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Frome Writers Keep write on!

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ONE of Frome Writers’ Collective’s (FWC’s) aims  is to offset the solitary nature of writing by providing opportunities for local authors to meet socially, share ideas and learn together – all of which have proved difficult in the last six months.

Individual writing groups under the FWC umbrella have been keeping connected through sharing work in progress via email or, more recently, by meeting outside in a suitably distanced way. 

The popular Writers in Residence competition also took place, although this was managed virtually and the residences in question were the writers’ own homes, rather than the shops and cafés of Frome. Writers on Radio, FWC’s show on all things literary, continues to broadcast monthly on Frome FM (live on 96.6fm and online), with all the shows available as podcasts. 

Sadly, however, the collective’s regular monthly socials, had to be suspended, along with all the events they’d planned for Frome Festival,  such as the annual Small Publishers’ Fair; various awaydays and outings also could not take place. With all the present constraints in mind and the likelihood of continuing uncer- tainty in  the months ahead, the FWC steering group has planned a series of monthly virtual meetings this autumn, using Zoom Pro. 

The first, on 10th September, will be a talk from Joanna Jolly, a local author and BBC reporter who was originally scheduled to contribute to Frome Festival, with a talk on the writing of her true-crime account, Red River Girl. Subtitled A Journey into the Dark Heart of Canada, Joanna’s book is a gripping account of the unsolved death of an indigenous teenager, the detective determined to find her killer and a country’s hidden secrets. Readers might recall television presenter Simon Reeve touching on the same issue – that of missing indigenous women and girls – in his series on the Americas. Further virtual events – including the annual ‘spooky stories’ evening – are planned for October to December.

With libraries, bookshops and most public venues then closed, lockdown wasn’t the easiest time to launch a book, but at least three members published new titles during the spring and summer. Local writers Liz Hutchinson (Dissenters), Crysse Morrison (The Price of Bread) and Rosie Jackson (Two Girls and a Beehive), personally delivered copies of their latest works to readers all around Frome, or sent out copies by post, while Winstone’s Hunting Raven also took and supplied orders. A spokesperson for Frome Writers’ Collective said, “It’s great to have the bookshop open again to carry copies both of these books and of the additional titles, by other local writers, which are expected this autumn. Hunting Raven also offers free local delivery, or posts orders at cost, for customers unable to get to the shop.

“We provide  a friendly network for nearly a hundred local writers, from experienced professionals to beginners.  New members are always welcome and we are also currently looking for new trustees. Anyone interested in finding out more, or in joining Joanna Jolly’s Zoom talk on September 10th, can visit http:// fromewriterscollective.co.uk/ , or email fromewriterscollective@gmail.com.”

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