Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hartlepool Writers Group.

An early and long standing writers group formed at Hartlepool People's Centre in the mid 80's served by Charles Clark's WEA Creative Writing Course and a writers group existed there for quite a long time -maybe even still going although I have no up to date information on that. In 1989 Les Wardle was the contact for the People's Centre group.

In 1987 - Outlet co-editor Viv Harland was also a journalist with the Hartlepool Mail. As a result of her articles on Outlet

Top Copy
 in the Hartlepool Mail, Outlet received a lot of contributions from Hartlepool  Writers and some ventured over to Middlesbrough for Trev Teasdel's Creative Writing courses and also joined the Write Around negotiations and later committee from 1987 onwards. The magazine Top Copy was also a response to Outlet and emphasising the need for their very own Outlet. More on Top Copy in another post.

On August 6th 1987 Hartlepool Poet Tom Nossiter - who had been published in Outlet, won the Hartlepool Times Poetry Competition and became the Hartlepool Times resident poet for 6 months. (see the copy of Hartlepool Times here).
On August 6th three poems from Hartlepool were published on the front page of the Hartlepool Times - Fish and Chips by Tom Nossiter Remember by Norman Dickson (also published by Outlet), An Early Morning Walk in Lakeland by Frank Clark and The Cathedral by Muriel Allison.

The impact of Outlet via Viv Harland's articles in the Hartlepool Mail had inspired this initiative in the Hartlepool Times as it was recognised the Town had many budding writers.

Among the many writers from Harlepool who had responded to Outlet in its early days were Norman Dickson, Tom Nossiter, Doreen Hoffman, Jean Tabley and Norman Dickson wrote to us for information on Hartlepool Writers groups. We referred him to the Hartlepool People's Centre.

Hartlepool Writers Group
By 1989 Steven Ryan had become a leading light on the Hartlepool Writing Scene, organising a group, running Top

 Copy and as a member of the 

early Write Around team and his work was featured in the Harlepool Mail Feb 15th 1989 (see cutting). Steven is quoted as saying that he spent his "time quite happily writing for my own amusement until last year when I got involved with the Cleveland Writing Festival (Write Around)" "it was clear that nothing was going in Harlepool for the writing festival and there was no Harltepool  writers group" (which is why Write Around and Outlet invited Hartlepool writers to the meeting to help make sure something did happen in Hartlepool.Steven was the man to do that. Stevan formed the Hartlepool Writers Group and 30 people turned up and began meeting on a weekly basis with 12 to 20 people turning up. The group attracted members from all walks of life, from housewives to businessmen to retired professionals. Each week the members tell of the writing they have done and read their work aloud for the group's opinion. Steven pointed out that the group wasn't elitist

 and open to all.

Steven and the group published Top Copy, funded by Northern Arts, although sadly it only lasted for two issues.

Later the group met at The Foggy Furze Library and in the 90's work was done in Hartlepool via Karen Sheader, Andy Croft and Bob Beagrie.

No comments:

Post a Comment