Results of the Poetry Competition, March 2018

Judge: Kim Lasky

First:   John Taylor ‘They are not missing they are here’.

Second: Godfrey Forder ‘A load of old Pollocks’

Third: Roz Balp ‘Stork’s Flight’

Fourth: Liz Caluori ‘What a difference a day makes’


Results of the Catherine Cookson Cup, December 2017

Judge: Thorne Ryan

First:  Amanda Giles “No Reveal”

Second:  Maddie Blake “Looking Through the Gates of Heaven”

Third:  Godfrey Forder “Dandelion and Burdock with Bronwen”

Fourth:  Anne Hooker “The Signet Ring Mafia”

Results of the”Crime from the Criminal’s Point of View” Competition, October 2017

1 Sandra Daniels – ‘Ray’
2 Emma Boyd – ‘Call Centre Charity’
3 Sam Davy – ‘Pity Me’
4Godfrey Forder – ‘In Two Criminal Minds’
4 Maddie Blake – ‘Missing Laura-Jane’
4 Diana Lock – ‘A Nasty Case of the Jimmy Choos’

Results of the Myth/Fairy Tale Competition, August 2017


Judge:  Catherine Smith

First – Vicky Armstrong: Mrs Majuba and the League of Ladies

Second -Roz Balp: The Moonlit Pool

Third – Diana Lock: Ayashe and the Red Crow

Fourth – Maddie Blake: The Princess and the Elf King


Results of the Sitcom Competition, June 2017

Judge: John Knowles

First – John Taylor ‘That’s the Way To Do It”

Second – Roz Balp ‘Gargoyles’

Third – Diana Lock ‘Grandads 4 Justice

Fourth – Vicky Armstrong ‘Home Sweet Home’.

Results of the Life Writing Competition, May 2017

Judge: Andrea Samuelson

First: Vicky Armstrong for ‘On Learning to Read’

Second: Roz Balp for ‘My Husband, My Prince’

Third: Sam Davy for ‘Death is the Cessation of all Biological Functions’

Fourth: Dave Baker for ‘Anatomy of a Love Story’

Commended: Godfrey Forder was also commended for his work ‘Dandelion and Burdock with Bronwen’

Results of the Songwriting Competition, April 2017

The judge was Ken Edwards, writer, poet and musician.

First: Diana Lock with “Friend Me”

Second:  Chris King with “Just Another Love Song (chasing resurrection blues)”

Third:  Liz Caluori with “The Elephant in the Room”

Fourth: Emma Boyde with “Emptinest”

Results of the Catherine Cookson Competiton, December 2016

Judge: Jemima Forrester

First: Sandra Daniels for her short story ‘Boy’, a story of a young girl tormented by an annoying cousin, which leads to chilling consequences.

Second: Sam Davey for ‘The House of Her Dreams’.

Third: Jill Fricker for ‘The Second Life of Amina Choudbury’.

Fourth: Vicky Armstrong for ‘And Then There Was Silence’.

Highly commended: Marcia Woolf,  ‘The Jar of Ideas’.

Results of the Historic Writing Competition, October 2016

Judge was Alan Judd. First: Vicky Armstrong, ‘And The Band Played On’.  Second: Sandra Daniels, ‘A Bluebell Among The Thorns’. Third:  John Taylor, ‘Warlingham Murder’. Fourth: Godfrey Forder, ‘The Madness of Victorian Women’.

Results of the Poetry Competition, August 2016

Judge was Roz Goddard. First: Vicky Armstrong, ‘The Father’s Tale’. Second: Diana Lock, ‘The Bryn’. Third: Jane Hempson-Jones, ‘Peace’. Fourth: Roz Balp, ‘Haiku on Kuniyoshi’.

Results of the Humour Competition, July 2016

Judge was Sally Holloway. First: Liz Caluori, ‘Stiff and Nonesense’. Second: Vicky Armstrong , ‘Maurice and Dora Learn Swahili’. Third: Amanda Giles, ‘The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come’. Fourth: Godfrey Forder,  ‘Paper Hanging Hero’.

Results of the Drama Competition, May 2016

Judge was Heather Alexander. First: Amanda Giles, ‘Miriam Waits’. Second: Godfrey Forder, ‘Just War’. Third: Roz Balp, ‘Lifted’. Fourth: Vicky Armstrong,  ‘Above Rubies’.

Results of the ‘given phrase’ Competition, March 2016

Judge was Alexandra Benedict. First: Maddie Blake, ‘The Song of the Tree’.  Second: Elizabeth Allen, ‘The Song’s Sake’. Third: Sarah Corrie, ‘Shut Up, You Bitch or the Neighbours Will Hear You’. Fourth: Jill Fricker, ‘This Won’t Last’.

Results of the Catherine Cookson Cup Competition, December 2015

Judge was Sarah O’Halloran. First: Marcia Woolf, ‘All Saints’.  Second: Anne Hooker, ‘Moving On’. Third: Elizabeth Allen: ‘Dereliction of Duty’. Fourth: Roz Balp, ‘Ducking and Rolling’.

Results of the Romantic Fiction Competition, October 2015

Judge was Hilary Mackelden. First: Amanda Giles, ‘Hector’s Tale’. Second: Maddie Blake, ‘Top Secret’. Third: Emma Boyde, ‘Out with the Geek’. Fourth: Marcus Towner, ‘Indian Summer, Later Spring’. Highly Commended: Godfrey Forder, ‘Lost and Found’; Sam Davey, ‘Stupid QPID’.

Results of Dramatic Monologue Competition, August 2015

Judge was Christine Harmer-Brown. First: Vicky Armstrong, ‘Six Months in the Life of Miss Hill’. Second: Caroline Wardle,’Grammabot’. Third: Sally-Ann Clark, ‘Getting a Word in Edgeways’. Fourth: Roz Balp, ‘Wife in the Gulf’.

Results of Journalism Competition, June 2015

Judge was Kathryn Flett. First: Elizabeth Allen, ‘A Whole Planet of Possibilities’. Second: John Taylor, ‘Claim to Fame’. Third: Diana Lock, ‘On the Trail of Grey Owl’. Fourth: Rachel Marsh, ‘Turning a Blind Eye’.

Results of Poetry Competition, April 2015

Judge was Antony Mair. First: Elizabeth Allen, ‘The New Wife’. Second: Sally-Ann Clark, ‘Cairn’. Third: ‘A Little Less Conversation’, Liz Caluori. Fourth: ‘Dungeness’, John Taylor.

Results of Flash Fiction Competition, March 2015

Judge was Alexandra Benedict. First: Sally-Ann Clark, ‘In Perspective’. Second: Diana Lock, ‘Missing Baggage’. Third: Marcia Woolf, ‘Devotion’. Fourth: Roz Balp, ‘The Green Door’.



HWG Awards 2017

Catherine Cookson Cup


Judge: Thorne Ryan

First:  Amanda Giles “No Reveal”

Second:  Maddie Blake “Looking Through the Gates of Heaven”

Third:  Godfrey Forder “Dandelion and Burdock with Bronwen”

Fourth:  Anne Hooker “The Signet Ring Mafia”


Writer of the Year Award

Writer of the year 2

Joint winners:  Roz Balp and Diana Lock



Drama competition

2018 Competition No 4 is Drama – a one act stage play involving (closely or loosely) a famous historical event.

Please see the brief here.


How to Competition Criteria

Next Competition is the “How to?” See the brief here.


The deadline is approaching for submissions to the anthology, if you haven’t yet submitted anything please do so now by emailing it to Vicky Armstrong.  We would like the 2018 anthology to reflect the very best of HWG writing so if you have a piece that you’re particularly proud of, whether it has been entered into or placed in one of our competitions or not, on any topic, don’t be shy! You have a maximum of 3,000 words (but could be much less) – and you can submit up to three pieces of writing – short story, flash fiction, poem or non-fiction – or any combination thereof.  The aim is to get the anthology in print by the end of August, so the sooner you submit the work the easier it will be to achieve this.  The anthology will be aimed at adults but, as always, some discretion and common sense in terms of language and themes should be applied! I am looking at myself here as much as anyone else. Vicky’s email is


AGM sees change of Chair

At our Annual General Meeting on Monday 22nd January our Chair, Eileen Masters, stood down to hand over to Amanda Giles.  We would like to thank Eileen for her hard work, fresh ideas, and commitment to the group over the past few years.  The group has prospered under her steady leadership.  We now welcome Amanda and look forward to even more ideas and the continuing development of the group.

Photo Eileen June 2016

Outgoing Chair Eileen Masters

Photo for work

Incoming chair, Amanda Giles

70th Anniversary Celebrations

HWG 70th anniversary cake

The Hastings Writers’ Group 70th Anniversary celebrations kicked off with a glorious messy desk cake, which was devoured at the annual Christmas presentation evening in December.  It is nothing short of a miracle that such a successful group has continued all these years.  To find out what we’ve been up to for the past 70 years visit our information page 70th Anniversary where you will find minutes from the first meeting and details of Catherine Cookson’s involvement.


Who we are

Based in Hastings, East Sussex, we share a passion for writing.

We come from many different backgrounds and have diverse writing experience. Some have had short stories, poems, letters or articles published in magazines, whilst others have novels or non-fiction books to their credit. However, we also welcome people who still aspire to publication, as well as those who are happy to write just for themselves and family or friends. See the Members page for our details.

We aim to help all our members develop their writing skills by providing a varied and interesting programme of meetings, and offering constructive feedback on their work in a supportive and friendly atmosphere.

The group meets fortnightly, in Hastings.  Our activities include varied competitions with guest judges, speakers, manuscript evenings, workshops and fun evenings.  We aim to offer something for everyone who enjoys writing.  From time to time we also organise events for both members and the public to attend.

If you would like to know more about our activities, or are interested in joining the group, please contact us.

We also have a facebook page, if you would like to follow us.

Annual Presentation Evening – December 2017

Group photo


HWG Publications

Imagine That!

Now available, see publications for details.


2016 Anthology out now!

See Publications for details.

ebook marketing image





Programme of Future Meetings



This section of the website can be seen by logged-in HWG members only.

Please use these spaces to post your own material.  Feel free to comment or critique, but you will  not be able to change the posted originals.

News and Gossip


2016 Changes to the Committee:
Claire Land  is the new Website Manager, and Liz Caluori is the new Press Relations Officer. If you’re interested in joining the committee, please contact our Chair, Eileen Masters on




Rules for all competitions

1. Entries must be your own original work and not commercially published. *
2. Don’t put your name anywhere on your entry. If you are writing autobiographically and need to include your name, use a pseudonym.
3. Hand in entries on time at the meeting shown on the programme. If you cannot attend, you may send your entry by email before 5 p.m. on the final date.
4. Prose: entries must be within the word limit and show the word count either on your front cover sheet (if you have one) or at the end of your manuscript in brackets.
5. Poetry: entries must be within the line limit.

*The content of commercially published work is ‘fixed’ and is the copyright of the publisher and therefore cannot be entered. Self-published work remains the copyright of the writer and may be revised or re-written as he or she wishes and it may therefore be entered.

Formatting Guidelines

1. Use the font Times New Roman 12pt.
2. Use wide margins (minimum 1″ or 2.5 cms).
3. Print on only one side of the paper.
4. Number pages and staple them together.

5. Use double spacing.
6. Indent paragraphs except for the very first line of the story. Shifts in time, scene, point of view, etc. may be indicated by a space paragraph.
7.Use single-spacing.

HWG Writer of the Year scoring system:
5 points for first place
4 points for second place
3 points for third place
2 points for fourth place
1 point for entering

Manuscript Evenings – guidelines for presenters:
Please contact the Chair if you would like to book a place on Manuscript Evening; this is an opportunity for you to read and receive feedback on your work.   Email your manuscript (up to 1200 words) to the Chair before the meeting for circulation to members – and bring a few spare copies to the meeting.  At the meeting, members will give feedback and discuss the work you read out; you can ask focus questions if you wish.

Writers’ Exchange

The New Manuscript Evening

As voted for in our 2016 programme planning meeting, our traditional manuscript evenings will now become a ‘Writers’ Exchange’.

Writers’ Exchange will provide feedback on manuscript extracts as we currently do at manuscript evenings, plus creative problem-solving for our writing troubles.

Each person who wishes to participate will be allocated up to 20 minutes. Normally, slots will be allocated ‘first come first served’, but if someone has recently participated, the Chair will first offer places to those who have not previously or recently taken part.

You can choose any of the following:

  1. Read an extract from your work and invite the group to give feedback. Ask members to generate, while you are reading, a list of points for you to consider. To allow time for feedback, extracts should be limited to not more than 1,000 words.
  2. Discuss your submission to an agent or publisher – ask for feedback on your synopsis and covering letter
  3. If you would like to use your 20 minutes differently, contact our Chair and explain what you’d like to do. Provided the Chair finds it is appropriate, you can use your time in the way that will be most helpful to you.
  1. Read a piece of writing without feedback. This can provide a deadline to work toward without anxieties over whether or not the piece is ‘good enough’. Consider having another member of the group read while you note things that might need revision. As no feedback time is needed, you’ll have a 10-minute slot for reading up to 1,000 words.
  2. Present a writing problem that you need to solve. Invite the group to brainstorm or to free-write possible solutions and share the results. Sharing writing issues will also help us understand members’ challenges and to plan relevant workshops and activities.
  3. Discuss your writing progress. Tell us about completed parts of your project, how you overcame the hurdles and how work that was previously discussed is now evolving in response to group comments. Explain the obstacles that hinder your progress and ask the group how they deal with similar issues.
  4. Share your writing plans. Discuss with members whether your goals seem realistic. Ask members to help create your writing calendar and to e-mail you with reminders of deadlines and encouragement.

Please choose one of these options for presenting your extract:

  1. Submit your extract (not the whole work, please!) to the Chair for circulation before the meeting.
  2. Bring paper copies to the meeting. As in option 1, short extracts of no more than 1,000 words should be presented. The group can annotate the copies with their comments and return them to you at the end of your session.
  3. Without having circulated copies, read an extract aloud. This is suitable if you are opting not to receive feedback as in 2 above.