Hastings Writers’ great year

The winner LauraO'Brien with Mike Walsh who came second
The winner LauraO'Brien with Mike Walsh who came second

MORE than 50 authors met to celebrate a year of literary success at their annual get-together.

Hastings Writers’ Group (HWG) event at the White Rock Hotel featured guest speaker, crime writer Patrick Lennon, who judged HWG’s top award, the Catherine Cookson Cup.

And three winners of the group’s national competition, the Legend Awards, came to collect their prizes from chairman Monica Percy.

These included Arnold Ingham, from Norwich, Mary Colvin, from Alton in Hampshire and Jac Cattaneo from Brighton.

The group meets every other Monday and enjoys a varied programme of events from writing workshops, talks from invited celebrities and in-house writing competitions, ranging from Flash Fiction, a story in 100 words, open-themed poetry and short radio plays.

Judges were drawn from mainstream publishing houses, Hastings Library, Brighton University and there was a guest judge from the BBC radio plays department.

Mr Lennon chose new member Laura O’Brien’s story, How Not to Leave, with Mike Walsh second, Monica Percy third and Tony Pook fourth.

Among successful writers in the group are Monica Percy whose book Unweaving the Thread was featured on the Richard and Judy TV show, and deputy chairman Kate O’Hearn, who wrote children’s fantasy adventure Shadow of the Dragon.

HWG has scored some notable achievements over its 63 years.

Strandline, the annual anthology of writers’ work has won national competitions twice, while the Diamonds collection of childhood memories, published in 2007 to celebrate the group’s 60th anniversary, raised more than £3,000 for children.

Other notable members include John Cole, a photographer who recently travelled to South Africa to help youngsters from Soweto gain an insight into the art of the photographer, Richard Holdsworth, who has just brought out his tale of life in the outback of Australia ‘In the Hot Seat’.