Tag Archives: West Midlands Readers’ Network

Writing Book Reviews – WMRN Reader in Residence


This summer I had the exciting opportunity to apply to be a Reader in Residence, my application was successful and Warwickshire Libraries now have me in role at Rugby Library. The position started in September and runs until March 2018.

Following meetings on site, emails and team meetings I spent a month planning and promoting the first workshop ‘Writing A Book Review’.

wmrn review writing workshop

My group comprised of talented, experienced writers. It was lovely to watch the enthusiasm during the session as people relaxed and got to know each other. One of the great spin offs from this event was the networking opportunities. I am certain some of the participants will keep in contact with each other and explore what the county has to offer.

I was happy with how the workshop went, after spending several days tweaking plans and making sure the massive amount of input could be covered in the time we had available. We did just fit it all in, the most important elements were given as a handout at the end.

I opted for a very informal evaluation, but was too anxious to read people’s feedback straight away.

It was very positive and useful. We plan to repeat the workshop next year with some members from the various Reading Groups associated with Rugby Library – and the general public, so if you missed it and you fancy learning some Top Tips and insights, look out for further promotion in the Library and on Eventbrite.




An amazing amount of interesting information in an hour and a half. 

An inspiring afternoon.

I found this afternoon encouraging for my writing in the future.

I love getting together with people who love to read!

Enjoyed the workshop, you have a calm, free-spirited air about you. 

Overall, extremely enjoyable and more importantly, informative.

The ideas mentioned are going to be really helpful.

Lovely atmosphere.

Informative and useful.

Great to meet like-minded people.

It inspired me to write and read more. 

Really well structured session with great tips.

Relaxed atmosphere, I really enjoyed it. 

rugby Lib.png© Rugby Library 2017

It was a relief to know everyone had enjoyed it and the information helped and inspired them. I can now pass all the good news onto the team at Rugby Library.

The team were very supportive today, huge thanks to those involved in ensuring this event ran smoothly, for taking photos, bringing us more hot water for a 2nd round of caffeine -much needed as we were whizzing through at a great pace! For the biscuits/refreshments & setting up the space.

Thanks to Ann Brine (Manager Rugby Library) for coming to evaluate and debrief. The session went really well and I am now ready for my next Reader in Residence mission, watch this space!

Thanks also to Roz Goddard at WMRN.

Meet our Reader in Residence

Meet our Reader in Residence

My next exciting adventure! I was invited to apply for the position of Reader in Residence through West Midlands Readers’ Network in July. The application and bid were successful and in August I was allocated Rugby Art Gallery, Museum & Library as my base. September and October involved meetings and emails and this month preparation for my first event.

I am delighted to have this opportunity. I watched Jean Atkin & Deborah Alma have fun with their residencies and have wished for this for a while.

Warwickshire Libraries

Hello!  I’m Nina Lewis, a writer and current Poet Laureate of Worcestershire. I’m very excited to be the brand new Reader In Residence at Rugby Art Gallery, Museum & Library. My position has been appointed through Roz Goddard of West Midlands Readers’ Network and Warwickshire Libraries.

So far I met some of the team in Warwickshire to make initial plans and introductions. I came to visit Rugby Library, spent a good while looking at a heritage display, dipping into local history books and admiring historical photographs and maps of the area, before meeting the lovely Library staff and the rest of the team.

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I was delighted to find out more about the Poetry Voices work happening in Warwickshire with Brenda Read-Brown and Poetry on Loan. There have been so many great events for you to attend locally. As my residency runs at the same time we decided not to focus…

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Readers’ Network Event – 7 Minute Stories


This was a fab evening out and I am so glad I went! It was such a relaxing event, and Roz was not joking about the fairy lights, it all looked so pretty, shame I was right at the back with a limited view. read

Roz Goddard interviewed each writer and at the end the reading groups who created all the ideas, had a chance to feedback and question, they each received a copy of the anthology and will have the writers’ return to their groups in the New Year to tie the whole project up.

read1 Fascinating how the original ideas peeped through the excerpts of the works the writers’ read. And it was interesting to hear the writers’ talking about the process. For many this was their first commission. I look forward to reading their full stories in my own copy. book 1
I have a whole pile of books to read now and can’t wait for a relaxing Christmas holiday day to enjoy them. I will create some blog posts about all the material I have discovered and bought this year.

The Six Writers were;

Gaynor Arnold linked with Solihull Reading Group Gaynor has written a story featuring a vulnerable child that’s full of poignancy with a surprising twist.

Garrie Fletcher linked to a reading and writing group at Coleshill Library. An exploration of how a character’s past impacts on the present.

Ian McCleod linked with a Writing West Midlands young writer’s squad based at Stourport Library. The story packs a strong emotional punch, peppered with terrific period details, in the form of a letter.

A L Pietroni linked with an independent reading group in Stone in Staffordshire. (Where I used to live!) The discussion in this group focussed on what was distinctive about the town of Stone including its historical connections with silk, glass and brewing. Anna’s story incorporates all these elements with an added measure of drama.

Rochi Rampal (who I saw and listened to on a panel at the Writers’ Toolkit a fortnight ago and is a playwright) worked with an independent reading group in Bearwood. The group expressed an interest in neighbourhood and how you can live alongside someone and not really know them.

Amanda Smyth worked with an independent reading group in Perton. he She wasn’t able to make the evening event.

Information from http://www.wmreadersnetwork.co.uk/blog/ Copyright © 2013 Roz Goddard



As I walked up to the library I was delighted by how Christmassy the lights were and how it really felt like Christmas. I decided to take some photographs before I left. Here is the Eye wheel 2wheel 1 (Wheel- First there in 2004-05 when I went on it with my mum just around the time I first moved back to the County).

I took some photos and rinkwatched people skating at the rink and then came home.





Excited! First Event of December – West Midlands Readers’ Network Short Story Commissions


Excited! First Event of December –

West Midlands Readers’ Network Short Story Commissions


This event has SOLD out, I was invited back in November – it has just take 10 minutes to find ticket confirmation.
Should have printed it out or pinned the email. Didn’t fancy driving all the way into the city and finding I had no seat! I was invited to be in the audience and am honoured that I have a seat, sadly many people don’t, including a couple who had a story written for them. What a shame.

Roz Goddard (who I met doing the Writing Picture Books course at the Custard factory in the summer) is the co-ordinator of the West Midlands Readers’ Network, part of her role with this commission was to link regional writers with readers’ groups across the Midlands with the aim of facilitating exciting new writing.

The short-story commissioning strand does just that. In the Spring of 2013, numerous reading groups around the region applied to have a bespoke short story written for them – and after a long selection process, six were chosen to work with a writer who I felt would be a good match for the group. At the first meeting readers and writers met to discuss a list of possible narrative ingredients – then over the long, hot summer the writers tapped, scribbled, crossed-out and eventually produced six excellent short-stories which will be showcased during a special event.

Roz’s most recent Twitter feed reads;

Fairy lights, baubles, gerberas, jazz and short-story anthologies all packed for a sell-out story event tonight.

bring on the Showcase Copyright © 2013 Roz Goddard.

AND I have just found out they are giving the anthology away for free.

west midlands readers network

Looking forward to the first night of many this week with writers’ and readers’. Congratulations to all the writers who were commissioned to take part in this project.

I look forward to blogging about these talented writers.


West Midlands Readers' Network  Supported by Arts Council England