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Mike Wilson Interview

Posted on 22 January 2004. © Copyright 2004-2018 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Mike Wilson of the National Association of Writers Groups

Tell us something about your background.

I've been involved with NAWG since April 1966. I have a copy of Link magazine in which I have two haiku printed on the front page. Shortly after that I volunteered to proof read and typeset it as that was my daytime job. I did that for several years until I took over as editor. Shortly after that I was voted onto the management committee and have served ever since, now being the Chairman of NAWG. I would never have thought I had it in me to do the job. I have self-published three books about Bridlington, all paid for out of my own pocket. None of them owe me anything, and even now I look at them and am still pleased with the results. I have had a lot of local history pieces published in Yorkshire magazines. The one thing I haven't won anything in is in the field of poetry, although I was runner-up in the children's poetry category in NAWG's competition for 2002. I won the best ten-minute one-act play in 2000, depicting what went on at the millennium meeting of the British Confederation of Fallen Angels. I enjoyed writing that! With Diane I've also written and performed in four pantomimes at a local restaurant, and also created four murder mystery evenings there. They were fun! We have written a dramatic piece and poetry for our performance in the local Harbour Museum, where we entertain visiting schoolchildren. Once again we are acting out the drama of seafarers' lives in Bridlington. I remember having a short poem published in the school magazine when I was twelve, but I bet my mother did most of it! It wasn't until much later that I tried again. I took part in the town play mentioned above and discovered the story of Kit Brown, the lifeboat hero. After learning what I could, I wrote it down as an article and sold it to Yorkshire Ridings for 70! However, it must be said that I should know how to write articles. As a typesetter in newspapers and magazines for over 40 years I've handled reams of the stuff.

What are the aims of the National Association of Writers Groups?

The intention from the outset has been to offer help and guidance to writers who are members of affiliated writing groups. Some years ago we decided to offer the same help to those unable to join groups, either through disability or geography, and they can become associate members. Since the very early days we have organised an annual Festival of Writing in St Aidan's College in Durham University and offered creative writing competitions each year. The winners are declared at the Festival of Writing's Gala Dinner. Link magazine is available to groups and associates. These are the three main areas in which we try to help writers, and lately we have published "Running good writing groups," a folder of material offering guidance for those who run writing groups.

Do you run your own group?

My wife Diane and I are Free Spirit Writers and operate as a group. We are members of NAWG and pay our regular dues even though we are its Chairman and Secretary. Diane and I have are keen to perform our work, and we will shortly present a Victorian Evening in which we portray a Victorian lifeboat hero and his wife. I relate his heroism during a lifeboat disaster in Bridlington. We both found a great interest in these stories following the Bridlington Town Play in 1995, "Come Hell or High Water." It was a wonderful experience; it changed our lives forever. About this time I remember falling out with a member of a larger writing group we had joined, with the result that I was invited to leave. I was deemed to be "a disturbing influence." (After some years, I felt that should be interpreted as a great compliment. All writers should become disturbing influences. I understand that the standard of English is deteriorating fast, so it's up to writers who have the ability to write it correctly to do so at all times about all subjects. And I bought Eats, Shoots and Leaves and agree with everything in it!) It was after this incident that Diane and I became Free Spirit Writers, and sometime after that husband and wife! One great advantage is that we help each other immensely with whatever we are writing.



A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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Comments by other Members



Dee at 19:00 on 22 January 2004  Report this post
Intersting interview. Our local group, Airedale Writers Circle in Keighley, West Yorkshire, is a member of NAWG and, on the strength of that, I entered my novel in one of their competitions last year and came second.

On a more general level, NAWG are great at helping new groups to get established and keep going. All power to them.

Dee.


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