Diary of a Writer – October

Being a mum of school-age children, daughter of a widowed mum and daughter-in-law of two, meant that the summer in years past passed in a blur. I used to look forward intensely, immensely to a small conference held in early October in Pitlochry. It was run by various people over the years and the late Hugh Rae used to attract speakers he’d met at Swanwick (a much bigger conference}.

My own room in Scotland’s Hotel was bliss and the first day of the first year I attended, the time between 4pm and 6pm stretched almost to infinity. As anyone with children knows, their blood sugar levels as tea-time approaches lead to all sorts…

Alas, that event is no more, but I still have an internal clock that gears up to chime in late September/early October.

The reason for posting October while September is still with us is to publicise the wonderful EDINBURGH WRITERS’CLUB, which has its opening meeting on Monday 23rd September and of which I have the honour to be a Life Member. So, October first would be too late! The approach of the first club meeting is a wonderful stimulus.

The opening night speaker is Caroline Dunford, novelist. Caroline is currently chair of The Society of Authors in Scotland.

Meetings are held in the Grosvenor Hilton Hotel in Grosvenor Street at 7.30 pm. Come along around 7 on the opening night to join or pay the guest night fee and try it out.

The website is here Edinburgh Writers’ Club

In addition, being a member of the EWC entitles a person to enter their internal competitions which is useful if you’re trying to discover what genre suits you. It also entitles you to enter the competitions run by the Scottish Association of Writers. Some of their competitions, associated with the weekend school in March, are now open.

Scottish Association of Writers

So, I’ll be back soon with September’s Round Robin, but in the meantime Keep Writing (or Start, make this the year)



A – Z Challenge H is for Hugh

Hugh Rae was one of the UK’s most successful writers over a long, long period. He had several pseudonyms and wrote in several genres, but I know him best as

Jessica Stirling

I first met Hugh in Pitlochry at an October writing conference. He didn’t organise them, but he was instrumental in their success. Every year at the Swanwick writing school, Hugh was on the look-out for new talent, interesting speakers and folk who needed a leg-up. Over a period of years, I encountered lots of interesting people at that little conference, sadly no more, and it always marked the start of the writing winter for me.

The measure of the man was in my very first meeting with him. I was wandering around the Scotland’s Hotel foyer wondering what happened next. (Mums allowed out for the first time on their own can be a bit disorientated, no?) Anyway, Hugh spotted this waif and said, “The rule at this conference is that the first coffee is on me.”

I’ve never forgotten the kindness. His death last year deprived the writing world of a star.

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