GWG Blog

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  • 18 Jan 2016 11:47 | Deleted user

    It would be fair to say that we are a lucky bunch of writers at the Geneva Writers' Group. We get more than our fair share of outstanding writers coming to our biennial conference or for individual workshops and master classes throughout the year. In the four years I have been in Geneva, I have had the pleasure of personally benefiting from the writing inspiration and advice of Naomi Shihab Nye, Bret Lott, Dinty Moore, Tanarive Due, Brenda Shaugnessy, Michèle Roberts, Aracelis Girmay, Tessa Hadley and so many others. We might be forgiven for occasionally getting a little blasé about our good fortune, taking it for granted and forgetting just what an outstanding opportunity it is to interact with such talented authors.

    However, on the 16th of January, on our first workshop of the year 2016, we forgot all our cynicism and were wowed by the art of Anthony Anaxagorou, a young poet and performer (and educator and publisher and playwright, I could go on and on) from London. We don't often give standing ovations, but we did give one to him!

    Anthony also opened our eyes to the possibilities of the spoken word, especially for those of us who had previously dismissed it as rapping, hip-hop or even just 'ranting'. He debunked the myth of strict dichotomy between elitist 'page poetry' in its ivory tower and populist 'performance poetry' with a limited vocabulary. After all, Shakespeare remains one of our most revered and cerebral poets, yet his purpose was to entertain and to be performed.

    With his gentle encouragement and imaginative writing exercises, by the end of the day we managed to get a record 16 people to sign up to perform in the Poetry Slam. Congratulations to all the brave participants, who were by turns poignant, moving, amazing and hilarious! And a big thank you to Anthony, who has opened our minds to a very different poetic approach. I am sure many of us will now be challenging ourselves to attempt the 'spoken word' more frequently. Or, at the very least, rethink the way we do our poetry readings.

  • 04 Jan 2016 16:47 | Deleted user

    Have you ever wondered what the difference is between performance poetry and simply reciting a favourite printed poem? Puzzled by what 'slamming' and 'poetry' might have in common? Eager to challenge yourself and try out a new form of poetry? Then our upcoming workshop is for you...

    The Geneva Writers’ Group is delighted to present a one-day workshop of spoken word poetry with

    Anthony Anaxagorou

    Saturday 16 January 2016 10:00-16:30

    Geneva Press Club, Route de Ferney 106, Geneva

    Find out what performance poetry is all about with one of its most outspoken and passionate advocates!

    Anthony Anaxagorou is an award winning poet, prose writer, playwright, performer and educator. He has published eight volumes of poetry, a spoken word EP, a book of short stories and has written for theatre.

    His poetry has appeared on various BBC programs over the past decade, while also featuring at the British Urban Film Awards and BBC 6 Music. In 2013 his poem Dialectics was interpreted and performed by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.

    The workshop will be followed by an Open Mic Poetry Slam at 17:00. For more info and to register, email:

    Full day: 35 CHF (25 for AVS/students); morning: 25 CHF (15 for AVS/students).  Evening session is free.

    For the Poetry Slam we ask that you prepare to recite one of your poems, one that is most suitable for public performance. It can be done as a solo act or with multiple performers.

  • 14 Dec 2015 12:21 | Deleted user

     Some of us may be feeling stressed in the run-up to Christmas, but the last workshop of 2015, followed by the Holiday Party, were a welcome antidote to the mad scramble of consumerism.

    Susan Tiberghien led the morning session, with a powerful discussion of dreams as gateways to the unconscious and creative mind. Giving examples from nearly 5000 years of recorded history, travelling through Sumeria, China, India, Greece and the Bible, Susan then introduced us to Carl Gustav Jung's work on dreaming as an access point to a deeper level of unconscious thought. She invited those of us who can never remember our dreams upon waking to make a habit of jotting down at least some fragments because 'paying attention to our dreams will improve recall'. Giving personal examples, she taught us how to dialogue with our dreams and find out just what they are telling us about ourselves.

    Even the more skeptical amongst us were astonished by the flashes of insight and increased self-awareness we were able to gain through this method. I certainly intend to add henceforth a dream journal to my diary and delve a little deeper beneath the apparently mundane surface of my dreams.

    At midday Anne Korkeakivi gave a reading from her second novel Shining Sea (due to be published in August 2016 by Little, Brown). She also told us about the many, many drafts this novel went through, and how she bravely threw away more than 50% of it and started afresh, so that she could be true to her original vision for the book. A lively, motivational talk, which reminded us that writing is far more about hard graft than inspiration.

    The Christmas party followed the afternoon critiquing session. Alan Harmer was the Master of Ceremonies, organizing a literary quiz which had us clutching our heads in dismay (and vowing to do more reading in the New Year!). We had music provided by Bashir Sakhawarz on the accordion and Ginny Rogers on drums, as well as a Christmas carol sing-along personalized for the GWG! Huge thanks to Kathy Bijleveld and Suzanne Bruning for the marvelous drinks and buffet they prepared for us. Last but not least, thank you to Patti Marxsen for the pictures.

    Thank you to everyone for a wonderful 2015 and here's to lots more inspiration, writing, companionship and success in 2016!

  • 22 Nov 2015 10:59 | Deleted user

    ‘The line is the most basic and yet also the most mysterious aspect of writing poetry,’ says British poet Jamie McKendrick and many of us braved the rain and sleet on Saturday 21st November to learn more. Jamie was the ideal instructor for our international group, for not only has he won pretty much all of the major poetry prizes in the UK, he has also translated extensively from the Italian and has taught in London, Oxford, Gothenburg, Brno and Salerno.

    Throughout it all, he has retained his modesty, wit and personal warmth, which makes him such an engaging and supportive workshop leader. Clearly erudite, he provided us with plenty of illustrations and quotes from sources as varied as Miroslav Holub, Giorgio Agamben, Thomas Wyatt, Rilke and Ungaretti, yet you never felt that he had all the answers. Jamie was always happy to listen, try out new interpretations, question himself and us. We discussed enjambement, form and free verse and fashions in poetry, the relationship between music and poetry, and how the only rules that matter are what works best for each poem. We decided upon line breaks in a poem which had been transcribed as a prose fragment, we translated the work of a Serbian poet, and we learnt to think through colour. I’ll leave you with a beautiful quote: ‘The best poetry always has a mystery at its centre; it withholds something, which makes you want to go back to it later.’

    After the workshop, we had a reception and a series of readings from Offshoots 13. Many thanks to our editor Caroline Thonger for organising yet another cracking and varied evening of readings. We travelled all around the world, from India to Scotland, from Mount Kilimanjaro to Vietnam, from Geneva to Tunisia, all rounded off with a liberal sprinkling of Afghan-flavoured sushi. Thank you to all of last night’s readers: Pamela Baillie, Jennifer Clark, Rosalind Yarde (in absentio), Bashir Sakhawarz, Lang-Hoan Pham, Jane Cottingham, Bill Jones and Corinna Sarronwala.

  • 06 Nov 2015 11:57 | Deleted user

    On the 5th of November, Matthew Wake welcomed the Geneva Writers' Group in his popular English-language bookshop BooksBooksBooks in the heart of Lausanne. There were drinks and nibbles (courtesy of Adrienne Hahne, Caroline and Matt), a friendly atmosphere and delightful literary conversations, all in a book-lined decor.

    For Bonfire Night, Offshoots 13 editor-in-chief Caroline Thonger, ably assisted by poetry editor Adrienne Hahn and fiction editor Jenny Bew Orr, selected a series of fun and provocative readings. 

    The small but perfectly-formed audience heard flash non-fiction by Rayya Liebich (read by Caroline), short stories by Bill Lloyd and Alan McCluskey, dark flash fiction by Jason Donald, a touching memoir by Valerie Harrison, a poem by Patti Marxsen (read by Adrienne), a short story with a twist by Santwana Kar, excerpts of creative non-fiction by Marina Sofia and Sylvia Petter's short story (read by Caroline).

    Big thanks to the host and organisers, contributors and of course the supportive audience without whom this could not have taken place!

    You can find more pictures of the event on our Facebook page.

  • 23 Jul 2015 19:36 | Deleted user

    You'll have noticed that in addition to our website, the Geneva Writers' Group is trying to find other ways to stay in touch with you, either in person or online.

    Please come along to our monthly workshops, which are always instructive and good fun, as well as a great opportunity to meet like-minded, writing-obsessed people. Who also happen to have many other interests...

    We have a monthly newsletter with member news and competitions or submission opportunities, which you will receive vie email automatically with your membership. Time-sensitive items will be featured increasingly on Facebook and Twitter, so that you can submit your work in plenty of time. We also strongly encourage you to share your writing successes with us via the Members' News page on the website, or else Facebook and Twitter as soon as they happen!

    You can also find us on Facebook.

    And we aim to provide regular Twitter updates about publishers, agents, literary prizes and other writing-related news, as well as boast about our members' successes. 

    Finally, we also want to start a regular weekly blog with facts about writing, book reviews, advice for writing competitions, Q&A with some of our members about their recent publications, or... or... 

    A blog can be many, many things. And we want to make sure that we are not duplicating information you can already find elsewhere on our website. So we need your help and your opinions. Please tell us in the comments below what you would like to see on this blog. And please feel free to keep feeding us your suggestions, as we want to see the blog constantly revitalized and kept relevant to your needs and interests.

    Thank you!

  • 10 Jul 2015 20:41 | Deleted user

    If you were subscribed to my newsletter,  you would already know that I've signed with Booktrope Publishing. A traditional publishing house with an innovative approach to shorten the time it takes to bring a manuscript to the publishing stage.

    The whole Daimones trilogy will receive new covers, new editing and proofreading, some rewrite and some culling, all while waiting for me to finish my fourth novel, "The Law," a YA Urban SF.

    If not, now you know.

    Daimones, Book 1, will be available on stores and bookstores starting from August the 1st.

    It is also now available at NetGalley, the connection point for book publishers, reviewers, media, librarians, booksellers, bloggers, journalists, and educators producing professional reviews for major publishing houses around the world.


    About the book: Nothing could have prepared them for the last day. Explore the future of humanity in Massimo Marino’s sci-fi debut, Daimones, an apocalyptic tale that feels like it could happen tomorrow. You may never sleep through a windstorm again.

    Death swept away the lives of billions, but spared Dan Amenta and his family, leading them to an uncertain future. When merely surviving isn’t enough and the hunt for answers begins, memories from the past and troubling encounters lead Dan to the truth about the extermination of the human race. Distressing revelations give new meaning to their very existence.

    Early humans shaped the future and seeded a plan millions of years in the making. Now survivors must choose: Endure a future with no past or fade away into a past with no future?

    Does this mean I'm no more an independent author? 

    I think the border is becoming fuzzier and fuzzier, the perceived war between traditional published authors, independent authors, hybrid, and more labels than you can count on your hand, will disappear.

    In the publishing universe of tomorrow there will be authors and their readers, all supported by publishing service professionals who help storytellers achieve the highest standards with their stories, and provide more readers with many more great stories.

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