Exeter Literary Festival 15th - 18th November

This weekend it's Exeter Literary Festival, beginning with the launch by Teresa Driscoll at Waterstones on Thursday 15th, up to the Wrap party at the Barnfield Theatre on Sunday 18th.

Exeter Writers are up to their ears in it, starting with our 
Write Hub event on Friday 16th, and
West Quarter Pop-Up Stories on Saturday 17th. 

Then Sunday 18th is packed with events at the Barnfield Theatre:

Postcard Stories with Cathie Hartigan at 11.30am,
The Business of Writing with Elizabeth Ducie at 12.30pm,
Writing from Legend with Su Bristow at 2.45pm,
How to get Published with Sophie Duffy, Margaret James and Cathie Hartigan at 3.45pm

and finally, our 
Banned Books Quiz, with Prohibition Cocktails 
in the Theatre Bar at 9pm.

There are many other events too, as well as book stalls featuring local authors in the foyer all day, so do stop by to say hello!

Many of the events are free, whilst others are ticketed for a small fee. Check out the programme; There's something for everybody!

Banned Books and Prohibition Cocktails!

Join Exeter Writers for the final event of the ExeLitFest, on Sunday 18th November at 9pm.

After a full day of events at the Barnfield Theatre, join us for the wrap party to celebrate the breadth and variety of writing showcased over the weekend.

Get into the prohibition spirit (20's dress optional), and take part in our banned books quiz!

The £10 ticket gives you entry to the wrap party, the quiz and a special ExeLitFest cocktail (with or without alcohol), or a pint of Speak Easy, the festival's featured ale.


The Crown and the Coffin: Betsy and Lilibet


London, 1926. Two baby girls are born just hours and miles apart. One you know as the Queen of England, but what of the other girl – the daughter of an undertaker named in her honour? Betsy Sunshine grows up surrounded by death in war-torn London, watching her community grieve for their loved ones whilst dealing with her own teenage troubles… namely her promiscuous sister Margie. As Betsy grows older we see how the country changes through her eyes, and along the way we discover the birth of a secret that threatens to tear her family apart.
Sophie Duffy's fourth novel with Legend Press was published last month. ‘Betsy and Lilibet’ (Sophie tells us), has been a long time coming. 

'The first idea came to me about five years ago when I was browsing at a vintage fair in the grounds of Killerton House in Devon. I came across a local candle maker who uses vintage jelly moulds and china. I bought a Coronation Mug filled with her homemade scented natural soy candles. And when I read from her business card that her surname was Sunshine, I asked if I could possibly borrow that name some time in the future and she kindly said yes. It also turned out that our daughters went to the same school. The stars aligned that day.
'I didn’t know then that I would be writing a novel about two Elizabeths but as the Queen approached ninety years of age, I felt drawn towards her story. And I wondered about another girl who might’ve been born on that same day, with the same name, and the path that she might’ve taken.'

'Betsy Sunshine is born into a family of undertakers, Sunshine & Sons. But there are no sons, just a troublesome younger sister, and that is how Betsy becomes the head of the family business, dutifully serving her community just as her namesake serves her country. Over the course of ninety years – oh, the births, marriages, deaths, war, terrorists and, of course, the coronation – the two Elizabeths will meet three times. And at the heart of the novel lies a secret that Betsy has kept in the shadows since 1947. As she approaches her ninetieth birthday, it is time that this secret is aired in the sunshine.

'I’m really proud of ‘Betsy and Lilibet’, delighted that it is finally in the bookshops, and hope you get the chance to read it.'


Told with wit and warmth, this is a gritty, truly British, saga; from war time childhood fortitude though to a lifetime of love, loss and laughter. Dive in and enjoy! Paul McVeigh

A charming and funny look at family, loyalty and love during the Queen’s reign. I think Her Majesty would approve. Cathy Bramley

So atmospheric you can almost smell the Brylcreem… Laurie Graham

Clever and charming, I loved this look at the complications of family life. Katie Fforde

Welcome to The Write Hub!

Did you know that Exeter has its own Literary Festival this year?

We'll be posting more on that soon, but first we would like to invite you to our free networking event on the afternoon of Friday 16th November.

If you're a reader, who'd like to meet local authors, or if you're a writer at any stage of your writing journey, please come and join us for an afternoon of tea, cake, writerly chat and a bit of fun!

For more information on the Exeter Literary Festival, and to see the full programme of events, go to www.exelitfest.com


Exeter Writers Short Story Competition 2019

The Exeter Writers Short Story Competition 2019 is 


And we've increased the first prize to £700!!!

Second prize £250 
Third prize £100

Plus a prize for best Devon writer of £100

Closing date is 28th February 2019 (midnight)

Elizabeth's new books

It’s a busy few weeks for Exeter Writer, Elizabeth Ducie, who
writes both fiction and non-fiction. In August she published one book and began trials of a second one. In September, she will be launching her latest novel. And to cap it all, she’s running a sale  for two of her earlier novels.

BoW CompositeElizabeth’s non-fiction focuses mainly on business skills for writers. Her series on The Business of Writing started life as workshops at the Writers’ Summer School in Swanwick; evolved into a blog; and then became ebooks from 2014 onwards. Earlier this year, she updated and republished the first three in the series: Business Start-Up; Finance Matters; and Improving Effectiveness. But she knows that many people prefer their reference books in paper format, for ease of page-flipping. So parts 1-3 are now available in a single volume.
The next step will be to publish a workbook featuring all the worked examples and templates for anyone who wants to work through the series themselves. Trial copies of this have been issued and publication of the finished volume will hopefully be before the end of the year.

CORRUPTION_FRONT_RGBBut during September, Elizabeth will be switching her focus to fiction as she launches the final part of her trilogy set in the sometimes murky world of international pharmaceuticals. Corruption! sees the three main characters, Suzanne, Charlie and Francine heading for Russia where a deadly new drug craze is sweeping through the cities. The official launch date is 24th September, when copies of both ebook and paperback will be available from Amazon and other distribution platforms. 
Special Offer v2If you’ve not read Counterfeit! or Deception!the first two books in the series, then now’s your chance to grab a bargain. Both ebooks are available until 23rd September at 99p in UK; $0.99 in USA; and at rock-bottom prices in all other territories.

When life gives you lemons, make gin and tonic!

Sophie Duffy launched her first novel as Lizzie Lovell in July. 'The Juniper Gin Joint' is on sale in Sainsbury's, WH Smith's and The Works.
 The perfect pick-me-up for summer!' Phillipa Ashley

'Like a complex gin, brimming with botanicals, this delicious book offers a giant swig of a story full of characters, wit and warmth' Jules Wake

When life gives you lemons, make gin and tonic!

It's been a tough year for empty-nester Jen in her seaside Devon town; her kids have left for pastures new and her husband's left for another woman. 

Home alone with her eccentric home-brewing father and a Jack Russell, she is just getting her life back on track when her job at the local museum is threatened by her first love and nemesis, Councillor David Barton, who intends to sell the beautiful old building to a pub chain. But help is at hand from her colleagues: Jackie, a former Greenham Common warrior; Tish, a flamboyant historian; and Carol, mega-flirt. Plus newcomer and former campaigner, Tom. Who happens to be a widower. And quite sexy. And also the owner of a Jack Russell. 

The key to saving the day and putting the town back on the tourist map could lie just within reach - when reaching for a cold gin and tonic, that is. Mother's Ruin to some, gin is the making of Jen when she comes together with her friends and family to save the museum and open an artisan distillery in the basement. 

With its debauched local history of smuggling, can gin be the town's saviour and bring love back into Jen's life?

Bottoms up!

Circle of Nine

Exeter Writers member Cherry Gilchrist is launching a new book, The Circle of Nine, in Sep 2018. Meanwhile, her publishers Red Wheel Weiser are offering a free e-reader sample on Calameo, at https://www.calameo.com/read/0055709746d8b1d726d86

Take a look while it’s available!

The Circle of Nine is a study of nine feminine archetypes, bridging the mythic dimension and women’s everyday lives. ‘There’s a huge increase in interest in women’s circles, and support networks, partly due to social and workplace pressures. But there’s not yet much out there on women’s spirituality, and this book aims to bring the two worlds together.’

Find out more about Cherry’s work at www.cherrygilchrist.co.uk, and there’s a special website for the book at www.circleofnine.org.

Well done, Cathie, on being a finalist in the Dorchester Literary Prize!

Exeter Writer, Cathie Hartigan, tells us about being a finalist in the Dorchester Literary Prize (and being interviewed by Kate Adie!) 

Has there ever been such a week for losses? England, Federer, Nadal...and I didn't win the Dorchester Literary Prize. Not quite the same league, I know, and thank goodness I hadn't had to write Secret of the Song in front of huge crowds. Of course, I was disappointed, but I certainly wasn't devastated. It was a big thrill to get to the last three and be invited to the award ceremony in Dorchester.

Our Jo shows Hidden Depths!

Congratulations to Exeter Writer, Jo Cole, who has her first (with many more to come!) story published in August's Woman's Weekly Fiction magazine!
Follow Jo's heroine, Nancy, as the discovery of a little box of letters buried on Dartmoor proves the beginning of a lifesaving friendship.

Duets in Words and Pictures

Photo by David Knowles

Exeter Writers, Elizabeth Ducie and Angela Wooldridge are also members of Chudleigh Writers Circle, who for the past year have been taking part in a Joint Arts Project with Newton Abbot Writers Group, Newton Abbot Photographic Group and Newton Art Group. The project will culminate in an exhibition in Teignmouth in November. However, this week, they have reached an interim stage. 

Last year, twenty photographs in sealed envelopes were handed from the photographers to the writers. There were a complete mix of pictures, and some writers were more delighted than others when the envelopes were opened. The task was to produce one page of text in response. It could be a poem, a short story, or a description.

These words, untitled and without the trigger photographs, were then handed on to the artists, who are currently working on their interpretations. We are looking forward to seeing the sets: photographs, words, and pictures, together later this year.

However, this week in Chudleigh Church as part of Chudfest week, you can see the photographs and the words, in an exhibition entitled Duets in Words and Pictures. It's a great display of local creativity and well worth a visit if you are in the area (unless you are a member of Newton Abbot Art Group, in which case, you are banned until your pictures are done!).

The display is part of the 1918:2018 Exhibition, and there are a whole range of interesting and moving things to see. The exhibition runs until Saturday 14th July, and is open from 10am to 4pm.

Chudleigh Literary Festival

Chudleigh Literary Festival, on Wednesday 11th July, promises to be a fun-packed date for your diaries this year.

As has become traditional, the daytime is aimed at writers, while the evening is for all lovers of words, both readers and writers.

9.30am to 12 noon - Short story workshop, led by Jenny Kane. Free to members of Chudleigh Writers Circle, but visiting writers welcome (£5)

However, there are only a few places left! Please check before booking this session. (kate@heathside.com)


12 noon to 2pm - Lunch in the Marquee plus Open Mic, an opportunity to share your writing with others!


2pm to 5pm - South West Writers Networking, An opportunity for writers from across the South West to get together over tea and cake; swapping notes, offering advice and sharing experiences. Free event with the opportunity for exhibiting your books and/or services. This year, there are two exciting new features:

Face The Chudleigh Dragons: Five writers will be given
the opportunity to pitch their current work in progress to a panel of experts in front of an audience of their peers. The winner will receive a free novel assessment, sponsored by Creative Writing Matters. The closing date to apply to take part is 16th June, please see the CWC website for details.

Just A Minute…Or Two: A great opportunity to practice that elevator speech. See how much information you can pack into just 120 seconds and impress your fellow writers.

5pm - ‘Meet the Authors’ supper, An opportunity for readers to meet some of the West Country’s rich community of authors over a buffet supper.


7pm - Guest Speakers,  

This year's speakers are Dr Todd Gray, and Kate Adie.  Tickets for this part of the programme are £8.




For more details, or to book, please go to the Chudleigh Writers Circle website.

Privacy Policy

In accordance with the requirements of GDPR, here is our privacy policy which is effective from 25th May 2018.

Exeter Writers Privacy Policy, May 2018

The Results

I am pleased to announce the winners of Exeter Writers' 2018 Short Story Competition. Well done to all the writers listed below. You can read the winning entries by clicking on the links below.

1st -  Land's End by Tomas Furby, Exeter
2nd  - Thirty-Seven Photos of a Sleeping Lion by Jason Jackson, Bristol
3rd  -  The Invitation by Sarah Evans, Herts

Devon prize - Dylan Thomas, Gregory Jones, and the Oort Cloud by Janet McCann, Sidmouth

The remaining short-listed entries were:

A Sharp Beam from the Light House by Judith Wilson, London
What do Streets Remember by Selma Carvalho, West Drayton
The Rapture by Anna Abbott, Wirral
Sponge by Jim Syrah, Bampton
For Love by Rob Woodhouse, Holsworthy
Sent by Kaavya Ramachandhran, OH, USA
The List by Grace Cullen, Herts

The remaining long-listed entries were:

Keeping Chris Alive by Ken McBeath, British Colombia, Canada
Seeking Shadows by Jessica Hooten Wilson, Siloam Springs, USA
The Gold Amati by William Konarzewski, Colchester
Ten Bob by Maureen Cullen, Cardross
Better Than You Found It by Hazel Orriss, Southampton
Mrs Dusk by Mark Czanik, Bath
The Sound of Celia by Dianne Bown-Wilson, Exeter
Dinosaurs Rule by Sarah Dawson, Kent
Komboloi by Justine Bothwick, Rome
Little Pig by Richard Chalk, Dorchester

Short List!

We are delighted to announce the short list! Over the last few weeks, members of Exeter Writers have had to make some very tough decisions. We have been honoured to read a wonderful range of amusing, sad, horrifying and touching stories. 

Unfortunately, we can't short list everyone, but those writers who made it to the long list should feel proud of their achievement as should all the writers who had the guts, determination and motivation to enter our competition and put their work out there! Next time it might be you, so keep on writing! Many of the writers I have contacted about the short-list have told me that this is their first time on a short list, or even a long list for some!  We had hundreds and hundreds of entries and competition was fierce.

Well done to all those involved, and we hope you will enter our competition next year. 

Now we have the extremely difficult task of picking a winner out of these wonderful yet totally unique short stories. The final result will be announced before 20th May.

In no particular order. The entries short-listed are:

1.Thirty-Seven Photographs of a Sleeping Lion
2. The Rapture
3. A Sharp Beam from the Lighthouse
4. The Invitation
5. Sponge
6. Land's End
7. What do Streets Remember
8. The List
9. Dylan Thomas, Gregory Jones and the Oort cloud
10. Sent
11. For Love

A special mention should be made about Miracles, Mercies and Mary ... on Toast by Sherry Morris. This is a fantastic story, but (unfortunately for us), it came 2nd in Flash500 Short story competition so it has been withdrawn from our competition. Well done, Sherry.

Congratulations to those writers!

Long List!

Congratulations to all those people who entered our short story competition. We had some fantastic entries and deciding on the long list was very hard indeed, especially as we had hundreds and hundreds of entries! 

We had stories from all over the world - Brazil, Israel, Canada, The States, Jordan - and the subjects covered in the stories varied greatly. 

Our members enjoyed reading your entries, and many hours were spent deliberating which stories to include.

Exeter Novel Prize 2017

Exeter Writers are proud to sponsor the first prize for the Exeter Novel Prize,
run by Creative Writing Matters.

Judged by Broo Doherty of the DHH Literary Agency, previous winners of the award include Clare Harvey and our very own Su Bristow.

Aaand... Stop!

Pencils down!

The Exeter Writers Short Story Competition 2018 is now closed.

Thank you to everybody who has entered, we look forward to reading all your stories.

Not long left!

Don't forget the Exeter Writer's Short Story Competition closes on 28th February at midnight!

There's still a bit of time to polish up those stories and sent them in.

Don't forget to read the guidelines, and good luck! We look forward to reading your entries...

Book Quiz Winners!

Last night (Thursday 15th Feb), the staff of Roman Gate Waterstones in Exeter hosted the fiendishly tricky Big Book-Lover's Quiz, with proceeds going to the charity, Book Trust.

Exeter Writers, Su Bristow, Margaret James and Angela Wooldridge came a very respectable second place, pipped at the post by one point!

Deceit is a dangerous game...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deception-Suzanne-Jones-Book-2-ebook/dp/B0751G7VYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517926839&sr=1-1&keywords=elizabeth+ducieIn the world of books, one of the most sought after blogs to have your book reviewed is with Anne Williams on her blog, Being Anne.

This week, Exeter Writer, Elizabeth Ducie's latest novel, Deception! is in the limelight. Click here to see what Anne has to say about it!

Happy New Year!

It's still January, so it's still acceptable to say that isn't it?
Exeter Writers started the new year with an article by Jo Cole in Febuary's Writing Magazine. If you'd like to read a bit more about what we do, then pick up a copy (we're on page 46!).