Birmingham Writers Club

What

A writers club based in the city centre, we have informal get togethers for a coffee on regular  Saturday afternoons (at the moment) to share advice, tips and generally support each other.

Why

I waited for a year after arriving in Birmingham and no amount of searching unveiled a writers club so here we are, greeting all comers!

Who

Anyone who writes or is looking to start; whether you’re in the middle of writing a comedy film script, an avid poet, a novelist, a freelancer  or a journalist, all of you have valuable knowledge to share with the rest of us. Please do.

How

There’s a link on how to RSVP to each meeting. We only have a maximum of 12 so we can all talk and get something out of the afternoon so please reserve your place early (and let me know if you change your mind!)

When

April 2nd 2011 3pm (Church St)

April 17th 3pm (Big Peg, Jewellery Quarter)

Sat May 14th 3pm (Church St)

Sun June 12th (Big Peg, Jewellery Quarter)

Urban Coffee Co locations

Please RSVP by email or adding a comment

Members Page

Links for writers page

Links for writers

Books & the City

Festival of Writing

Women’s Fiction Festival

Nail Your Novel

Daily Science Fiction  (via Simon Stanford)

www.Duotrope.com  (via Simon Stanford)

www.YouWriteOn.com  (via Simon Stanford)

Celtx is the world’s first all-in-one media pre-production system. It replaces ‘paper & binder’ pre-production with a digital approach that’s more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share.  (via Simon Stanford)

Writers Took Kit

Powder Room Graffiti (women’s website)

Birmingham Book Festival

Fuel My Blog (review on blog)

 Bash Bosh  submit your blog to search engines (via Seeyam)

Gratitude list for 2010

Ok it’s not Gratitude for December this month mainly as I was uncharacteristically ill over Christmas and while I was in one of my top three favourite countries, Italy. Hey ho.

So let’s give some love to all of 2010 instead.

Writing

I finished my very first draft of my very first book. I have lots to do now but I have adored working on it and look forward to organising it and rewriting it, possibly into two books.

For this I’m grateful to my school English teachers, Mr Thomas and Ms French, Rosa Guy, Kimmi, my writing tutor in New York, AA Gill, India Knight, Jeremy Clarkson and lately Matt Rudd of the Sunday Times and loads of authors, brilliant ones and ones I haven’t enjoyed for inspiring me one way or another. Finally I’m grateful to Marsha Moore for her advice and encouragement.

Mostly, I’m grateful to Zoe Heller who inspired me to write articles when she was a Sunday Times columnist based in New York, way before she became a novelist.

Music

A few highlights of 2010

Birmingham Jazz Festival. I fully embraced and loved every second of it and can’t wait for this year. I think I’ll be taking a few days of during that week.

Oxjam

Brumnotes Christmas Party

The Victoria

Tom Peel. I saw twice for which I‘m grateful to Lyle Bignon for the heads up. I still owe this man a drink.

And the absolute highlight, seeing my favourite band of the last few years not once but twice, Cherry Ghost. A massive bonus was that on one of the occasions they supported the rather excellent, The Coral.

Travel

I didn’t get my three trips abroad this year just because I was so busy but this will be rectified in 2011 with at least two trips to Canada. I did get to see Scotland for the first time for a few book writing jaunts so I appreciate Bean Scene in Glasgow and Peters Yard in Edinburgh. Thanks for the coffee.Peters Yard coffee shop coffee cake Birmingham Edinburgh New York

I did make a return trip to Milan and Verona at Christmas. I was ill to start with but definitely perked up when I got to Verona, prettier than I remember it from 11 years ago.

Verona Juliet balcony Christmas tree

Books

I went to my first and only book signing, Dara O’Briain to sign one of favourite books of the year, ’Tickling the English’.

Work stuff

Grateful to Springboard for giving me lots of lovely projects to work on (and some horrid ones but makes me appreciate the lovely ones more).

On that note, I’m grateful to Kiss Me CupCakes who lent me spare car to run events across the country.

Social

I’m grateful to have the friends I have known for 5, 10, 15, 20 + years but also to MeetUp for all the new ones I have made this year with whom I’ve had so much fun, frolics and shared new experiences.

Talking of social, each year I’m more grateful for the Twitterati. You know who you are

Of course I’m grateful for Urban, for the friendliness and particularly for opening a long awaited second coffee shop 10 minutes walk in the other direction from my house.

It’s been lovely to visit some new to me restaurants this year, the gorgeous Opus from which I have developed a serious risotto addiction, the friendly and value for money Syriana and of course the luxurious Purnells for the birthday dinner. I am indeed truly blessed.

Footie

The World Cup; I love World Cup years and I’m contented with Spain winning.

Pretty in Pink (the girlie stuff)

Grateful for India Knight for introducing me to the Babyliss hot brush. I had a hot brush years ago and was not impressed and have only thrown it out a couple of years ago but on her say so, I buy this new one. It’s the ceramic coating that makes 100% difference. I don’t compare washing my hair to the nightmare of being locked in a room with Cheryl Cole and/or Robbie Williams now. In fact, I quite look forward to ‘doing my hair’.

For my hairdresser of two decades (even when I was in New York) Franco Russo in Bedford for introducing me to the wonder product that is Argan oil; sounds horrid but is a dream. Between these two introductions, no more bad hair days

Birthday

I’m truly grateful for another year on this fine planet and to celebrate by visiting another new city; Milan.

 

Birthday cards & flowers

Birthday cards & flowers

 

Today at Cafe Blend – Adventures in Birmingham

September 20th 2010

My fondness for Urban Coffee Co is very well documented. Nevertheless, particularly when I’m having a full on writing day (that is a short day with two breaks) the day is generally more productive with a change of scene so 2-3 coffee shops is ideal.

In Glasgow and Edinburgh where until now I have gone for all my full on booking writing jaunts it’s easy as each has two or three of the fabulous Bean Scenes plus a couple of other places for lunch. In Birmingham, as yet, there is only one Urban so when I’m recommended Cafe Blend by two people, I decide to go and investigate.

My first guess that this is going to pricier because it’s opposite Harvey Nicholls is correct.

Verdict

Con – View is the car park opposite and it’s on a very busy road near a very busy New Street Station

Pro – nice vibe

Con – Unsatisfactory service; I’m assuming the young lady was an untrained student but the words ‘hello’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ didn’t trouble her lips once. My planned greeting of ‘here you are, I’ve heard all about you!’ seemed inappropriate. The student never offered me any choice and I was automatically served a small coffee.

Pro – they offer NY cheesecake

Con – they don’t stock Kissme CupCakes (but hopefully will do soon)

Pro – I love the comfortable bench seating with a table by the window. It’s a huge plus to have comfort and a desk

Con – the coffee is average but I get used to it

Pro or Con – Cafe Blend is way too close to Harvey Nicks

Gratitude – August

Wow, it’s a hard month to be grateful but alas, there is always something:

  •  5 days in Glasgow for book writing & getting to 32000 word target
  • Meeting the lovely & talented Marsha Moore
  • Having a light work month so more time for writing
  • Match of the Day is back!