The Folkestone Anthology
We have so far produced eight issues of The Folkestone Anthology containing collections of short stories and poetry by our members and the winners and some shortlisted stories by authors entering the short story competition. We run this in conjunction with the Folkestone Book Festival, which takes place in November each year. The 2019 Anthology contains 21 pieces by 19 authors including winners of the 2018 competition (Price £7.99). We have so far published 160 stories by 78 authors for several of whom it has been their first time in print.
We still have some copies of earlier issues at £5. (Contact 01303 242990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, cheques payable to Folkestone Writers.
The cover design incorporates images symbolic of Folkestone.
The Preface to our Folkestone 2015 Anthology together with a reproduction of the front cover was published in WRITING MAGAZINE (June 2016 page 58) See below:
In 2006 and 2007 I organised a Local Authors’ Day and Book Fair to take place as part of the Folkestone Literary Festival (since renamed Book Festival) at the Metropole Arts Centre (2006) and the Leas Club (2007). On both occasions, twenty authors from all over Kent came to display their wares. Twelve of them gave ten-minute talks, in two separate one-hour sessions, about their work. Unfortunately and presumably because of a clash with other events – or it could have been due to lack of publicity − attendance was poor and book sales were minimal. The audiences for the ten-minute presentations consisted mainly of the other authors, and we ended up buying and/or exchanging one another’s books. It was agreed not to repeat the exercise in 2008.
I still wanted to do something for local authors and thought it might be possible to resuscitate the Folkestone Literary Society, which was born during the time (1947-50) when there was an Emergency Training College in Coolinge Lane (my father was the Principal). The supply of students keen on literature dried up after the closure of the Training College, but the Literary Society lingered on during the Fifties, when I was an undergraduate. I know this because I was asked to fill in for a speaker who had to cancel at the last minute due to some disaster the nature of which I cannot remember. All I felt competent to talk about at short notice was ‘Modern French Poetry’! I don’t know when the FLS finally gave up the ghost.
In 2009 I organised a well-attended meeting, which was kindly hosted by Michael Stainer at The Grand, to see whether we could raise support for some kind of literary society. A questionnaire had been issued and the majority were in favour of a Writers Group as opposed to meetings being held with visiting speakers or other literary activities. So Folkestone Writers was formed, and meetings were held, mostly in members’ homes, and mostly in the evenings.
At the early meetings, members read out short stories or extracts from work in progress, and these were discussed by those present. An improvement was to ask contributors to provide hard copy so that we could at least judge the written language rather than be influenced by the authors’ variable performance as speakers.
Even so, this format did not suit authors of longer works or of non-fiction, and it did not suit the mix of established authors who understood the nuts and bolts of writing and unpublished beginners who didn’t. The latter were advised to attend ‘creative writing’ courses, workshops and seminars with tutors who knew what they were talking about, and of which there were plenty.
Our evening meetings have evolved into social occasions with a pre-advised literary or linguistic theme which one or more members might present for discussion. The discussion may well diverge from the original subject to embrace other subjects and events, both local and national, in the ‘arts and books’ field.
In 2010 we published our first Folkestone Anthology which attracted back into the fold a number of experienced writers, who were not interested in or were unable to get to evening meetings. High standards are maintained and the stories and other pieces are intended to appeal to an intelligent adult readership. The second anthology was published in 2013, the third in 2014, and we are now producing our eighth.
In 2012 we took over the annual Short Story competition from Friends of the Folkestone Book Festival and this has attracted numerous excellent writers from all over Kent and further afield.
In 2012 also, Alexander Tulloch started to host ‘literary luncheons’ at the Tavernetta Restaurant. There is now a considerable overlap between Alex’s mailing list and the Folkestone Writers’ mailing list.
So, we are now doing most of the things we said we might do on that original questionnaire … apart from critique sessions! (John Sussams)
For advice and guidance for contributors, click here.