Published On: Wed, Feb 13th, 2013

Love Words


By Debi Drysdale


Love words, but hate cliched valentines?

Then why not get yourself down to the Gallery of Modern Art this Feb 14th, between 2 and– 6:30pm. The Federation of Writers Scotland (FWS) will be there, hosting an open mic event, with the theme of ‘love’ at its core.

There are many literary groups in Glasgow and the surrounding areas, but The FWS is an organisation that can put you in touch with smaller groups in your area. It acts as a reference point for local writing groups, as well as having its own regular meetings and events.

They welcome writers of all abilities and aim to bring people together to share and critique prose, poetry and drama and to make the written and spoken word available to the Scottish public. It is a place that encourages individualism and development.

Marc Sherland, Ambassador and founding member, knows all too well the challenges that new writers face.

“Writing in isolation often causes a writer to learn bad writing habits and not to learn what works in the market today. A good writing group challenges its members to push the boundaries of their writing.”

He knows the difference a group discussion can make.

“I had slaved over a story and was given the opportunity to read it to the other members.

“At the end of the piece, comments were invited by the facilitator and there was a long pause, finally broken by the voice of an elderly member saying, ‘It was boring.’”

After some constructive criticism from his fellow writers, Marc went away and worked on his piece, which resulted in him delivering a story that was immediately taken up by the magazine Cutting Teeth and published.

Another of the group’s earliest members and now published author, Etta Dunn, explained how the group influenced her writing.

“Sometimes a suggested theme gets one’s brain working along avenues that it would not otherwise go.

“My first short story came from one such theme; hitherto I had only written poetry, then there came a theme that I couldn’t think of a poem for and a short story popped into my mind that wouldn’t go away until it was written”.

As well as offering an environment to share and discuss writing, the organisation gives members the chance to be published, through its publishing arm New Voice Press, releasing an anthology of member’s work, to showcase talent and promote publishing in Scotland.

They also hold regular literary events giving writers the opportunity to read their work aloud and for outsiders to take to the stage. An Alternative Burns Night was their most recent gathering and featured a serenading jazz singer, a performance poet responding as the wounded haggis and some key performances from true Burn’s enthusiasts.

To sample similar literary treats drop by GOMA this valentine.


Image : Teemu Haila