Swanwick 2015: A Right Royal Performance

Picture courtesy of Katie Write
Last night’s guest speaker protested when she was introduced as ‘the Queen of short stories’ but we all agreed with Michael’s description. Della Galton took us through her writing journey, from part-time to full-time writer via a dramatic house-fire and a roller-coaster of highs and lows. 

She has had more than 1500 short stories published in magazines; has published novels and anthologies; is experienced in both the traditional route and self-publishing; tutors many new writers each year; and, as we learned first-hand in an emotional pronouncement from one member of the audience, has been an inspiration to people via her Ice and a Slice heroine SJ.  Her talk was both humble and humbling; frank and inspirational. A right royal performance indeed.

The Daily Interview

Today we had the traditional visit from those wonderful folks at Writing Magazine. One of the things they always do is take photos of the short story, children’s story and poetry competition winners. So I thought today would be a good time to chat to Veronica Bright, a fellow Devonian, who won the short story competition this year.

As well as short stories, Veronica writes short plays, a bit of poetry and has “had a go at a sit coms, but the BBC weren’t interested.” She has  written four and a half novels for children (unpublished so far); two non-fiction books for primary school teachers (published by Kevin Mayhew Publishers); and a novel for adults which is with her agent at the moment. She is working on her second novel.

Veronica, what brought you to Swanwick in the first place, and when was that?

“I first came to Swanwick in 2012 when I won a place by coming first in the short story for children competition. The story was called Beast City. I thought of Swanwick as a writers’ holiday camp.

What is the best thing that’s ever happened to you at Swanwick?

“I’ve picked two (of many): firstly being advised (nay, told) by Della Galton and Linda Lewis that I should be writing novels; and secondly being invited to Dennis’ party.

And what is the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at Swanwick?

When I arrived for my first time in 2012, I was given a yellow badge instead of a white one, by mistake. Not realising, I went off to the white badgers’ reception on the first evening. only to be accosted by Joyce Ward, who was Chairman that year.

“You’re not a white badger; what are you doing in here?” she asked (and you have to imagine the Scottish accent, which all Swanwickers will recognise). When I explained, she propelled me to the desk and demanded a white badge for me; after which I was free to return to the reception and meet the other newcomers!

You can find out more about Veronica from her website. Right, I’m off to hear this evening’s speaker, followed by another quiz (hoping to beat our second place on Sunday) and Buskers’ Night, where I think I might just have agreed to sing with Della at some point; so Swanwickers, beware. Oh, and just to prove that we DO work here as well as play, I finished the first draft of novel #2 this afternoon!

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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