A group of writers from the Roe Valley are celebrating their recent success when several members had their work published in a book launched last month in Belfast.
Eight members of the Jane Ross Writers’ are now published in the ‘The Poets Place’ anthology, which was launched by the Community Arts Partnership.
“Groups and individuals from all over the North were invited to forward their poems for inclusion in the book,” said Chris Morrow, a member of the group. “That eight members of our group were successful was brilliant.”
The group, which meets at the Roe Valley Country Park (when classes at the local college cease for summer), includes writers from across the borough. All enjoy writing - whether it be poems, short stories, essays or memoirs.
“Others just write for the love of writing and to meet like-minded people. Some attend weekly class in the North West Regional College underthe tutelage of Liam Campbell. others prefer the more informal monthly meeting at the Ritter cafe in the Roe Valley Country Park,” said a spokesperson.
The first creative writing class was organised by Limavady College in 2002.
It was held in the kitchen at Christ Church and Anne McKay was the tutor. Within a few months the first anthology, ‘Flowing with the Roe’ by the Roe Writers was produced. Two years later ‘I’ll Take You There’ was published. In order to reflect the whole catchment area of the members, the name was changed to the Roe Valley Writers.
In 2008, the college cancelled the class because of falling numbers. Undaunted however, the group re-organised and formed the Jane Ross Writers’.
With the help of a small start-up grant from Limavady Borough Council, they met at LCDI to write, give feedback and generally encourage each other.
When funding allowed they hired Bernie McGill as facilitator.
The rest of the time they took turns to organise writing classes and visits by guest authors.
Weekly clases returned to the college in September 2010, and are held each Thursday morning from 10.30-12.30 during term time.
Throughout the 10 years of having a creative writing group in Limavady different people have come and gone, but there is still about half a dozen who have been there for the entire decade.
The Jane Ross Writers’ group facilitates a great social outlet for those unable to work because of unemployment, ill health, age or family responsibilities. Many membershave had poems, essays and short stories published in various anthologies, magazines, newspapers and broadcast on radio, including Radio Ulster’s ‘My Story’ series.
A couple of members have published their own books. Public readings and exhibitions have taken place in Limavady and Derry and taken part in the Charles Macklin Festival in Culdaff, the Festival of the Peninsulas in Newtownards, the John Hewitt Summer School in Armagh and the official opening of Limavady’s Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre.
The group welcomes any new members. For information email Chris Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org