Hello! I’ve taken over from Emma as the Writers’ Circle webmaster. She’s done amazing things with our website and social media connections and will be a ridiculously hard act to follow – but I have bought a book (which is my answer to every problem). Please bear with me during the transition, and in the meantime I would just like to introduce myself.
I’m Jan Newton and I live in the mid Wales hills. I wrote my first novel when I was seven years old, but then ponies took over, and after an extremely lengthy hiatus, I began writing again in 2008, when I embarked on a second Open University degree with their Start Writing Fiction module. Within three days I was totally hooked. I completed my BA in 2012 and went on to Swansea University to study for a masters’ degree in Creative Writing, graduating in 2015.
I began by writing short stories and eventually took the plunge, entering my first competition in 2011. I’ve been fortunate enough to win, amongst others, the Allen Raine Short Story Competition, The Lady Denman Cup and various eisteddfod and magazine prizes, but my experiences at Swansea opened up a whole new world of writing which I hadn’t even considered. In addition to a fabulous short story module, I studied radio drama, long fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and nature writing. In 2014 I won the Oriel Davies Writing Competition with a non-fiction piece, Milltir Sgwar. Since finishing at Swansea I have written a crime novel and have started a second novel, this time in a slightly more humorous vein.
In April last year I was invited to join the Hay Writers’ Circle and had a baptism of fire, when I was asked to read a short story at the Hay Festival as part of the group’s annual session. The Writers’ Circle is wonderfully friendly, talented and ambitious and it’s a great pleasure to be able to be a part of it. In November, our anthology Pick and Mix was launched and I learned both editorial skills and new heights of persistence during its production. Copies have been selling well and it is still available on Amazon and in various places including Booth’s Bookshop, King of Hay, Oakchurch, The Old Railway Line Garden Centre in Three Cocks and the Tourist Information Centre in Hay.
I would like to wish all our friends and followers a happy new year, and hope that 2016 will prove to be everything you want it to be.