Sarah Barr

Writer, poet and teacher

Blandford Fashion Museum Outing

Wimborne Writing Group had a very successful outing last week to Blandford Fashion Museum. What a gem! Tucked away in The Plocks in the centre of Blandford is a charming, Georgian house containing a marvellous collection of clothes and accessories from the last 300 years. Jean welcomed us with refreshments in the cafe (coffee was particularly good) and then Gordon gave us a fascinating talk about the museum and also some wider history about Blandford, the great fire of 1731 and its aftermath. We thought about how certain clothes can help to revive our memories about our own lives and perhaps those of parents and grandparents.  When writing historical fiction – and it seems the 1970s are now part of that! – it’s important to get the fashions right. This museum is surely a very useful resource for writers.

Society of Authors

I’m completely delighted to have been elected to membership of the Society of Authors! I heard last week and I’m now dipping into  the quarterly journal, ‘The Author’, which is a pleasure and very informative also about writing matters, including tax, payment rates, the joy of indexing and how someone became a poet accidentally through twitter. It all seems very up-to-date and relevant. I can’t wait for the summer party.

Meniscus Literary Magazine

I’m honoured that Meniscus has published another of my poems: ‘Twelfth Night’. It’s great to be included in the latest issue. I like the idea of my writing winging to Australia – it feels as if it is being set free or migrating from one island to another – albeit larger! I know this is just imaginary, really, as writing is not (usually) confined to territories now that we have instant global communication.

Wimborne Literary Festival 2017

The festival has started and today I went to a great session with Jane Corry – How to Write a Thriller. One tip was: end each chapter with a hook/cliff-hanger! Another idea – have one or two ‘teasers’ at the beginning of your novel.

My ‘Time to Write’ workshop for the Lit Fest is this Wednesday afternoon – 17th May 2-4pm at Allendale House, Hanham Road, so join me there. During the afternoon, be inspired to write short stories and poems. It should be fun and I hope you will also take away lots of ideas for future writing.

Bridport Story Slam

I enjoyed helping with the judging process for this story slam last week. It was a great evening with warm and supportive writers and audience.  I think we all learned something about the variety and demands of flash fiction in performance. It was hard to choose winners as all the stories had their own merits, but we had to! See the Dorset Writers Network for more.

Bridport Story Slam

There is still plenty of time to write your 250 word story for the upcoming Story Slam at the Arts Centre in Bridport on Monday, April 3rd, starting at 7.30pm. I’m delighted to be helping with the judging and rather excited about the prospect of an evening of story-telling!

This is a chance to try out your skills at writing a very short story – flash fiction – ready for entering The Bridport Prize.

It will be a very popular event and so you will need to book tickets.

 

WWG writing successes

WWG writers are currently having great success on the CafeLit story site. Between 28th December 2016 to January 11th 2017, stories by Penny, Richard,  Robin (2 stories), Sharon (2 stories)  have featured. As just one story a day is chosen and published by Gill James, this is brilliant! Other writers, including Gail,  have also previously had stories on CafeLit. Penny and Mary have stories in the print anthology, ‘The Best of CafeLit 5’.

Novel coming along

Very pleased to hear from Jan Fortune that my 2nd novel has been included in the shortlist of 20 for the annual Cinnamon Press debut novel prize (my first novel hasn’t been published yet). Mine isn’t one of the four final winners but it is very encouraging to get this sort of affirmation. Winter and the long evenings are a great time to write. Sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, then the chapter … I know it is possible to reach the end even if at the moment it seems beyond the horizon.

The Bridport Prize 2016

I went to a brilliant lunch in Bridport last Saturday for the prize-giving. I was delighted to receive the Dorset Prize for my poem, ‘Making Tea, Drinking Coffee’, which can be read in the Bridport Prize anthology 2016 along with all the other fantastic poems, stories and flash fictions that are this year’s winning entries. The judges were fascinating to listen to and Patience Agabi’s talk chimed particularly with me.

Poem for National Poetry Day

Glow-worms

 

The dry stone walls lining the lane

were decorated with toadflax, lichen,

and tiny faces of heartsease.

 

The pale stones like warm pumice

were home to basking lizards,

glistening slow-worms with flicking tongues,

 

and fat-bodied, mottled spiders,

their slung webs like fragile silk doilies.

 

Strings of lights, pin-points of fire

 

lit our way returning, our footsteps

and our words echoing up the gardens

and ahead of us, along the lane.

 

 

 

© Sarah Barr

 

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