Stornoway Writers’ Circle, a writing group that meets every Tuesday night at An Lanntair, is making plans to reprint its second anthology of members’ work.
Beyond Words, with a foreword by best-selling author Peter May, was published in late October and launched at the Faclan book festival. After only four months, almost the entire print run has been sold, although the e-book can still be obtained from Amazon.
‘Sales to date have exceeded all our expectations,’ said Hilary Sludden, chair of the writing group. ‘We’re now looking to print more copies in time for the start of the tourist season.’
Beyond Words is an anthology of short stories and poems contributed by members of the group, who worked hard in various roles to prepare it for publication. It follows on from a previous collection, Writing Our Astonishment, published in 2016. These publications, as well as the group’s other activities, have received substantial support from An Lanntair.
Stornoway Writers’ Circle was formed in January 2006 as the result of a workshop class in An Lanntair, led by Canadian writer Heather Birrell. When Heather returned to Canada, the group decided to continue with its weekly sessions.
At these sessions, members provide feedback on each other’s work and carry out various writing exercises. Recently, in response to a demand from members for more variety, a range of new activities have been introduced.
‘We try to provide a relaxed, supportive atmosphere that encourages members to develop their writing ideas and projects,’ explained Hilary Sludden. ‘We welcome new members at any time, and we are happy for them to sit in as observers for the first few sessions if they want to do so.’
Stornoway Writers’ Circle recently became a formally constituted community organisation. Among its current members are people working on poetry, short stories and novels. There have been some recent publishing successes over and above the two anthologies. However, not all members are striving to find a formal outlet for their work; some write mostly for pleasure. One project currently under discussion is to write a murder mystery that would be suitable for performance.
Although meetings are normally held every Tuesday from 7 to 9 pm in An Lanntair’s community room, cancellations or changes of venue may occur from time to time.