching their book 'Rainbow Stories: Facts and Things to do at the Stickler Syndrome Support Group conference.  Both authors are members of the SWWJ.  The weather was blustery but it didn't spoil the fun.  Many thanks to the Mobile Creche Company  who looked after the children SO well and used the characters in the book in their face painting sessions.  Everyone had a wonderful time.  Julie Williams who runs the company is a wonderful lady who really enjoyed having the children around her. Well done Julie, you did us proud yet again. Anyone interested in more information about the book contact Wendy.  Many, many thanks to all who attended the launch.   Now it is on to my next book Not a Guide to...Worthing.  Watch this space to learn more as the story unfolds!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Saturday 9th June sees me hosting a Members' Day for the Stickler Syndrome Support Group, at the Moller Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.  These are always special days for me and a chance for so many of our members to network and feel less isolated.  It is also particularly exciting for me as, along with co-author Madlen Namro we shall be launching our children's book Rainbow Stories: Facts and Something to do.  Madlen lives in Poland and like myself is a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.  Both Madlen and I love bright colours, and so the idea of a book of Rainbow stories evolved.  I enjoying researching and writing about places and interesting facts and Madlen enjoys making up stories, and we hope that this will be the first of many such books for children.  If you are in the vicinity of the Moller Centre on Saturday do pop in and say hello.  Madlen and I will be available to sign books from 4.15 to 5.30.  As Madlen lives in Poland it may be the only chance for both authors to sign books together.  Looking forward to seeing you.


Is it almost two months since I last blogged?  Whoever is stealing this year, could they kindly stop!Although it now seems a while ago, I celebrated 23rd April, Shakespeare's birthday, at the University of Norte Dame, off Trafalgar Square at the SWWJ Prize Giving for the International Life Writing competition, which was a delightful experience, and one I shall cherish for many a year to come, espcially the winning entries that were read out.
16th May Worthy Words Workshops met once again at Worthing library for another lively session.  This group, like Topsy is growing with each meeting. This time we discussed the art of plotting, and again some very interesting pieces of work were read out.  Our next session is on June 11th and for more information, please contact me
The 26th May saw me back at Worthing Library for a Day for Writers, and this time we  spent the morning discussing Life Writing, with very interesting memories being recalled.  In the afternoon we discussed the up and coming market for flash fiction, a new concept for many.  The combination of both fiction and non-fiction seemed to go down extremely well and judging by the studious bunch it would appear that everyone achieved something on the day!