Our Writers – in their OWN words!

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From biopic blurbs and internal monologues to philosophical dilemmas and humorous anecdotal confessions – here we nom le plume (loosely – name the pen) and each pen writes a little about itself.  Humble, grandiose or just plain average – enjoy our words about ourselves as we have written them!


Frances Copping

I was bought up and went to school in Hay.   For me there is no other place I would call home.   In 1983 Hay Writers’ Circle was formed and soon gave support to those who like me, are captivated by this town, the river Wye and the surrounding hills and feel inspired to write creatively about this lovely place.


Juliet Foster

I found perfection when I moved to Hay. I have lived here, there and
everywhere, but nothing beats this. Its nearest competitor is the joy of
being a member of the friendly, enthusiastic and lively Hay Writers’ Circle.

I do not enjoy writing poetry, but I love writing countryside pieces, there is
plenty to observe here as I walk my dog. Non-fiction and observational writing are probably my forte. I find fiction harder work but fulfilling.

I have a family; husband, children and grandsons. The latter tower above me, they look down upon me as if I were some weird being from another planet, the one that distrusts technology and never keeps her mobile phone switched on. Computers are another ordeal. I shall close my eyes and pray as I press SEND as I attempt to dispatch this attachment. If you read this, I shall have been successful.


Ange Grunsell 

Me  I love words!  The music of words, the meanings of words, the partnership of thought and language so various  in different tongues.

I have always been driven to write stories and poems ever since I first learned to form letters and even the obligatory holiday diary writing set and copy edited by my father failed to put me off an urge to record things in words.  An English degree enraptured me but daunted me from attempting serious writing of my own for a very long time.

At work,I had the opportunity to  construct and publish activities and books for Primary school classrooms.  I wanted to bring the language of non- fiction as close to that of story as possible.

Academic writing for the distance learner,  presented other challenges…of evidence and precision…but still I have been concerned to spin a story and a relationship with my students.

In later life it is poetry..both reading and writing it that captivates  me most. I am excited by discovering more about the art and skill of others revealed through reading  and wonder what it is I have to say. Work in progress!


Jo Jones

I can think of at least 101 people that I could describe quite easily, yet when it comes to writing about me, I am stuck. I think I appear a cheerful, chatty kind  of person, a bit hail fellow well met sort of personality. I think I come across as quite a confident person; I will have a go at most things; perhaps the proverb “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” would be rather apt for me.  I’m a bit of a performer (or maybe just a show off) certainly not a shrinking violet.

I came to writing late in life; I was in my 70s when I joined Hay Writers’ Circle.  Some years previously I had enrolled into Kington U3A Writing interest group.  We only met once a month but I loved it.

Having led a rather chaotic lifestyle covering banking, nursing, running a youth hostel, teaching ,health promotion and sex education I have a wealth of experiences to draw upon for short stories.  I have never aspired to writing anything other than short stories, both fiction and nonfiction. The longest thing I have ever written was my dissertation for teacher training college.

I write purely because I enjoy doing it.  If I’m not in the mood for writing I just leave the page blank because there is always tomorrow.


Emma van Woerkom

For my sins, I am a poet. I’ve been collecting and reading poetry books for the greater part of my life – as my aching books shelves will attest – if there was ‘deep heat’ for distressed shelving they’d be screaming for it! A few years ago I started writing poetry, discovering the dichotomy of loving and hating a thing to absolute distraction, even worse than a pivotal episode involving bad judgement and an abandoned jug of Pimms….

I also love Hay-on-Wye and exist in a constant state of driving to and from its unique kingdom in a battered (not my fault) blue Clio.

When in Somerset, I live with my hero of a boyfriend, Matt and my stuffed hooded crow, Trevor – yes, there is a strange camaraderie I will not explain, so don’t judge me. When in Hay I am willingly absorbed with borg-like efficiency into my family collective, as well as Hay’s own greater cohesive clan. To all those friends and family in my life I am hugely protective of and extremely loyal to – I love them as a broody hen loves a nest of rustling eggs.

Quietly (and this has been debated) I live for the day my winning lottery ticket affords Matt and I our own residence in Hay and a dent-free motor – in the mean time I avoid ‘other peoples’ Pimms and write poetry.


Anne Riviere

Finds staring at a blank sheet of A4 and praying for inspiration usually does the trick.


Mary Bevan

I am a relatively new member, having only joined two years ago. My interest in being part of the group was kindled when I saw members perform their own work at a Christmas function. The event was shared with The Monday Choir who, together with the Writers alternated festive items. It was all very enjoyable.

Some years ago, my modest attempts at verse were initially my way of expressing extreme emotion, on the death of a very close family member, followed by other sad but sometimes inevitable family and friends circumstances. The results were eulogies in the form of rhymes, which surprising to me brought attention and some compliments from several quarters.

More recently I have had more success at verse, but enjoy the challenge of writing non-fiction and fiction. It is a slow learning curve for me but it is helpful when we are given feedback from other Circle members.  It is even more enlightening when we receive individual constructive criticism from a competition judge who is likely to be a well-known published author.

Our sessions are varied and enjoyable, adding interest and challenges that help to inspire us to greater achievements.


Kerry Hodges

Okay; a piece about me for the Hay Writer’s Circle.

I should get on with it but the washing up needs doing and I’m sure J could do with another cuppa……..

My greatest enemy – procrastination.

I constantly put off till tomorrow what could be done today.

Don’t ask me why. Self-sabotage maybe? Sheer laziness? Fear?

The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as ‘’ often with the sense of deferring,” (much better than lazy), “through indecision, when early action would have been preferable,” or as “deferring action, especially without good reason.” Me to a tee!

Walking the dogs, washing my hair, biting my nails. I’ve even been known to do the ironing rather than get down to some serious writing!

However, my love for writing is deep seated and totally satisfying (when I get round to it).

As a little girl, one of my Christmas highlights was Boxing Day. Mum appeared with a big wrapped bundle. It contained beautiful books and I curled up in a corner, transported.

Thus began a love affair between a small child and reading, which, by extension set me to writing long pages of stories in school. I still have the one about marrying Andrew and having a farm and two children named Jane and Roy!

Now, having put off writing another page or two of my book to write this, I think I ought to get back to it.

Um; anyone fancy a cuppa?


Peggyanne Stevenson

Runs her farm breeding Hereford Cattle.


Jean O’Donoghue

Writes in all genres and is a perceptive and under-stated writer.


Jan Newton

I wrote my first novel when I was seven. I remember being totally immersed in the world of a one-legged Martian, with the unlikely name of Fred, who crash-landed in equally unlikely fashion in my own suburb of North Manchester.  I also remember my class teacher’s expression as she handed me yet another wide-lined exercise book as the saga of his adventures on Earth continued.  Who knows what might have happened to my writing career if, at the age of nine, I hadn’t been presented with a beautiful black Welsh Mountain pony called Pixie.  From that moment, writing took a back seat.

After a gap too long to admit to, I began writing again in 2008, when I embarked on a second Open University degree with their Start Writing Fiction module.  I completed my BA in 2012 and went on to Swansea University to study for a masters’ degree in Creative Writing, graduating in 2015.  Swansea was like a box of delights, opening up a whole new world of writing which I hadn’t even considered.  Now, in addition to the short stories I began with, I dabble in nature writing, non-fiction and even (on occasion) poetry.  I have written a crime novel and have started work on a second novel, this time in a slightly more humorous vein.

I live on a smallholding in the foothills of the Cambrian mountains surrounded by hills, sheep, a ridiculously large collection of books – and a pony.


Marianne Rosen

In January 2017 Marianne Rosen closed down her business of 24 years standing and now writes every day, thanks to the immense support of her partner who understands that, in straddling the fine line between making a living and making a life, a page a day keeps insanity at bay. She is learning to say ‘no’ to the many kind people who think she needs to fill her time more productively. Marianne is interested in the way that sexual identity is formed and mutates throughout life, and finds the current social environment a fascinating one of sexual identity exploration. As a writer she is developing her skills in modern fiction, fantasy and children’s writing and hoping at some point to make a decision about which one to follow. She helps organise the Circle’s workshop programme and its WIP group. Marianne lives in Herefordshire and longs for the sea on a daily basis.



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