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 plume de nom (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.

While we are on the clichés and proverbs perhaps I should throw in “Jack of all trades, master of none”  My C.V.( should I bother to write one) would boast teacher, nurse, Youth Hostel warden, bank clerk, wages clerk, senior health promotion officer ( I never met the junior one) barmaid and cleaner.

The headmistress of the school where I taught told me that I could never be selected as deputy head because I wanted everyone to like me.  I suppose she was right; I could see that many of the children were afraid of her, I would not want pupils in my class to be afraid of me.  I never did become deputy head.

I hate arguments or rows and go out of my way to avoid them. This often leads to me sitting on the fence rather than having the courage to voice my opinion. I am rather impatient and do not suffer fools gladly.

My children often refer to me as “Toad” (from Wind in the Willows) as I love fast cars, would love a narrow boat or perhaps a horse drawn gypsy caravan. This shows that I want to be noticed; I want to be the one in the flashiest car (wouldn’t be seen dead in a Ford) I like being called “Hells Granny”.


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 me my 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.


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.



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