Friday, January 24, 2014

FOCUS ON: London and South East Chapter

This month, as part of a new series, we chat with Jean Fullerton about the London and South East Chapter of the RNA.

Welcome Jean, how long has your chapter been running?
Over 15 years. It was going strong when I joined the RNA in 2003. We used to meet six time per year but after a consultation with the members we’ve added in an extra two meetings this year. 
Where is your regular meeting place?
We meet in central London at the Lamb public house in Lamb Conduit Street, Holborn.

How many members attend your meetings?
It varies of course, depending on the time of year and the speaker. I think she smallest number we had last year was a dozen but it’s often 25 plus.

Do your meetings include a meal?
We gather for lunch from 12.30pm in the pub then go up to the function room at 1.45pm. The meeting runs until 3pm but many of us linger over tea downstairs a lot longer.

Is your chapter open to non-members of the RNA?
It is and we have some very active non-RNA members but it is by invitation. 

Can you give an outline of speakers/guests you’ve had in the past year?
Last year our meetings had the theme Writers’ Doing it for Themselves, which looked at the whole area of independent publishing. We had jay Dixon talking about how editors can support Indie-published authors, and illustrated talk by cover designer Jane Dixon Smith showing the do’s and donts of cover design. Val Holmes who has developed a cottage industry as both an Indie published author and a writing tutor as well as Janet Gover giving us the low-down on how to deal their the media and Jane Bidder who talked about the perils and pitfalls of being a writer in residence at a high security prison.
What do you have planned for 2014?
Again we have a theme which this year is ‘Honing Your Writing Skills’ so we will be looking at the craft of writing. We have Jenny Barden focusing on dialogue, Rachel Summerson will be helping us polish our grammar, I will be looking at the hardy perennial ‘Show Don’t Tell,’ Janet Gover will be helping us sort out the images for our websites and Amanda Granger, Pia Fenton, Liesel Schwartz and Alison Morton will talk us through various romantic sub-genres. In addition, thanks to the generosity of the RNA committee, we will be having a workshop day in Feb with Julie Cohen talking on story structure, my agent Laura Longrigg and my editor Laura Gerrand in the hot seat for a Q&A session, Melanie Hilton, the NWS co-ordinator will discuss the most commonly made mistakes in submissions followed by an open forum.

What would you say makes your Chapter of the RNA so special?
The lovely supportive writers and friends who come and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the London & SE Chapter. We’re lucky too in that all trains lead to London so it’s easy for people from all over the South East to get to us.

Does your chapter have a website, Facebook page or Twitter account?
We have a Facebook page but the rest of our communications are by email

Who is the contact for new members?
Juliet Archer is the contact: We are always happy to welcome new members.

Thank you, Jean.

Complied by Elaine and brought to you by the blogging team of Elaine Everest, Natalie Kleinman and Liv Thomas.
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Natalie Kleinman said...

The Chapter meetings are a lovely place to be, not just for a privileged insight into other writers' experiences but also for the warmth and welcome of its participants. I always feel I am among friends and my thanks go to you and to Juliet for all the work you do to make it happen. Of course the opportunity for a pub lunch doesn't go amiss either.


Anonymous said...

Elaine Roberts said...

I can only echo Natalie's words, it's good to have somewhere to go where writing, and everything to do with it, is the focus of attention. Jean you and the other members have made it a very welcoming place to be. Thank you.

Jean Fullerton said...

Thank you for your kind words Natalie and Elaine.