Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Brotton Writers Workshop


Thanks to Gordon Hodgeon for this information. Gordon Hodgeon was another early pioneer of Cleveland
Gordon Hodgeon
writing with an unstinting record up to the present. He arrived on Teesside in 1972 from Lancaster and his name will crop a lot on this site.

Founded -  1972 to now (2009). The membership was largely based on a group of Brotton Labour Party members with an interest in writing and one or two additions.

Founding Members - Andrew Stibbs, John Todd, Matt Davidson, Alan Stewart, John Fookes, Eric Turnbull and Gordon Hodgeon (newly arrived in 1972 from Lancaster but knew Andrew Stibbs from English Teaching.) Gordon had been a member of the Lancaster and Morecambe Writers Group, which was run by Norman Iles and included David Craig and Nigel Grey in it's members who edited the magazine Fireweed in the 70's.
Fireweed No 11

Meeting Place - From the beginning the group has met in members' homes. This is still the case.

Main activities- The group meets once every 4-6 weeks on a Friday evening. They share a meal and spend their working time reading and talking about work in progress which members bring. The main intention of the group is to give that supportive but properly critical audience, which can be trusted with a draft and which will encourage further work. Members are asked to bring copies and read their work aloud if it is poetry. With longer pieces for example a longer short story, we try to give out the copies at one meeting and discuss them at the next.

Gordon Hodgeon at Writers Cafe
Members - An idea of the shifting membership of the group over that period is given by this listing of Alan Rayson,Alan Stewart, Eric Turnbull, Andrew Stibbs, Gordon Hodgeon, Alan Combes, Margaret Bond, Harold Heller, Mary Heller, Bernard Martin, Molly Maughan, John Todd, David Jones, John Bond (playwright), John Cuthell, Matt Davidson, John Fookes. Current embers (1995) include Pauline Plummer (an Outlet editor) Molly Maughan (Cleveland Education), John Todd, Linda Inness (Cleveland Arts),Gordon Hodgeon (Cleveland Education), John Harrison (Boulby Miner), Mark Robinson (Cleveland Arts), Sue Pierce, Liz Geraghty, Mel McEvoy (Outlet Editor) with others from time to time.
members whose work appeared in anthologies over that period of 8 years:

Finance - There is no finance involved.

Publications -At one time a number of small 'gestetnered' anthologies of members' work were produced and sold. These were produced between 1974 and 1982 and some copies are in Middlesbrough Library. These are all entitled Behind the Lines. Since that time there has been no group publication, though a number of members have been published individually or within other anthologies. 

Gordon Hodgeon and John Miles Longden have a volume of poetry in Middlesbrough Library.

Notes - Gordon Hodgeon was responsible for bringing setting up several Writers in residencies up in the area in the 1980's as both a Cleveland Education English adviser and a member of the board of Northern Arts Literature panel. Later he served on the board of Cleveland Arts and Buzzwords. Gordon has a long history of involvement as a literature activist in the area which includes Mudfog Publications and much more. His name crops in relation to quite a lot of things in terms of our recent literary history. They also produced and number of chapbooks - eg for Alan Watkiss.

Gordon Hodgeon was consulted by Outlet regarding Terry Lawson's idea for a children's / school Outlet and Gordon sat on the Cleveland Arts Write Around advisory committee after Outlet took the idea to Cleveland Arts. Brotton Writers Group took part in the first three years of Write Around at a session in Skelton Library consisting of joint readings by three groups - Brotton, Whitby and Redcar and again during the 1997 Merlin's Cauldron Arts Festival which revived the original Write Around session.

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