Crafty Writers in Manchester

Crafty WritersI’m keen to tell you about a fabulous writers’ group known as the Crafty Writers. They’re based in Manchester, and I was lucky enough to be welcomed to one of their sessions.

I can barely keep up with the number of places I’ve been too so far in my writerly roaming about the UK — Bath, Exeter, Plymouth, Manchester, London (three times so far), Penzance… Many places have been on a whim, guided at times by writing and music opportunities, and other times perhaps by childhood memories. For example, in Penzance I went to a place called Land’s End and peered out over the steep cliffs. It was like standing on the United Kingdom’s big toe and peering outwards. I’d last visited Land’s End when I was eleven.

But back to Manchester’s Crafty Writers’ Group — one of my special writing opportunities.  It was my mother, would you believe (she is also a writer), who put me on to the group. She’d read one of the group member’s (Jayne Fallows) short stories in the UK writers’ mag Writers’ Forum. It was a terrific short story called The Worst Party Ever. Beneath the story, Writer’s Forum mentioned Jayne’s involvement in the Crafty Writers. Happily they have a website (see link below) and I was easily able to contact them. 

Home of the Craft Writers.

Home of the Crafty Writers.

I made it to the group the same day I exited from the writers’ retreat in Shropshire — going to the group straight from the train and pulling my wheelie luggage behind me. It did feel a bit of a whirlwind.

The group is making a shift from workshopping about the craft of writing to critiquing each other’s work. On the Saturday afternoon I was there, everybody was trying their hand at something different. And all the writing was very accomplished. I listened to everything from historical fiction to poetic prose to the structuring of a book on writing craft (this latter is the project of the groups’ convenor, Lorrie Porter).

Some crafty writers in action.

Some crafty writers in action.


I had the fortune to test-run the changes to the opening paragraphs of my own manuscript and received immediate feedback from everyone — which has allowed me to refine the opening words to Beneath the Surface (perhaps the most important words of any book). 
On the day, I also pulled out my camera and was rapt at their preparedness for a few photos, as you can see.

You can find out more about the Manchester Crafty Writers Group on their website here.

And here are a few more photos of marvellous Manchester (or ‘awesome Manchester’, as one nephew calls it)…

Chetham's Library - the oldest public library in UK.

Chetham’s Library, the oldest public library in UK.

The library dates from 1653. Here’s a corridor you see as you first enter, where the monks lived (the librarians, I guess). I needed to be escorted in, but was then free to roam.

Lib 1

An aisle of the library.

An aisle of the library.

All change. A different kind of library — inside a Manchester record store. Manchester, of course, has given the world many great bands.

RecordsThe BBC’s headquarters are now located in Manchester…

BBC

And here’s one I had to share with you, a famous Smiths location…

Salford

Finally, I leave you with a quote I saw in Manchester’s football museum that I believe equally applies to writing as football…

Soccer qte

6 thoughts on “Crafty Writers in Manchester

  1. Wow! It looks like you had a great time. The writer and traveller in me are simultaneously jealous, I must admit! Beautiful photos. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  2. Hi Steven – really thrilled to read your blog. Sounds like you are having a great experience.
    Hope your cold is better now.
    What have you been writing?
    cheers
    Jayashri

    • Thank you! I’ve come to think of this journey I’m on as finding a missing piece of me. My health is still a little bit up and down, but I’m not letting it get in the way. Still so much to do…

  3. Hi Steven, I hope you are now fully recovered from your chest infection. The Crafty Writers were thrilled that you were able to join our meeting in Manchester in June. Thanks for all your useful comments on our work too and for the gift of your book ‘Elemental’ which we are taking turns to read. Jayne xx

    • What fantastic words, thank you! My health continues to be a bit up and down at times, which is annoying. Up today, though, which is good. I hope you enjoy EleMental. All I can say is, it’s a different kind of book – but I loved writing it. My time with the Crafty Writers has been a special highlight of the journey I’m on. I’m so glad you included me. Thank you to you all again. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *