Celebrating ten years with Colchester WriteNight

‘the town hosts a long-established, innovative and very healthy writing group – WriteNight…’ A.L. Kennedy

Ten years ago I discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a challenge held every November to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. There were no meet-ups I could find in Colchester, so I visited a Chelmsford event and then decided to set one up myself. After desperately persuading/forcing Nick Barlow and Sonja Holmes to promise they would come along, I organised the first sessions with the help of the brilliant staff at 15 Queen Street. I was nervous that no-one would turn up on the 1st November. They did, and Colchester WriteNight was born.

Over the years we’ve moved homes, written shedloads – some of it published, and many brilliant guest speakers have crossed our various paths. We still have members who came to those first sessions, some wave from new locations, and new members who have joined us over time. We’ve continued to meet during the pandemic, experimenting with different online platforms and eventually deciding to produce an anthology, based on the theme Open Book, to mark our ten year anniversary. I managed to acquire some funding from Colchester Borough Council Creative Events Fund, which has helped finance this project.

After a themed writing event and Sue Dawes’ famous editing sessions, we brought the collection together, edited it, and Patrician Press published the anthology. It’s a work of quality and shows the standard of our members’ writing. I approached A.L. Kennedy who kindly offered to write an introduction, and some of our author guests and WriteNight friends provided us with great quotes.

With launches organised, dubious advertising underway (my reels…aargh) and NaNoWriMo 2021 in full swing (thanks Sue!), I look forward to what 2022 brings for Colchester WriteNight. (By the way, I’m the least likely person in the group to ever complete NaNo. Still, it doesn’t matter! I have writing friends!)

Thank you to all the brilliant contributors to the anthology: Sarah Armstrong, Sarah Bates Kendrick, Annie Bell, Penny Benedetti, Helen Chambers, Tim Gardiner, Phil Hurst, Wendy James, Jonathan King, Toni Peers, Mary Pullen Deacon, Clare Shaw, Doug Smith, Alice Violett and Katy Wimhurst. Thank you to all the members who come and take part in our monthly sessions.

Huge thanks to Sue Dawes – editor extraordinaire; Publisher Patricia Borlenghi at Patrician Press; A.L. Kennedy for the intro; Jo Coldwell, Liz Trenow, Nik Perring, Jane Lomas and Nikki Werenowska for kind quotes. Wendy Bailey thanks so much for the cover art. And thanks to Colchester Borough Council Creative Events Fund for funding support.

You can buy copies at Red Lion Books, Wivenhoe Books, Firstsite or from Patrician Press, or you can join us at our second launch event at Colchester Library, details tbc.

Contact us at colchesterwritenight@gmail.com to find out more, or join the mailing list for our quarterly newsletter. We’re on Facebook, Instagram @colchesterwritenight and Twitter @ColWriteNight

Witty, experimental, clever, thought-provoking and sometimes plain laugh-out-loud, this collection of short works is testament to the excellent Colchester WriteNight group…’ Liz Trenow, author

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