Welcome to my blog

Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Circus Stars summer reading challenge

Circus Stars is the summer reading challenge held at many libraries throughout the UK.  Aimed at children of 4-12 yrs it's a fun way to encourage reading over the summer hols.  Everyone who takes part is challenged to read up to 6 books (more if they wish) - they talk about the books they've read and get stickers, rewards and quiz sheets, so it's lots of fun.

The indoor writer is volunteering over the summer at Steyning library (West Sussex) and getting to meet lots of young book lovers.  She says: "Spending several hours surrounded by books, talking books with kids who love books - it doesn't get much better than this!"

So if you have children between 4-12 years then check out your local library (many are running the challenge) and encourage them to become CIRCUS STARS!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Writing Magazine competitions

Writing Magazine and its companion Writers' News (for subscribers only) host MONTHLY prose and poetry competitions .  Prizes for Writing Magazine short stories are £200/£50 for £4 entry (£3 if subscriber) - there is always a new theme and usual target length is 1500-1700 words.  Prizes for poetry are £100/£50. Writers' News competitions are FREE to subscribers with prize money of £100/£25 for short stories & poetry - so a good return on subscription fee.  Entering one of these a month gets you into the habit of writing to a word count on a theme and to a deadline - so excellent writing practice.

The indoor writer has been entering these short story competitions for over a year now.  To date two stories have been shortlisted to final judging stage but yesterday she was emailed with some excellent news ... Her Adult Fairy Story (May issue themed competition) has won FIRST prize!  The winning story will be printed in Writing Magazine NOVEMBER Issue (comes out OCT 2011) - so do look out for it.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Elisabeth's Journey by Renate Shave

Self-publishing is an impressive feat for any writer and one that Renate Shave (2nd photo below on left) bravely undertook to ensure her mother's story was recorded for posterity.  I met this lovely lady at the West Sussex Writers Club monthly gathering where she shared this writing achievement with me.

'Elisabeth's Journey' recounts the true-life experience of Renate's mother who had to leave her home as the Russian army advanced through Germany towards the end of WW2.  Elisabeth escaped with her two children Friedrich and Anja (the fictional name Renate gave herself). Renate was too young to recall much of this adventure but was able to learn details from her brother Kurt (Friedrich in the book) and her father's diary.

Below (3rd on left) is a photo of Renate and her brother taken shortly before they set off on Elisabeth's journey.

Even more incredible was Renate's desire to donate all the proceeds from sales to St. Barnabas Hospice.

Renate talks more about 'Elisabeth's Journey':
Q.  Why did you want to write this book?
The main inspiration for writing this book came from my adult students - learners of German. I gave them my mother's account on our escape from our homeland which she had written for her grandchildren, as a study text.  The students found this fascinating, as they had no idea that there.were refugees in Germany during WW 2.  They strongly encouraged me to write a book about this so that more English people may learn that there was another side to Nazi Germany, where a war weary, beaten populace struggled to maintain ordinary, decent lives.
Q.  What were some of the challenges with self-publishing?

A major difficulty was to get the cover design right. As I was not satisfied with the suggestion from the Better Book Company, I approached a professional book illustrator who after several attempts eventually came up with the final solution. This, of course, added substantially to the cost.
Q.  You were featured in a local paper - have you used other methods to promote the book?
My involvement in various groups - line dancing, walking, adult language classes, church - as well as wide family connections helped to promote the book and took it to various European countries, to USA, Canada,and Australia.  Even my local news agent sold almost 40 copies for me!
During a recent trip to Switzerland I visited an 'English Circle' for adult learners, where the book is being used as a reader by 19 students. A number of talks I gave to local groups and societies also helped to promote the book.

Q.  How many books have you now sold?
To date I have sold over 600 copies, raising close to £ 4,000-00 for St. Barnabas Hospice, Worthing.

'Elisabeth's Journey' is a lovely easy read, the narrative is fluid and gentle.  I enjoyed learning more about life on the 'other side' in war-torn Germany, and was moved by the accounts of how some beautiful towns were devastated losing many of their medieval landmarks.

If you would like to buy a copy of Renate's book - and remember ALL proceeds go to charity - then please contact her: renateshave@aol.com
or you can buy it online from Amazon