It’s a great privilege to be a member of the Lancashire Authors' Association and I’m also very proud to be a committee member.
At our latest members’ meeting we were pleased to welcome Angela Danby, journalist and professional speaker. Angela told us a little about her background. She turned to speaking so that she could fit a working life with bringing up young children. Naturally Covid caused a hiatus. She has worked at Edge Hill University lecturing in print journalism. However, when she was offered the job of managing the department she felt that this was too much work to combine with a young family. She enjoyed lecturing but she’s not so sure whether her students enjoyed her lectures; her first one was a two hour session on the use of the apostrophe.
Angela told us many stories of her life as crime correspondent for the Southport Visiter. Note the spelling - this is the old English version of the word. One April Fool’s day the editor said he was going to change it to “visitor”. He didn’t of course. The paper lived up to the name. It was full of information about and for the people who visited Southport.
She brought along a copy of the first edition which came out on 4 May 1844. Adverts were fascinating and give a flavour of the times. Angela also showed us an example of the paper form 1972. By this time it had become a broadsheet. Rolls of papers, each six miles long, had to be delivered to the paper’s buildings.
Angela shared lots of the old stories and adverts with us. We were fascinated by the details of the Victoria Baths – sea and fresh water available. Turkish and Russian baths could be enjoyed. This was a very elegant facility.
Particularly interesting were the “hatches, matches and dispatches’ announcements. One birth announcement was for the 22nd child. There are other rich stories here for us. And they are told here in a richer language than we use today.
There were some really sad stories but also some very funny ones.
After her talk, Angela took questions. She told us of her most effective interview – with Roy Castle as he launched his new charity and of a near miss when she declined an interview with Spice Girls; she hadn’t thought much of their singing.
After Angela’s talk Olive Riley announced the competition winners.
This is any free verse poem in Standard English, not exceeding 100 lines. This was adjudicated by Davit Lythgoe
1. On the Verdant Banks of the Ribble by Peter Foster
2. Chromosomes by Frank Gibson
3. Remnants of War by Frank Gibson
This is for any poem in rhyming verse in Standard English not exceeding 100 lines. Again David Lythgoe adjudicated.
1. Fleetwood by Frank Gibson
2. The River Ribble by Frank Gibson
3. Are We Free? by Peter Jones
The Brown Cup
This is for any piece of prose in Standard English, not exceeding 1000 words. The adjudicator was Sheila Clift .
1. Redwing by Sarah Robbin
2. Friends in Life and Death by Olive Riley
3. Resilient Breed by James Lancaster
William Baron Cup
This is for flash fiction in Standard English not exceeding 500 words. The adjudicator was Angela Danby.
1. The Pier by Sarah Robin
2. The Woodland Adventure by Sarah Robin
3. The Steam locomotive by Sarah Robin
Note; judging is anonymous.
The Mercer Cup
This is for any piece of prose in Standard English not exceeding 1500 words. The adjudicator was Cynthia Kitchin
1. The Voices in My father’s Study by Sarah Robin
2. Seal of Approval by Sally Williams-James
3. Shopoholic by Dee Parkin
During the comfort break a debate ensued about the celebration of Lancashire dialect.
After the break we were entertained by members reading their own work:
2 Carol Talbot
3 Peter Jones
4 Olive Riley
5 David Lythgoe
6 Sally Williams
If you would like to hear them and more of Angela’s talk, and find out hwo was hilgy commended in the competitions, do watch our video of the meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47FT6NK2Q9w&t=22s
The whole meeting was conducted om Zoom. This is a habit we grew into during the pandemic. But Zoom is useful to us in other ways; Lancashire is a big county and many members appreciate not having to make a long journey to attend a meeting especially in the winter months.
The Lancashire Authors Association is encountering some exciting times at the moment. Our collection, one of the biggest collections of regional literature in the country, is now housed at the University of Bolton. We are currently working on a heritage Lottery finding bid to help make our work more visible.
New members are always welcome. You don’t have to be an author but needless to say every and any author that has a relationship with Lancashire and anyone who is interested in our work for any reason is very welcome. Find out more about us here.