The Hay Writers’ Circle 2019 Fiction Competition – Judge Announced

The Hay Writers’ Circle 2019 Fiction Competition

We are delighted to confirm that the author Jan Newton will be our judge for the 2019 Fiction Competition.

dsc_0044.jpgJan Newton grew up in Manchester and Derbyshire and spent twenty years in the Chilterns before moving to mid Wales in 2005. She has worked as a bilingual secretary, an accountant, and in the Welsh stream of Builth Wells Primary School. She plays the euphonium in Llandrindod and Knighton brass bands.

Jan graduated from Swansea University in 2015 with a Masters in Creative Writing and has won the Allen Raine Short Story Competition, the WI’s Lady Denman Cup, the Lancashire and North West Magazine’s prize for humorous short stories and the Oriel Davies Gallery’s prize for nature writing. She is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association.

Her recent DS Kite crime mysteries, Remember No More and Rather To Be Pitied  published by Honno Press are available at all good bookshops.

The Fiction competition is sponsored by The Hay Writers’ Circle with prizes for first, second and third places. The closing date for entries is Tuesday 19th November. Results will be announced in late December.  Word count for this competition is 600 words minimum and 1500 words maximum. The theme is entirely open.

For Rules and Entry Forms see link below.

Hay Writers Circle Application 2019 Fiction Competition

lots of pens

Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Truth For National Poetry Day 2019


via A Truth For National Poetry Day 2019

Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Launch at The Poetry Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye


poetry bookshop poems from the borders launch 2019

Photo ©Melanie Prince 2019 The Poetry Bookshop

A magnificent night, a full house with standing room only and a fine compliment of poets reading from Seren Book’s publication Poems from the Borders.

poetry bookshop hay

Photo ©Melanie Prince 2019 The Poetry Bookshop

A huge thank you to Chris and Melanie Prince who hosed the event in the poetically plush environs of Hay’s extremely well stocked Poetry Bookshop (see above). Also, to the very able Amy Wack, editor at Seren who introduced the readings and wrangled the poets (perhaps like herding cats, but far more difficult), including Hay Writers’ Circle member, Emma van Woerkom.

Other poets reading on the night included Christopher Meredith, Rhiannon Hooson, Elizabeth Parker, Nicholas Whitehead, Gareth Writer-Davies, Nicholas Murray and Maggie Harris. The audience was treated to a superb array of diverse poetic voices all celebrating individual works of local interest.



Poem’s from the Borders – Seren Books 2019, £5.00 (+postage) is available from The Poetry Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye and from all good book suppliers.

You can also buy it direct from Seren Books –


There’s still time to buy your copy of Poems from the Borders and dive into “the spirit of this richly storied, geographically stunning region.” Seren Books.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richard Booth M.B.E. (1938-2019)

richard booth image

Richard Booth MBE

Statement from our Chairperson: Ange Grunsell

“Hay Writers’ Circle join the rest of our Hay community in grieving at the loss of the man who put Hay on the map and transformed the town into a town of books, of reading, of writing, of tourists and of prosperity.

Richard sponsored the Hay Writers’ Circle annual non fiction competition (The Richard Booth Prize) in these last year’s of his life, generously donating the prizes which he gave, in person, at our annual summer lunch. He always took an interest in writers and took the trouble to meet our winners.

Before ill health overtook him, Richard and his wife Hope regularly attended our Hay Festival performances and we continue to be grateful for all their support.

We send our condolences to Hope and all the family.”

Richard Booth’s funeral will take place at Cusop Church on Thursday 29th August at 2.30pm. It is intended that the service should be a celebration of Richard’s life
and is open to everyone who wishes to attend. 


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hay Writers’ in Hay Library – Celebrating 40 years

Hay Writers Circle logo 40 YEARS

This year Hay Writers’ Circle celebrates an incredible 40 years of writing together. Started and still presided over by our President, Frances Copping, our group has enjoyed a lively variety of talented members since its 1979 inception.

As part of our ruby anniversary, Hay-on-Wye Library is currently hosting a superb display detailing contemporary and historical writing and information about the group. From long standing former chairperson and author, Lynn Trowbridge to our present day poets, fiction, short story, novel and prose specialists. Author profiles, group photographs, book launches, Hay Festival performances, competition winning entries, and debuting some exciting new work from Hay Primary School pupils – they’ll be plenty to see, read, enjoy and hopefully inspire.

Our current Chairperson, Ange Grunsell writes “I think it is great to be able to showcase our group in this way within our community….the exhibition represents well, not only who we are with samples of our writing, but its also gives an impression of how we work together in meetings. There is an ingeniously devised interactive poetry board among other visual stimuli for the visitor to enjoy. Frances (Copping) and Lynn (Trowbridge) are both featured and acknowledged, and photos of the workshop we led with Hay School accompanied by the children’s work all add to the spectrum of writers pictured and presented.”

Why not pop along to Hay Library and have a go at our interactive poetry board – don’t forget to share your poem on twitter and tag us in using @thehaywriters

Hay Writers’ Circle 40th Anniversary Display is available to see in Hay-on-Wye Library until September 2019.

Hay-on-Wye Library is located next to Hay Primary School, Oxford Road Carpark, Hay-on-Wye.  HR3 5BT   

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hay Writers’ Circle at the Hay Festival 2019


Hay Festival 2019 by ECvW

We’ve been blessed with another fantastic Hay Festival. Official photo’s in the Green Room, a larger, high-spec venue, (beautifully managed by a wonderful festival team), and an absolutely terrific, attentive, sell-out crowd!

Our audience were delighted by a wide variety of poetry, short stories and excerpts from novels.  Thoughtful, humorous and descriptive pieces easily gelled alongside fictional landscapes and characters, some pieces even celebrating our 40th year – there was literally something for everyone to enjoy.

peter florence by merv newton 2019

Photo by Merv Newton 2019

We were also extremely privileged to have an introduction by Hay Festival Director, Peter Florence. Describing, in his address how Hay-on-Wye is known the world over as “the town of books, but increasingly over the last 35 to 40 years, a town of writers as well.”  How our community, rich in so many things is “richest in its story telling (which) is incredibly important and dear”; and that enhancing a love of “language and stories is important to who we are.”

I have to say,  these wondrous words by Peter instilled a huge amount of honour and pride in each writer, and acted like a rousing call-to-(literary)-arms. I don’t think we ever performed as well as a group on that day and on that amazing Hay Festival stage.

If you’d like to hear the audio recording of our 2019 event or other Hay Festival events, why not subscribe to the Hay Player.


The Hay Player contains thousands of audio and video recordings from Hay Festivals from 1995 to the present day. An annual subscription of £10.00 allows you to play as much audio and video as you like.

DSCF1838 (3)


A huge thank you to Peter Florence and the whole team at Hay Festival for their unceasing, essential support enabling the Hay Writers and by giving us this valuable public platform on which to perform.

Finally, thank you to our audience who dodged the wind and rain for an hour and applauded in all the right places. Well done everyone!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why join a writers’ group?

Why join a writers’ group?

by Marianne Rosen

pen write image

As Hay Festival gets underway and the summer line up of literary festivals spread their temptations before us, there will be many aspiring writers as well as readers traipsing the lawned hallways in search of encouragement. Do you long to be one of those authors whose events you attend? Do you write but dread the thought of sharing? Do you wish you could talk to someone about your writing but lack confidence? Have you ever wondered what value there is in joining a writers’ group?

Writers are often introverted people who prefer their time alone, either writing or reading, and preferably doing both in peace and quiet. Hands up, that’s me, I have been known to growl at my family if they disturb me mid-sentence. So, it might seem illogical to join a group of similarly introverted folks, in fact, you might even say it sounds truly hideous, but trust me, it’s worth exploring.

The step between being in the audience and being behind the podium is not as huge as you might imagine. This week, this elusive, lesser-spotted, secretive writer will be performing at the world-famous Hay Festival alongside other members of The Hay Writers. Joining a writers’ group was one of five steps I took towards my goal of writing for a career, and it is 90% rewarding, 5% frustrating, 5% indifferent. As odds go, in anything, that’s pretty impressive. But what is a writer’s group? What does it do? How do you choose the right one? Let’s unpack this.

Two years ago, I sat down in the twilight realm between Christmas and New Year and wrote out a five-point strategy to get my writing dreams on track. In January of 2017 I rang three local writers’ groups and made enquiries about joining. Here’s my first piece of advice. Persist. Writer’s are not necessarily the most organised of people and voluntary groups are not the swiftest mechanisms in the universe. I tried all three I approached, and in the end chose to join The Hay Writers’ Circle. This was not the closest, but it ticked my needs in the critical areas I list below: it met twice a month, in the afternoons, had a clear committee policy and a wide approach to material. It also emphasised performance. Having spoken with the Chair and Vice Chair, outlined my writing interests and tried a few meetings as a guest, I paid up my membership fees in the March of 2017.

Since then I have become Secretary of the group, proxy chair of the WIP group, organise their workshops and had my work performed at Hay Festival as part of the group, who have strong links in the community, as most writing groups do. Last year I performed myself, (yes, terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure) and will be doing so again this year. During my time with them I have written my first novel to a fourth draft, sent it off for professional editing, am currently working on my next project whilst building an author website and seeking representation. This is just my story. I’m goal orientated as both a person and a writer. But not all writers are, and the great thing about a writing group is that it has allowed me to value all types of writing for all sorts of motivations, and I have been enriched by every single writer in our group.

Some of us come for a social gathering of like minded folk, some of us write to have a laugh, some of us write to exorcise ghosts, some of us write to challenge ourselves, to keep our brains focused and functioning, and some of us write with a strong ambition. Some writers join for a year, some come back every year.

One common factor that brings us together is how writing gets side-lined. As Libby Houston points out, unlike children who need feeding or bills that need paying, writing can be ignored. And all too often it is. One of the greatest complaints I hear from writers is how they struggle to find the time to write. You have to commit, you have to say no to other things, you have to carve out your right to write with fierce determination, and a writer’s group is full of people who think this is the sanest thing you will EVER do with your time.

Frances Copping, our founder and still current member, emphasises the need for the group. How it was formed because like-minded people needed support and space to pursue their writing and how it continues to grow in strength because we still need that space. Every writer needs support to tell them what they are doing is valuable, to encourage them through the stumbling blocks, to offer feedback they can learn from, to encourage their next step. For some writers this is their truest friend, nearest loved one, oldest penpal, or family dog. For the members of a group it is the other members.

In interview with a former Chair of the group, Lynn Trowbridge, I asked what she felt was the most important thing she took away from being part of the group. She believes it made the difference between her wanting to write and believing that she could write. Lynn was 91 when she published her first book, A Life Is What You Get, after stepping down from her duties as Chair, and credits her time with the group for giving her the conviction she could do it.

Still not sure? Well, I can understand your reservations, it is scary sharing your writing, it is scary being pushed to see how you can improve. But it is fun too, we laugh a lot, and we always have cake. I have heard horror stories from writers who have joined writing groups, hoping to make it their next step in the process of owning their dreams, and been given such personal criticism they have retreated to their sanctuary and never gone out again. It’s normally at this point that I begin my efforts to convince them to try again. If you have had a bad experience at a writing group, try another. They all have a very different flavour to them. If you are tempted, these are the questions I suggest you ask yourself:

pen list image

  1. How often do they meet?

Once a month, fortnightly, bi-monthly. What will fit in with you schedule?

  1. When do they meet?

Are you better in the mornings, afternoons, evenings or weekends?

  1. Where do they meet?

Do they meet in a neutral space such as the library or a meeting hall? Do they meet in member’s houses?

  1. How big is the group?

Do you want to hide in anonymity or are you brave enough to step into a small arena? Bigger groups can often be a good way to start if you are nervous. Plus, the size of the group will impact upon the diversity of age/experience/class/culture/genre etc of the writers available to you.

  1. What is their focus?

Do they focus on one genre? Do they emphasise longer projects or inspiration exercises? Do they have competitions, or include performance opportunities? Do they include a buddy system or a mentor system? Do they have a social aspect, and can you opt out of this is you prefer?

  1. Do they have a structural policy?

A written constitution, and regular rotation of committee staff, helps prevent the group from being overwhelmed by one or two individuals and their personal agendas. It also sets clear guidelines to how criticism is offered and accepted.

  1. What are the subscriptions fees?

Fees should be minimal and reasonable; pursuing your passion for writing should not involve spending a lot of money for validation. Make sure you know the cost implication before you join.

  1. What will you need to contribute?

Get an idea for what you will need to contribute back in terms of time and input.

Many writers will be nervous joining a new group, and there is nothing to prepare you for that stomach-plummeting, breath-stealing moment when you’ve innocently written your first shared exercise and realise you now need to read it. To a bunch of strangers. Like, out loud. Those raw, unpolished, straight from your heart and mind words. Like, right now. And there is no experience like getting to the end of that and knowing that the whole room has listened, really listened to what you wrote and shared. That other people have heard you, and you are not a fraud. This is one of the smallest, greatest, most oft-repeated, acts of affirmation that being in a writing group will give you.

It isn’t just emerging writers who can benefit from a writing group. Perhaps you have had some work published but been disappointed with its success and feel a little deflated? Perhaps you are a successful author who feels stuck in a rut of production and want to reawaken new writing avenues? Or a writer who has a project they can’t quite get off the ground. There are many reasons to consider joining a group as a way of revitalising your creativity. Now, let’s talk about cake.


Are there down-sides? Well, I said 90% rewarding, 5% frustrating, 5% indifferent at the start of this piece. Let’s think about that like a cake. 90% rewarding, absolutely. 5% frustrating? Every cake has a fat content. The bit you can’t avoid that sits on your waistline and messes with the harmony of your morning mirror. For a writer’s group this is the inevitability that you will not see eye to eye with everyone. This will be outweighed beyond compare by the strong friendships you do make. Friendships built across lifestyles, connecting you to people who value your writing life. 5% indifferent? The glace cherry on the top you leave on the side of the plate, still sticky with chocolate sauce. A group, any group, takes commitment, you have to attend, you have to contribute, you have to produce. And some days the intrusion of other aspects of life can make this difficult. Some days you fall flat, your work falls flat, the group falls flat. These are the days you wonder why you do it. Take a short break, miss a few sessions, refresh your life, and go back stronger.

If you’ve been thinking about joining a group there are so many options, do an internet search, find the ones nearest you, look at national organisations, and arrange a visit as a guest. I suggest you try between three and five groups before you settle on the right one for you. Groups will not expect you to share until you feel comfortable. Commit fully for twelve months and at the end of it decide how big a part you want the group to play as you move forward.

Twelve months from now you might realise the distance between your hopes and their realisation is only the ten feet between the audience and the podium.

Don’t forget to think about The Hay Writers’ if you live in or near Hay-on-Wye and look for the local writers’ groups performing at festivals near you. Oh, and if you were wondering what the other four points in my strategy were, I’ll be posting about it on my blog later this month, please email me at if you are interested.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Poet Laureate & Poetry Winners

New Poet Laureate Chosen

Simon Armitage C/O BBC Arts

Simon Armitage c/o BBC Arts

We are absolutely delighted to congratulate Simon Armitage on his appointment as Poet Laureate. Many of us Hay Writers have long admired his written work (heaving book shelves with signed copies are a testament to this), we also pay tribute to his approach to championing poetry too. A popular, well respected poet, his down-to-earth manner coupled with a breath taking ability to see and write on the endless wonder of the seemingly everyday will surely find an even greater appeal over the coming years.

Winners of the 2019 Hay Writers Poetry Competition

poetry comp winner typewritter

Congratulations to all the entrants to this years Poetry Competition. Our thanks also to our esteemed judge, Paul Henry  remarking that he enjoyed reading the poems which displayed both a keen eye and a keen ear.

(All the winning poems, along with a selection of short stories will be performed at our FREE event 233 at Hay Festival 2019 – Wednesday 29th May, 5.30pm in the Cube – for more information please go to our EVENTS page.

The results and judge’s comments are as follows:

Joint-first:  ‘Apple Moon’  by Emma van Woerkom  &  ‘Red Coat’ by Ange Grunsell

Second:      ‘Private Earthquake’ by Jean O’Donoghue

Third:         ‘Afternoon’ by Helen Wright

“Most works concerned themselves with natural landscapes and were tenderly observed. Some were reminiscent of the Imagist School which was at the forefront of Modernist poetry in the last century.

This Imagist influence was especially evident in ‘Apple Moon’, perhaps the most self-assured of all the poems here. Controlled, vivid, spare and perfectly paced, it reminds us of the enduring modernity of that movement. (Double-spacing of lines in a poem suggests a stanza-break, the convention being to single-space verse-lines. However, I read the poem’s form to be two, distinct stanzas).

The very different ‘Red Coat’ finds the universal in the personal. The detail of love and loss, especially in the prosaic first stanza, is striking and brought back to a lyrical base by the second verse’s refrain. The phrasing of the penultimate stanza is the poem’s only weakness and is forgiven by the startling closing line. ‘Red Coat’ wears its matter-of-fact stoicism lightly but the grief its first person conveys is heavy and resonant.

‘Private Earthquake’ was similarly striking, in the energy and pace of its anguish. It took risks, both in its metaphor and its diction. Stanzas two and three were particularly strong. I was less convinced by the broadcaster’s intrusion which felt forced, though it did inform the poem’s narrative. Really enjoyed this poem.

‘Afternoon’ was tonally even and sensual, its subject-matter closely observed. It was the purest poem of the thirteen, capturing a moment in time, in the tradition of lyric poetry. That “only he” (the third-person chaffinch in stanza 3) could see “the hawk hunting the hedgerows” I found less persuasive; but I could hear and smell and see the poem’s heady scene.

Other poems I recall liking were ‘How the land lies’, ‘Bridge’ and ‘Sunrise Vietnam Sea’. I may well have chosen differently, and from others not mentioned here, at a different time. Competitions come and go. Poems last. There is only the poem.”

                                                                                                 Paul Henry – April, 2019

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going Batty by Kerry Hodges

Going Batty

by Kerry Hodges

For the past two springs, I have been host to a battery.

“What are you talking about?”

I rightly hear you ask.

“Finally lost your slippery grip?”

Well, no actually, not for the moment anyway . . .

I’m talking about a nursery for baby bats, ergo, a battery. Get it?!

On a warm spring day in 2016, I went to dry some laundry in my airing cupboard and noticed little black droppings.

‘John,’ I said, ‘Time to dig out the poison, we have mice again.’

(Not that I like killing mice, poor little blighters but they do multiply with frightening speed). So John did the necessary. Climbed into the loft and put down pots of poison.

However, I kept finding the oval shaped guano in the airing cupboard and now a mildly offensive pong developed too. Mystified, I asked John to check the loft for corpses. He found no dead mice and the poison remained untouched.

One afternoon as I was removing some pillowcases, I saw movement and jumped back fearing a marauding pack of angry mice trying to get their own back on our attempt to destroy them. Cautiously I moved some sheets to find increasing piles of faecal matter. More movement. Peering nervously, I spied the reddish brown fur of a little bat, stuck, or so it seemed, to the wall by the hot water tank.

I quietly replaced the sheets and retreated to my computer where I typed ‘bats’ into Google and learnt some intriguing facts.

pipistrelle bat 1

The species we have living under our roof is the pipistrelle (such a beautiful word), and it is Britain’s most common bat. They are typically three to five centimetres long (head and body) and their wingspan is between nineteen and 25 centimetres. They weigh between three and nine grams.

It is mid-June when I make my astonishing discovery and learn that this is the month baby pipistrelles or pups, are born. The gestation period is roughly six weeks and the females usually give birth to just one pup. They are tiny, hairless and blind during the first week of their lives. Warmth is crucial during this time; the warmer they are, the quicker they’ll grow. (No wonder my airing cupboard is a favoured spot. Clever creatures). At three weeks old, the pups are weaned and ready to fly independently.

I have frequently watched bats flying at dusk. They whizz, hurtle, scud, dart, swoop and flash. One moment ahead of me and the next behind. They are difficult to keep track of and impossible to count.

What amazes me about these creatures is that they use echolocation to track their prey. This they do by contracting their larynx; effectively using their voice as a boomerang.


They may eat their body weight in gnats in a night.

When I learn this I wish we had many more airing cupboards housing endless numbers of pups so there might be fewer gnats around.  Gnats are at their terrible worst in June where I live and the bats seem to make little headway getting rid of them. The gnats still nibble my flesh, enjoying a feast with scary regularity. It can be no coincidence that this is the time of year when pups are venturing out for the first time.

What came first, the bat or the gnat?

Later that evening, I am sitting at my desk, trying to get into the writing zone when I hear a little scratching noise from one of the bedrooms. I ignore it and continue with my work. But I hear it again. It sounds desperate and I can no longer concentrate. I enter my daughter’s room (she is now living in Bristol) and find the source of the scratching. In the big metal bin I see the tiniest pipistrelle, scrabbling in vain at the deep sides, trying to escape. I can’t help but smile as I gently lift it out, carry it carefully to the airing cupboard and place it on a folded sheet hoping it’ll walk back to its nursery friends.

I try not to peek at the precious babies too often. It is tempting as they are totally enthralling. I feel honoured they have chosen to live with us.

One evening, quite late and again I am trying to write; I hear high pitched twittering and assume the bats are outside enjoying their freedom. It’s only when nature calls I find more nature in my bathroom. There is one bat hanging off the shower head, one sitting in the sink and another having a go at swimming in the loo. It appears to be drowning but it might be waving. I gingerly scoop the sodden creature out with a child’s plastic beaker (funny what you find on your shelves) and place it on a towel to dry.

I leave them to it, shutting the door to go and find another loo.

The following morning I return and see the shower and the sink bats have left the scene but the one at the pool party is lying on the towel, still wet and half dead. I gather its little body and cradle it to my chest as I hunt for the hair drier. Switching it to its quietest level, I let the warm air wash over the bat, hoping the sound won’t scare it to death. Once dry, I tuck it inside the airing cupboard and just hope.


It’s not there when I return some hours later.

There are many stories of our batty home that summer. Bats hiding in the curtains, waiting to fly out causing me to spill my tea as I try not to scream.

Bats dive bombing me as I sip a glass of Merlot. I can hear them laughing.

Bats floating lifeless in the dog’s bucket of water, like dead leaves.

One day, as I was looking for a teapot in my old Rayburn, now used for storage, I chanced upon the perfect body of a bat. The abiding memory is that of the fingers on its miniature hands. They were delicate as though painted with a fine brush, covered with a diaphanous glaze.

It’s June once again and they’re back. The familiar slightly earthy, somewhat disagreeable odour hovers on the staircase and I know that come the middle of July, I will have to empty the airing cupboard and wash every last sheet, duvet cover and towel.

That’s okay, I don’t mind. I’m thrilled the pups are there growing with each day that passes. I know they’ll be out there, on my side in the battle against the gnats within the month.

Reward enough I’d say.

pipistrelle 4

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment




Article by Jan Newton, Photography by Merv Newton.

Two years ago, the publication by Honno of my first novel, ‘Remember No More’, was an absolutely amazing experience. From seeing the book with its beautiful cover for the very first time, to its unforgettable launch in Builth Wells, was a massive whirl of emotions.  There was apprehension – would people come to the launch, and then would they like the book? There was amazement that so many people did come, and gratitude for a fanfare from the brass band I play in, for surprise cake and wonderful flowers, and that people laughed in all the right places at what I had to say at my first engagement as an author.

In the weeks and months that followed, I was completely bowled over by the fantastic response. People from all over the UK and beyond, took the trouble to write reviews or send e-mails and letters to tell me how much they enjoyed it, and that they hoped I would write the second book in the series soon. I was invited to talk to groups and at library events, and the local people where the book is based, have been incredibly and generously supportive.

This year, two years more or less to the day, ‘Rather To Be Pitied’, the second DS Kite Mystery was to be launched. Would it be different this time? Would I be more confident, more blasé about the whole process? Well, no. I was just as nervous. Would people come to a second launch? Would they like the second book as much as the first?

The Wyeside Arts Centre did us proud for a second time. Amazingly, the band turned out for another fanfare. There were more flowers, wonderful cake – and even gin – and a huge turnout.  Three lovely ladies from Honno’s Committee came over from Aberystwyth to help us celebrate. There was an unexpected and amazingly kind introduction from Jane Aaron, the Chair of the committee, and an equally memorable introduction from Chris Kinsey, poet, nature writer, friend and brilliant creative writing tutor. All that was left was for me to read. I was less nervous than the first time – the book barely shook at all, and the audience was just as welcoming as they had been two years ago. It was, if anything, even more special, knowing that many of the people in the audience were those who had been such supportive fans of ‘Remember No More’.

‘Rather To Be Pitied’ has been out there for three weeks now, and the reviews have started to come in. It’s no less nerve racking, waiting to know what readers think, but I’m finally beginning to breathe a sigh of relief. I’ve had so many excellent responses, and requests to write the third book in the series. When someone says they didn’t want your book to end – that surely has to be the best feeling in the world…


Both of Jan’s books can be purchased direct through her publisher Honno Press where her Rather to be Pitied is currently the ‘Featured Title’ in their catalogue. (Don’t forget, the best way to support authors and publishers is by buying direct from the publisher.)

Remember No More and Rather to be Pitied are also available online at Amazon and in all good bookshops.

Rather to be Pitied is April 2019 Powys Libraries Recommended Read of the Month and the above article appears  in the News section of Crime Cymru – the Welsh Crime Writing Collective.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment