2022 – The Year We Come Back

Slowly, like the bulbs in the lawn, like the buds on the tree, your pals at Reading Writers are poking our noses back out into the world. Maybe this is the year we finally return to some sort of normality—whatever that may mean. As we hit the midpoint of February, we thought it might be nice to provide you with an update on our adventures so far.

As ever, 2022 began with the announcement of our Don Louth Award winner. The iconic silver plate is given to the Writer we feel has shown the most growth and progress in the last twelve months. Let us present our 2021 appointee: Ilaria Warren! A steadfast member of the committee, she was part of the gang that staged a huge winning streak in the NAWG short story competition last year. Her writing is constantly improving and she is a brilliant, enthusiastic and supportive member of the group. She thoroughly deserves the award. Well done, Ilaria!

Your 2021 Don Louth Award Winner, Ilaria Warren,
proudly displays the trophy plate.

She’s also providing art duties with a fully-painted cover for our new anthology, launching this spring. The Three B’s gathers a fresh collection of tales themed around the products that made Reading famous—beer, bulbs and biscuits. There’s a cheeky fourth B as well. If you want to know what that is, you’ll have to watch this space! We’ll certainly keep you posted about launch events and how you can get your mitts on copies. The editorial team is as proud as can be about this one. It looks great and the stories are, as you’d expect, top quality.

What else have we been up to? Well, our core activity remains the Manuscript Night, when we read and critique each other’s work. It would not be Reading Writers without this monthly chance to support each other, and we still take it very seriously.

There have also been a couple of group presentations. Our Comms Secretary Rob brought a level of randomness to proceedings when he showed how character creation and development could be enhanced with the use of roleplaying game-style techniques. Our most recent session was led by author Stephanie Carty on psychology and character—a different approach to Rob’s ‘just fling a dice at it’ stance, but just as useful.

After two years of Zoom meetings, we plan to finally get back to gathering in real life, once again taking our places round the big table at Meeting Room Three in the RISC. It’s going to take a little getting used to, and we’re certain the first couple of hybrid sessions will have their own set of challenges. But we’re confident this is the right step at the right time.

We’re also trying to get out socially. We had a couple of summer meets last year as lockdown eased, which made such a difference to our heads. It was really great to see our writing friends in real life over a drink or several. Plans are afoot to stage our first annual dinner in two years at the end of next month. More details on that as we figure them out.

It’s been a bumpy couple of years for the group, but we never lost faith in each other and the love of writing which has brought us together. With spring on the horizon, we’re feeling more hopeful about a positive and creative year ahead.