Welcome to Spotlight- celebrating and sharing the work of creatives and community projects. If you want to be featured, drop us a message- we would love to hear from you!
Today, we are delighted to shine a spotlight on Newport Writers and their anthology. After getting in touch with the group I picked up a copy of ‘Newport Writers- An anthology of poetry and prose’.
Here’s the blurb
“Welcome to our first anthology.
Since the group started, it has always been Tony’s vision to put together a collection of stories and poems penned by our members.
Please proceed with caution – these short stories and poems will introduce you to the alternative side of Newport: ghostly grandparents, a displaced porpoise, a little bit of Welshness, two philosophical security guards, a child whose food plays music, the awesome side of autism, a woman who made teddy bears in a concentration camp, and much more.
Take a whirlwind tour through bereavement, love, regret and parenthood. Laugh and defy fate as you run the gamut of life’s experiences – seen through the eyes of a bunch of writers who celebrate their individuality.
You will meet a diverse group of people who enjoy what they do and want to share it with you.
We invite you to sit back with a cuppa or maybe something stronger, relax and enjoy what promises to be a whirlwind ride.”
A charming collection of poetry and prose; I really enjoyed reading something so different to my usual reads. The collection features short stories and poetry from 18 individuals, and the varied styles make it an interesting and engaging read. The collection opens with Mary Anstey’s Sounds Like Murder which gave me Carson McCullers Wunderkind vibes, moving to Rebecca Baker’s Writers Anonymous which was wonderfully witty.
There are too many pieces to go into individually, but this really is a lovely collection that explores a whole range of issues in our society; some immensely poignant, some humorous, but each piece is enjoyable in its own right.
About Newport Writers
Newport Writers was set up by Tony Lawrence in June 2017.
Since it started, Tony has always been on the lookout for ways to push the group forward. Their first experience outside the group came in 2018 when they were invited to take part in the Maindee festival’s ‘Spoken Word’ tent at Newport. All who took part immensely enjoyed the experience, which led to Tony approaching local businesses, asking them if the group could hold open mic nights at their venue.
Horton’s Coffee House in Newport agreed to this – initially agreeing to three to see how it worked. Fifteen open mic nights later, the only problem which prevented Newport Writers carrying out their monthly evening was Lockdown. Tony is adamant that when the country is back up and running, Newport Writers will once again hold their entertaining open mic nights at the same venue.
Tony has always wanted to complete an anthology of the group’s work, and Newport Writers’ anthology is a culmination of the group coming together with a product they can be proud of.
Currently, the group is not letting the pandemic stop them as they meet via the Zoom video app and continue to share their work.
Dispelling the myth that writers are always ‘very serious people darling’, I spoke to Tony about the group. As well as getting a lot of actual writing done the group are a close-knit bunch who enjoy having fun together just as much as expressing their creativity.
“At a meeting when existing members were introducing themselves round the circle to a new member, one of our number said his occupation was ‘tunesmith’. Somebody misheard and thought his name was June Smith. This prompted us to invite the fictional June Smith to join the group and write about her life. Having entertained us for a while, Ms Smith departed.
On occasion we have gone out as a group to a Mexican restaurant where the service was a bit haphazard. Spicy tacos were labelled as mild, and vice versa. Drinks and food requested didn’t arrive. The staff had no uniform so at times other diners were mistakenly asked why our order was taking so long. And for our Christmas gathering the restaurant had only one waiter present. The poor fellow was run off his feet. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifting the big question is: will we go back to the Mexican?
Our open mic nights at Horton’s Coffee House sometimes have theme nights or guest speakers. Members of other writing groups attend regularly. Apart from being entertained by the spoken word in a relaxed atmosphere, you will find comfortable sofas and yummy rainbow cake. As the speakers range considerably in height, the microphone stand is continually being adjusted. And if the next reader has disappeared into the loo or if there is a technical delay, we have been known to read aloud from Thomas the Tank Engine. Horton’s has a shelf of books to keep children occupied, but we find Thomas works for any age group.”
If you’re a budding creative looking to get in touch with a like-minded group, membership of the group is currently at 20 and new members are always welcomed to a friendly environment.
They can be contacted on:
Facebook – Newport Writers
Twitter – @Newportwriters
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you love discovering new writers, and enjoy poetry and prose you can pick up a copy of the book here:
Want to feature in one of our spotlight features,