AGM Minutes – 13th March 2018

Minutes  of AGM,  Nethergate Writers 13/3/18  Dalhousie Building Room 2S11

Present: Richard, David C, Craig, Rosie, Roddie, Sue and Ray.

Apologies: David F, Abby, Fiona, Aileen,  Susan, Colin

Minutes taken by Roddie.

The meeting was convened by the chair at 7.06 pm.

Minutes of 2017 AGM: These were approved (proposed Craig, seconded – Richard).

Matters arising: Rosie asked if the £1 meeting donation should continue- this was a universally supported.

Treasurer’s report:   Book stock list was the same as last year, bar for one sale (212 volumes remaining).  Some minor royalties (£0.35) were received from Amazon on old stock.

Money received– subs of £91.  Outgoings: bookmarks, web site and SAW subscription- these almost balanced.

Bank balance at 20th February- £725.20.  Not much net change since last year.

Web master’s report: Website – 32 posts in the last year. 457 unique visitors

Most popular pages were all ‘Meet the Nethergate Writers’ – followed by the pieces on Craig’s Rep contest win, Colin’s publication in Mind the Time and Roddie’s inclusion in New Writing Scotland.

Twitter – now up to 92 followers – most liked post was about our visit to Literary Dundee’s Write Stuff event in April.

Facebook – 130 folk Like our page.

Most Liked were again the Meet the Nethergate Writers posts, plus our Christmas and New Year greetings and the link to the Pecha-kucha presentation.

Chairman’s review of 2017: (David C) There had been 12 meetings (plus one cancelled) of the group with a maximum attendance of 12, minimum 6 and an average of 7.5 persons. Currently we have 15 members.

Events that the group or members took part in included: the Petcha Kutcha evening (Rosie and Abby, Feb17th, 2017- available on You Tube); the Dundee City of European Culture bid spearheaded by Craig; attendance at the Write Stuff meeting during the Dundee Literary Festival.

Notable successes of members in 2017 were as follows:

Colin- reading his poem at the Lit Fest from the anthology “Mind The Time” published by Nutmeg Magazine.

Roddie – published a short story in “She Said, He Said, I Said” New Writing Scotland published a letter and haikus in The Courier; a poem published on line at the Open Mouse website and he won second place and also had a highly commended poem in the Great Broughty Ferry Library Poetry Competition.  The latter will be published in a booklet by the library in 2018.

In an early win for 2018, Craig was awarded a runner up prize in the DCA Creative Writing Competion.

Engagement with membership; issues from review:

Dundee European Capital of culture bid:  This was headed by Craig, but sadly died a death as a casualty of Brexit. Roddie pointed out recent news about attempts to set Dundee as a cultural hub, which may give a second life to that project.

Membership of SAW: Craig proposed that we keep on membership for another year. Seconded by Roddie.  This was agreed by the group.

Engagement with membership:  It was recognised that there is a problem of access for members who do not attend Zoe’s classes. Some solutions were` suggested.  David suggested a NW meeting on a regular basis while the class was running. The difficulties of scheduling another evening meeting for members was highlighted.   Rosie suggested that the fortnightly meetings of NW out with class terms should continue, this was supported by the majority.   Roddie suggested that NW members not in the class could email round their pieces when the class was running, for comments from members. David said he would be happy to email all NW writers regarding options on meetings/feedback.

A possibility suggested by Craig was that all NW members be contacted with view to having a discussion in the first NW meeting after classes finish to discuss these options.  Another topic for discussion suggested was what form future classes run by Zoe should take.

Fifty Shades of Tay update:  Craig and David C remarked that this had been the most successful joint project of the revived group to date.  Craig and Abby had met with a designer/publisher who could produce and print 200 copies for £400.  It was anticipated that the pamphlet would sell for a minimum of £3 with production costs of approx. £2/copy.  The booklet would have cover art and be A6 in size.  Craig reminded all members to forward their corrected versions to him ASAP.

Discussion turned to marketing. Rosie would compile a list of where NW books had sold before and consider selling through the website and possibly through Paypal.  Other possible outlets proposed by the group included: local shops, literary Dundee, Waterstones, Discovery Point, the Tourist Office, The V and A, local libraries and the West End Gallery.

Election of office bearers: Fiona had indicated that she did not want to continue as secretary, Abby might consider the position and since there were no other nominations, this position was held over. David C was proposed as chair (Craig) and seconded (Roddie) and this was ratified.   Rosie was the only nomination for treasurer (David C) and seconded (Ray) this too was ratified as was Craig to continue as web master (proposed- Rosie, seconded-Sue).

Plans for 2018:  Possibilities for further involvement with Creative Dundee- possibly to be investigated by Abby.

Literary Dundee- Roddie currently liasing with them. Other possibilities to investigate include approaches to West Fest (raised by Roddie), other festivals (raised by Craig) and to the local libraries for readings/platforms for Fifty Shades of Tay.

Roddie would continue to circulate details of up coming competitions/opportunities for publication. He also noted that taking account of the new data protection laws in compiling and keeping member contact lists would be necessary and said he would investigate what changes may be needed.

There being no other business, the meeting closed at 8.15 pm.

Meet The Nethergate Writers – Rosie Baillie

Part 5 of our occasional series of Q&As, where we get to know a little about the members of the Nethergate Writers.

It’s our Treasurer, Rosie Baillie, this time.

1. How long have you been a writer?
Only for about four years – took me a long time to pluck up the courage to go to a writing class!

2. Have you had anything published?
Nope, not yet!!

3. Do you have a writing routine?
No unfortunately – I never seem to have enough time, but I am trying to write of an evening rather than just sitting in front of the telly!

4. Who is your literary hero or heroine?
Ah way too hard to choose, probably L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables was my favourite book when I was growing up, I loved all the books in the series and I still want to marry Gilbert Blythe!)

But I also love Nancy Mitford, Evelyn Waugh and Angela Thirkell – for their sharp wit and silliness – I like anything set in the 1930s and 1940s of that sort of style.


5. Do you prefer working in a particular genre?
I’m always experimenting, which possibly means that I don’t stick at anything! I’ve dabbled in children’s stories (picture books and chapter books) and currently trying out writing a radio play or screen play.

6. Do you have any writing ambitions?
To finish something! And I would truly love to be published one day.

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just have a go, find a class or a group – it’s amazing how peer support can help to inspire you and motivate you – I’ve also made some lovely friends!

8. What are you reading at the moment?
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

Chat from the Committee – 18th April 2018

Note of the Meeting of Nethergate Writers – 18 April 2018

Present: Abby Lyons, Craig Mudie, David Carson, David Francis, Ray Kinsman, Richard Begg, Roddie McKenzie, Rosie Baillie.

David C. chaired the meeting.

1. Group Secretary

We do not have a secretary. In the absence of a volunteer, David C. agreed to take on this role for an interim period.

Rosie to pass contact details for SAW and Dalhousie room bookings.

2. Fifty Shades

Abby and Craig updated the group on progress made, which has been considerable.
Working with Stuart Lindsay of Pulse North, they have designed and produced mocks up of the front and back cover, and the format for each page with accompanying illustration. One or two small tweaks required, to be completed very soon.
There is also a foreword, and the list of contributors and three word bios.

Abby and Craig were congratulated and warmly thanked for their excellent work.

We made some decisions:
– we will not take out an ISBN number, but save it for a future, perhaps larger, publication
– print run of 300. This is more economical than one of 200 followed by one of 100
– sale price to be decided when we see a real copy. We want to have the anthology read by as many as possible, and not price ourselves above a market rate
– set up a marketing/publicity sub group. Rosie and Abby volunteered, but all are expected to make suggestions on launch and sale points.

Some suggestions were made during discussion:
* launch event in June, having consideration for a date that avoids clashes with other events
* possible venue – Little Theatre (given their approach to us)
* Courier/DC Thomson for publicity
* Scots magazine article
* West Fest for sales
* sales outlets to be pursued include Waterstones, DCA, Discovery Point, Birnam Arts Centre, Botanic Gardens, and towns/villages along the Tay.
* use poster versions of appropriate page for publicity (eg Little Theatre for Little Theatre)
* Sell through out website
* Literary festival (Rosie and Roddie to enquire)
* Christmas time focus for sales

3. Arrangements for future meetings

One NW meeting each month during Tutored term time. Proposal to have next NW meeting on the date of the fifth tutored class, (ie 23 May), then 27 June. To be confirmed with tutor.

4. Format of tutored class

We discussed ways we might best benefit from the class, in terms of the balance between taught content and provision of feedback on work submitted.
Abby will relay our suggestions prior to first meeting on 25 April.
All members asked to consider topics for the taught component.

World Poetry Day 2018

Here’s a piece for World Poetry Day 2018 from one of our members, Roddie McKenzie.

Mind and Poem

I am the man,
the poem lives in me,
impressions of wondrous
things that I see,
fished out
by the neural net of my mind.
With paper and pen,
this beauty
I bind.

I am the mind, the poem is I,
the crystallised thought
that will never die.
Distilled from centuries of fermented thought.
I am the spirit,
folk should have sought.

I am the man, the poem, the soul.
created in flesh for an immortal role.
I am Malkuth, beginning and end
I am Kether, the cosmic diadem.

Roddie McKenzie, 1972 (tweeked March20th 2018).

New AGM Date

Following its postponement last week due to the snow, our AGM has now been rescheduled, and will be held on Monday 12th March at 7pm in Room 2S11 of the Dalhousie Building.
Our Chair, David Carson, has promised ‘interest and entertainment – guaranteed’, so we do hope you can make it along next week.

AGM Postponed

AGM Postponed – 28th February 2018


Due to the current bad weather and the forecast of more to come today, the committee has unanimously decided to postpone tonight’s scheduled AGM.

Further details of the rescheduled date will be available as soon as possible.

A Nethergate Writer’s Success.

Dundee Rep, in association with the University of Dundee, launched a creative writing competition to accompany its ensemble production of “Deathtrap”, its first production of the year. It’s an ‘edge of your seat murder mystery play.’

The task was to write an original piece of fiction in no more than 500 words. The subject was writing about writing.

A very large entry was received, so it is gratifying that one of our Nethergate Writers is a prize winner. Craig A. Mudie was one of two runners up.

We’re delighted for him. It’s well-deserved. We’re also pleased that one of our Nethergate Writers has been recognised in this way.

Further details can be found here –

David Carson
Chair, NW

Meet the Nethergate Writers – Fiona Pretswell

This is the fourth of our occasional series of Q&As, to help you get to know a little about the members of the Nethergate Writers.

This time, it’s our Secretary, Fiona Pretswell.

1. How long have you been a writer?
I wrote as a young teenager then not again for years. Started again about 7 years ago.

2. Have you had anything published?
Four stories in the Nethergate Writers anthologies and a story in one of the Dundee Writes publications.

3. Do you have a writing routine?
No. I write whenever I can but don’t get much time to do so.

4. Who is your literary hero or heroine?
Charlotte Bronte for creating one of the best woman in literature in Jane Eyre.

5. Do you prefer working in a particular genre?
I usually start as chick lit but end up with death and destruction.

6. Do you have any writing ambitions?
I would love to write a crime novel.

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Get a notebook and start writing down stuff that you find interesting. Overheard conversations or news stories that spark and idea.

8. What are you reading at the moment?
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Nethergate Writers Meeting – 29th November 2017 – Minutes


Present: Roddie, Richard, Craig, Ray, David F. and David C.

1. Business.

1. Fifty Shades…

The idea of hiring students to give layout proposals is still seen as a good one. It was agreed that we (NW) should make direct contact with an appropriate class, and ask for entries to a pictorial competition, and that we would select the one that best reflected our ideas. We agreed a payment of up to £150.

Craig will make contact and report back.

Layout. Craig made suggestions as to how the pieces might be ordered. He had divided them into 5 categories;
– areas outside Dundee
– specific to river and bridges
– transport
– old Dundee
– modern Dundee

Craig said that he would send round to all members his suggested ordering and get reactions

Roddie will contact Dundee Literary Festival to seek a slot in the next Festival.

Deadline. We hoped that April might be a realistic aim.

Outlets for selling: Discovery Point, Tourist Office, Watermill Aberfeldy, and others.

2. City of Culture bid.

General regret expressed at the decision to suspend participation (although feeling was pessimistic about a positive outcome to the review).
We will look again at our project to see if there is any mileage in going it alone. David C. to do this with another volunteer (any takers?)

3. AGM.

This needs to be held by 11April at the latest (ie 15 months maximum since the last one.) D.C. will email the committee to set up a meeting in January to finalise date and agenda.

2. Writing.

Roddie had circulated two pieces.

(a) Polarity of Horizons.

A powerful poem dealing with bi-polar and related issues. The sustained metaphor was particularly appreciated., and we had a good discussion about an image late in the second verse about musical chairs.

(b) Carpe Diem.

This is an elegiac eulogy, and a very effective one. Many recognisable human failings are alluded to:
“We would catch up , eventually,
No worries”

And of course it doesn’t happen. The last line is also a summary of the themes:
“Time makes fools of us all.”

David C. 2 December 2017