SAW Success Night 23rd March 2016


Is it presumptuous, or over confident to plan such a night before the Scottish Association of Writers’ competitions have even been entered? Certainly not when it is Ayr Writers’ Club. Over the past ten years or so the awards and commendations received by this superb club have increased to such an extent that other clubs are keen to know our formula. Members lucky enough to attend this week’s club were treated to a small selection of the many recommended pieces.
Nigel welcomed everyone, warning us to expect drug tests, such was the level of our success!
Everyone enjoys a good story and there was a great selection on Wednesday when the writers held us spell bound with their tales.
Barbara’s entry in the Women’s short story won the Scholarship entitling her to attend the annual Scottish Association of Writers’ Conference weekend for free. The Scholarship winning entry was a feel good whimsical story with a twist in the tail; a delightful cameo of things not always as they appear.
In the General short story Alison’s tender, poignant and atmospheric entry touched the heart while James took us to France with retirees who chose to move there. Both stories were written in remarkable prose and with great skill.
We cover all genres in Ayr Writers and poetry is a very popular genre and many of the members are skilled in this art. Fiona A succeeded in two of the poetry competitions. Her prizewinning entry on ‘Land’ pondered the casual way in which we treat our country. Topical and thought provoking and perhaps a hymn for the Green party! On a lighter note she read her winning piece from the Poetry wall where attendees at the conference vote on their favourite. It was a bit of fun on ‘poems do not need to rhyme’.
And fun there was, especially when Linda and Jennifer read out their humorous articles. Linda reflected on her son’s role organising his school Prom, the costs, the work, (regardless of looming exams). Forget debutantes – Proms are THE events nowadays.
Jennifer told us of the joys and tribulations of being a Tupperware ‘dealer’ before becoming merely a ‘user’! Remember Tupperware? Those of us of a certain age were nodding as the memories of all these parties came rushing back. The volume of laughter was testament to how entertaining the audience found these tales. It is said ‘write about what you know’ and there are no better examples than these two hilarious pieces.
Carolyn discovered a scrap book of her Great Grandfather’s cuttings from when he was editor of the Ayrshire post in the late nineteenth century; she has collated many of his articles towards a social history of Ayr. Listening to his editorials (written under a pseudonym) berating the council for the state of the roads and similar rants made us wonder if nothing really changes.
AWC has cornered the SAW Book Review competition over the past few years. Nigel and Catherine won awards with their contrasting choice of books. Nigel used his love of maps by selecting ‘Mapping the City of Glasgow’ a terrific book to dip into while Catherine chose McIlvanney’s ‘Laidlaw’, a fitting tribute to the late lamented Kilmarnock writer. Contrasting books but both linked with the west of Scotland.
Humour and drama combined in Helena’s sketch ‘Green Finger’, a very amusing piece combining the joys of gardening with science fiction performed with acting of Oscar standard.
We must not forget children’s writing in which this club excels. Maggie read from her novel for children. How nice to hear a traditional children’s book with that elusive ‘feel good’ ingredient that would be a joy both to read and have read aloud.
Variety is the spice of life and we sure had that on Wednesday night. We left the hotel wanting to hear even more of the successful entries but sadly time was against us. What a privilege it was to hear this small sample of what the club achieved at the conference. The entries were, without exception of a very high standard, an essential when you are competing against writers from all over Scotland, from Wick in the north to the Borders in the south.
Ayr Writers’ Club has much to be proud of as it continues to welcome new members and encourage creative writing. Would these writers who received recognition have achieved success without the club? We will never know. Everyone has to start somewhere and I am certain that all members, prizewinners or not, appreciate the continuing support and encouragement they receive on a Wednesday night.

Sheila A. Grant

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