On Friday evening I travelled up to Chesterfield with 6 other members of Leicester Writers' Club to take part in the semi-finals of the Write-Off competition. A couple of weeks before, we had been given the theme of "The First Time" or "The Last Time" and asked to produce work that we could put together into a half hour performance of readings.
We at LWC had had a great time writing and selecting and even rehearsing. But I had one slight doubt. The point of this endeavour was (in my mind) to give us the chance to meet other writers and build bridges. Would the element of competition be too powerful and cause friction between the groups?
I should not have worried. Our opponents and hosts for the evening, the Moorside Writers, turned out to be very warm and welcoming. They also turned out to be excellent writers and performers of their work. Also present were representatives of other groups in the competition, "Writers in the Peaks" and "Runaway Writers". True, competition was in the air and everyone tried their best. But that was not at the expense of a genuine exchange of inspiration.
I would not have liked to be one of the judges, as both sets of readings were, to my ear, strong. How can you choose between a piece of good poetry and a piece of good prose? It has to come down to personal taste and how one is feeling on the night.
In the end, LWC was lucky enough to get through. Which means I will have a second round of enjoyment when we go to the final.
Here is a comment by fellow LWC member, Siobhan Logan:
Wasn't the Write-off on Friday night fun? Writers from every windswept corner of the Midlands and Peaks converging on the impossibly-named village of Windsick. Lovely to meet Moorside Writers + Writers in the Peaks etc. And a buffet too!
You can find Siobhan's brand new blog at: http://siobhanlogan.blogspot.com/