Chattering From The Chair – Wednesday 11th July 2018

We had the first of our summer meetings last week, and our Chair, David Carson, has all the details for you all.

Note of the Meeting of 11 July 2018

Present – Sue, Abby, Ray, Aileen, Richard, David C.
Apologies – Rosie, David F., Roddie, Craig, Colin

1. Business.
(a) Fifty Shades:
– Waterstone’s require a form to be completed before they stock books. Abby has done this and will chase up
– Press release: this has been done, but will not be sent until Waterstone’s is settled.
– Tweeting campaign for more publicity has been discussed but no action as yet
– selling success by Fiona (Discovery Centre) and Richard (Cairn no Mhor)
– endorsement for Fifty to be sought, with two proposals

(b) A new Project.
We discussed what this might be, and arrived at tentative suggestions that will need to be explored by the group as a whole.
– more substantial in terms of length than Fifty
– short stories?
– thematic link, broadly interpreted
– not too prescriptive at this stage
– quality control by peer assessment and possibly tutor advice
We agreed that we needed to have the parameters set out within a deadline. We fixed this as 19th September (which is probably the last of our summer meetings). This means that it will be a standing item at each meeting, and that all members need to be involved.

2. Writing.

Two pieces:
(a) Sue’s ‘The Approach of New Year’ is the second chapter of her Tay Bridge story.
We all liked it and thought the descriptions were vivid and authentic. Also the characters, particularly Archibald and Tam are well portrayed.
We looked at the show/tell dimension, and Sue agreed that some of the backstory could be conveyed by dialogue or action. Much enjoyed by all, and looking forward to the next instalment.

(b) David’s ‘Battle of Wounded Knee’ is an attempt at creating memoir from experiences that aren’t personal. While the voice of the narrator was convincing, there was discussion about the tense used. Perhaps it would be improved by going for present tense throughout.

3. Accommodation

The University has ceased giving free lets to any organisation. So we need to find elsewhere. Richard will pursue the Fire Station possibility. Meanwhile, thanks to Aileen’s generosity, we will meet at her abode next time (25 July). If you will be attending, email Aileen and she will give you directions. We hope to have a good attendance!

David C. 14 July 2018

Tender Age

One of our members, Craig A. Mudie, was inspired by recent news stories to write this short piece for our last meeting.

Tender Age

I want my blanket back.

My Abuela made it for me. It is blue, which Abuela says is because my eyes are blue. Mama’s eyes are blue, too, but Abuela said I’m the first boy in our family to have them. She’s says they are a gift from the saints.

My blanket is warm and soft. Abuela says it is as soft as my hair. I have long, golden hair, just like Mama. Abuela says I’m the first boy in our family to have golden hair. She’s says it is a gift from the saints.

Abuela stitched a big letter J onto my blanket. It is for my name – Jesus. Mama picked my name. She says she chose it because I am a gift from God. I like my name, but some people here laugh at me when they hear it. They do not say it right. They call me gee-zus, and then they laugh. I do not like it when they laugh at me.

Mama and Papa have been gone a long time. I do not know how long, but I have been given food for lunch. It is not nice food, not like we eat at home. It comes in plastic pots, and smells too sweet. I miss the food that Mama makes for me. Abuela always makes us give thanks to God before we eat. They do not do that here, but I have said it quietly to myself, even though I do not like the food.

I do not know where I am. Mama and Papa woke me up during the night, and we got into the car and drove out of the town. I was still tired, and I fell asleep again. When I woke up, Mama was telling me to be a brave boy, and that she would be back soon. She was crying, and she was taken away by a big man with a gun. I do not like the man and his gun.

There are other children here, too, but I do not know who they are. Some of them are crying, like Mama was. My friends Julio and Sergio are not here. We were going to go to the park today to play baseball, but we did not go to the park. I wanted to bring my glove when Mama told me we were going out this morning, but she wouldn’t let me. I thought we might go to the park later, without going back home, so I wanted to have my glove with me. We haven’t gone to the park yet. Maybe we will go after I have dinner. I hope the food for dinner is better.

My shoes keep falling off my feet when I walk about. Mama took the laces out of them before the man with the gun took her away. I do not know why, as she always tells me to make sure they are tied up tight when we go out. We went to a big building with trampolines in it for Sergio’s birthday, and we had to take our shoes off there. Maybe I will get to play on a trampoline later?

I want my Mama and Papa. And I want my blanket back.

50 Shades of Tay

50 Shades of Tay, the Nethergate Writers new publication, is now available.

This compact, pocket-sized collection contains fifty 50-word stories and poems, all relating to Dundee, the River Tay and the surrounding area.

Inside its 52 pages you’ll find a variety of voices, styles and subjects, from the last thoughts of the Tay Whale and memories of the Fifie to the tale of a sledging disaster on the Law and the delights of karaoke at the Club Bar.

Click below to order now, for only £5 per copy, with free postage and packing in the UK.


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