SWWJ membership is open to professional workers in literature, drama or journalism anywhere in the world.
On these pages you can find out about some of our current members.
With a background in research and investigation, Denise writes biographical fiction; non-fiction; stage plays and screenplays – both under her own name and as DJ Kelly. Her books include Running with Crows: The Life and Death of a Black and Tan and Buckinghamshire Spies and Subversives. She reviews books, films and plays and regularly contributes articles to local, national and international press and journals. As a volunteer researcher for several local history and heritage groups, and a trained and experienced public speaker, she gives talks on various subjects to diverse community groups. She publishes with Titanic Press.
Sue has ghost-written two books: A Twitch in Time, the autobiography of Carry On star, Jack Douglas, and Pitkin's P.A. My Life with Sir Norman Wisdom, on behalf of Sir Norman's Personal Assistant, Ann Axe, and her own first novel, Gold Digger, is soon to be published by Mardibooks. She has also had several poems published and won Freelance Journalist of the Year Competition 1999/2000 in Writers’ News magazine.
Sue now offers talks to various groups, such as the U3A and the WI, about the Life of Sir Norman Wisdom.
Pamela Birley COUNCIL MEMBER
Pamela Birley, who writes professionally as Bradley Bernarde, joined the SWWJ in 1986 and was voted onto the Council as Minutes Secretary in 2003. After a year she became responsible for outings until, in 2005, she accepted the position of Honorary Secretary. Since relinquishing this post in April 2014, she has been SWWJ Chawton House Library Liaison Officer, which includes responsibility for the Society’s silver trophies on display at Chawton. Apart from having published three novels, The Apothecary’s Gift, To Thine Own Self and Pas de Deux for a Cop, and a number of short stories, Pamela has worked professionally as an editor, proof reader and a reviewer of both fiction and non-fiction.
Freelance writer, translator and creative writing tutor, Gwyneth lived in Spain for many years; she still maintains close ties with the country and the language and has written the English versions of a number of bilingual children's books and translated a number of short stories for anthologies. She writes non-fiction, specialising in creative translation for travel clients, but her main love is poetry.Two poetry collections and several non-fiction books published in digital format are available from Amazon.
A member of SWWJ since 2007, Gwyneth served on Council as Poetry Coordinator for several years and has been Digital Advisor since 2014.
Francesca Burgess was born in Sussex but has lived for many years in Kent. A history graduate and former teacher, she has had short stories published in magazines both in the UK and abroad, and also a serial. She's been placed and shortlisted in a dozen national writing competitions.
In 2016 she was shortlisted for the Wells Festival Children's Book Competition with a YA novel. Each month she writes a competition post for the Romantic Novelists' Association's blog. A member of the RNA's New Writers' Scheme, she writes both contemporary and historical novels. Stories of hers have been published in three anthologies: 100 Stories for Haiti, Diamonds and Pearls and 7 Food Stories from Rome.
She also writes the occasional poem and non-fiction piece. Writing originally under her married name, she now writes under her maiden name, Francesca Capaldi.
Born in Poland, Barbara studied German Philology with English at Humboldt University in Berlin.
When teaching children, Barbara found that telling stories to her pupils accelerated their ability to learn. Barbara was then inspired to write her first book, Cartwheeling Chestie Nut, about which Mrs Pip Otton, Headteacher of Laburnum Grove Junior School, Bognor Regis, wrote “I was impressed by the way the book so clearly promotes the use of speech in a charming way that would appeal to children, both boys and girls […] The charming story could certainly switch uninspired children back on to reading.”
Barbara then published Nic and His Nutty N’Uncle and Giant’stalestold and has since followed these up, in 2015 with Nic’s Nutty N’Uncle and The Giant Tells More Tales.
Benita Cullingford COUNCIL MEMBER
Benita, retired LAMDA teacher/ festival adjudicator, is the author of British Chimney Sweeps (2000/2001) and Chimneys & Chimney Sweeps (2003, 2012). Hon treasurer of SWWJ and WGGB member, Benita writes novels, plays and films. She has had three plays performed at the Abbey Theatre, St Albans, while her one-act play, Pick Up, was broadcast in New York (cd available), and produced by the Zeitgeist Theatre Company at the Bedford Globe, Balham. Benita's feature film, Portia's Penguin was optioned by UNITAL Films at the Screenwriters' Festival (2007) and reached the semi-finals of the International Screenwriting Competition, LA (2013). A dvd is available of Smile Baby Smile, a short film produced in 2013.
Valerie Dunmore VICEPRESIDENT
Valerie wrote regularly for both Horse & Rider magazine and Pony magazine for many years. She wrote a monthly page for Prediction magazine for 21 years, until it folded, on dream analysis and answered readers’ letters on their dreams. She did many live broadcasts on TV and radio on dreams. She has had articles in Horse & Hound and Writers’ News. Her first book Side Saddle Riding was published in 1978, written with a colleague. Subsequently she has published two books on dreams – an Illustrated Guide to Dreams and Dream Healing. Her latest book School to Music is available online, comprising a handbook in pdf format together with 3 downloadable music files. She has also revised and re-printed her grandfather’s 1911 book A Guide & History of Nevin, Morfa Nevin and Edern. She is also a poet, her first published poem being in her school magazine.
Ann Evans has been writing most of her adult life. She says it began as a hobby and somehow became a way of life. She writes for children, teenagers and adults, as well as articles for a variety of different magazines. For 13 years Ann worked for the Coventry Telegraph as a feature writer, writing about her favourite topics – food, animals, gardening and travel. She runs a regular writing workshop, and goes into schools running workshops and giving talks on writing.
Elaine Everest was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her bestselling historical sagas are set. Celebrating twenty years as a freelance writer, Elaine has written widely for women's magazines, both short stories and features. She was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize in 2012; The Festival of Romance in 2013 and was BBC Radio's Short Story Writer of the Year in 2003, as well as runner up in numerous other competitions.
Elaine's non-fiction work has led to her being commissioned for three non-fiction books for dog owners, writing columns for specialist canine publications and broadcasting on canine topics. A commissioning editor of a technical publication taught her about work on the other 'side of the writing page'.
When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school in Dartford, Kent, and runs social media for the Romantic Novelists' Association, where she also serves on their committee. Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent.
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Barbara Field-Holmes COUNCIL MEMBER
Barbara began her writing career in 1974 when she went to work as a reporter on NewsShopper, a ‘free’ weekly newspaper series in the North Kent/South London area, quickly stepping up to look after all the editorial content. She then moved on to realise her ambition to work on consumer magazines, working on Prima, Home Improvements Journal and Ideal Home magazine – mixing sub-editing with feature writing. Following this she moved to B2B publishing, working on a number of successful market-leading titles in the construction industry, covering the heating, ventilating, plumbing, bathrooms and kitchens markets, first as an Assistant Editor and then Editor. During this time she was the launch editor for Bathrooms magazine (1986), as well as a number of supplements on specialised topics.
After 25 years in the B2B marketplace, Barbara moved into PR for three years before taking a six month career break at the beginning of 2009 to adopt her son. Barbara set up her own company, Bigg-In Words Ltd in September 2009 and offers a mix of public relations and editorial services. Clients have included some prestigious manufacturers/suppliers from the heating and plumbing industry, and now mainly comprise smaller, local companies and two steadily growing cancer support charities, The Chartwell Cancer Trust and the CCT Tiger Ward. Barbara has been an SWWJ member since 2011, joining Council in 2012 as Editor of The Woman Writer. She became the Vice Chairman in 2014/15, and is now serving her third year as our Chairman.
Patrick has had more than a hundred books and countless articles published. He writes across a wide field: business, careers, self-help, also: humour, travel and, most recently, he has just had a novel, Long Overdue published. He is a member of two writing groups and active in the “writing world”; he writes regularly for Writing Magazine and speaks (and runs workshops) on topics including writing technique (especially non-fiction) and also on writing as a business, selling your work and allied skills such as public speaking.
Patrick has recently been appointed SWWJ honorary consultant for Marketing.
Doreen Friend COUNCIL MEMBER
Trained in journalism at an East London newspaper group, Doreen was a staff reporter working on a busy newsdesk, mainly covering crime, writing hard news, features and a variety of items. She was promoted to Chief Reporter and eventually became News Editor. Later she was employed as a Public Relations Officer for two local authorities - one Labour council and one Tory council. Doreen began writing short sketches and one act plays some years ago as a way of relaxing; a number of her plays have won awards in Amateur Drama festivals, and her full length play, Normal Shoes, directed by Martin Cort, was performed at the Cockpit Theatre NW London in 2014. Doreen is working on an anthology of short audition pieces for actors to use when they attend auditions, and has a number of other projects in the pipeline. After writing for a variety of newspapers, editors, publishers, magazines, directors and actors she finds that she can write to order when requested.
Dee, originally from the East End and now living in Southend, writes mainly non fiction books about Essex and the East End, but does have a couple of novels and a poetry compilation out there. She gives a lot of talks locally about her books and about writing, which raise money for Southend Mencap. She is passionate about the inclusion of disability in novels and about the proper use of the apostrophe! Next release, for March 2015, is Essex Land Girls, published by The History Press.
Roberta’s first hardback novel Abigail’s Secret, was finally published in 2008 after many rejections. Her eighth hardback, Duty and Deception, is due out soon. Roberta also writes short stories and articles, as well as Pocket Novels. These have since been re-issued as large print paperbacks. Her articles have been published in This England, Best of British, Sussex Life, Bygone Kent and The Countryman.
Roberta is secretary of Chichester Writers’ Circle and editor of the Chichester Literary Society’s newsletter. She has also given talks and workshops on writing.
Vivien Hampshire COUNCIL MEMBER
Vivien has had more than 140 short stories published in UK women’s magazines, and around 250 articles and children’s book reviews in professional childcare and nursery publications. In 2013, she gave up her ‘day job’, working with children under the age of five and their families in children’s centres and libraries, to concentrate on a full-time writing career. She is now a full member of the Romantic Novelists Association, with two works of women’s fiction available to buy as e-book novels via Amazon. Vivien has also published a book called How to Crack Cryptic Crosswords, has contributed crosswords to The Woman Writer magazine, and runs a small business compiling cryptic crosswords which clients commission as unique personalised gifts. She has recently re-invented herself, changing genre and using her ‘real’ married name of Vivien Brown, and has signed a two-book contract with Harper Collins Publishers who published her debut domestic drama novel, ‘Lily Alone’ in both e-book and paperback in 2017. Her second novel, ‘Five Unforgivable Things’, comes out in Summer 2018.
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Although she now lives in France, Jenna Hines hails from Liverpool, where she was ‘fortunate enough to have been a young teenager during the swinging sixties’. She self-published her first novel, Annie Logan in 2009, and her latest, The Quest of Miss Postlethwaite, has been published on Kindle via Amazon. Jenna is currently working on a third book, which charts the life of her paternal grandfather.
Jenna also writes short stories for children, two of which were recently published in separate compilations, while her features have appeared in French publication, Cruese-News magazine and Hay-on-Wye’s local magazine, Borderlines. A committed animal lover, Jenna has written poems about her cats, donkeys, and goats! One of her ‘donkey’ poems was published in The Donkey Breed Society magazine in 2001, and other poems have appeared in compilations and anthologies. A co-authored poetry book, Scribbling Siblings, featuring work by Jenna and her brother, David Patterson, was self-published in 2009.
Beatrice, a retired teacher, has been writing with modest success for fifteen years. To date she has had two adult novels and several stories published, as well as children’s stories. Four of her plays have been performed, including a commissioned historical work.
Besides being a member of the Society of Authors, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she is also a member of Phrase Writers, a very active and supportive writing group.
Naneh V. Hovhannisyan
Freelance writer, journalist, public speaker and educator, Naneh was born in Armenia, emigrating to the UK having built a successful career in broadcasting. She joined the SWWJ in 2018.
Naneh is fascinated by two topics: loss and transformation - loss of homeland and of loved ones, and personal transformation, growth and adaptation.
She is trilingual and writes commentary - both in English and Armenian - on identity, culture, history, society and travel. Her forte is life writing and non-fiction, and her current project is a collection of autobiographical stories of living through the pre- and post-break-up of the USSR in 1990s.
Sylvia Kent VICEPRESIDENT COUNCIL MEMBER
Journalist Sylvia Kent is a columnist and author of ten books and five anthologies. Awarded Freelance Writer of the Year via Writing Magazine, she researched SWWJ history and the resulting book, The Woman Writer, was published by The History Press in 2010, coinciding with the centenary of the birth of former SWWJ President Joyce Grenfell. Sylvia's contribution to the Society have included roles on Council as Overseas Liaison (9 years) and Publicity Officer (5 years), and she is now SWWJ Archivist. She enjoys regular radio appearances on BBC Essex, Book Club on Phoenix 98fm and occasionally on national BBC. Currently working with Brentwood Gazette, Essex Life and speciality magazines, Sylvia is also Billericay Museum Trustee, VP of Brentwood Writers’ Circle and Essex Book Festival patron.
Karen King writes for both children and adults. She had had one hundred and twenty children's books published by a range of publishers, including Walker, Scholastic, Random House and Harper Collins. She writes in all genres and for all ages, including teens. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne. She was a lecturer on the MA Professional Writing course and the BA Illustration course at the University College Falmouth for many years. She is now a creative writing tutor for distance learning and adult learning.
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Lesley Lawson Botez
Lesley is a writer and psychologist specialized in helping companies and individuals build bridges. Her relationship guide, Holding Out for a Hero, Five Steps to Marriage Over 40 was published by Bedroom Books end-January 2015. Packed with exercises and anecdotes, it is the indispensable guide to finding love over 40. Lesley was runner-up in the 2014 Geneva Literary Award for non-fiction. Her short story, First Choice was published in Offshoots and her mini play based on the same characters, was performed by the Geneva English Drama Society in April. She lives in Geneva.
Jane Lockyer Willis
Jane trained as an English and Drama teacher at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has written over 20 stage plays:both full length and one act. She also writes for radio and has had both, staged and broadcast.
Jane is always on the lookout for theatre companies who might be interested in mounting her plays. The one acts are good for festivals; the longer ones for a night's entertainment. Most are light and aim to amuse.
Full details are available from Jane’s website. If you are interested, please get in touch.
Fay has been a member since 1988 and was Poetry Representative on the Council for six years. She currently does poetry critiques for the Society, and is poetry editor for Scriptora.
She has had a variety of articles and short stories published, but poetry is her main interest. Her work has appeared in leading magazines and anthologies and the BBC’s ‘Poetry Please’ programme. Her own collections are: ‘and’, Envoi, 1990 (under the name Fay Chivers); ‘Mapping the Debris’, National Poetry Foundation, 2000; and ‘After the Battle’, Scriptora, 2010. She has been active in translating contemporary German, French and Russian writers.
Natalie writes contemporary and historical romantic fiction. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA), having graduated the organisation’s New Writers Scheme at her first attempt. She now has three published books, most recently Escape to the Cotswolds with HarperCollins HQ Digital. She has in the past few years sold over thirty short stories worldwide. In addition Natalie is a commissioned contributor to the RNA blog.
Dawn's first success was with a short horror story published by Telos Publishing in a charity anthology entitled Shrouded by Darkness. Since then, she has had short stories published in various women’s magazines as well as in sci-fi, speculative fiction and horror anthologies. Her fourth book – an anthology of speculative fiction stories, entitled Extraordinary, will be published in August 2017. Dawn has written two plays about the First World War, one of which has been performed in England, France and Germany. The other will be performed on 11 November 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.
Margaret writes short stories for the ladies' magazines as well as the longer novellas for D C Thomson in their People's Friend and My Weekly range of books. Her back list is currently about half way through the process of being put on Amazon. She also writes slightly longer short stories - about 10,000 words - for the fiction specials for Woman's Weekly - usually cosy crime.
Daniela I. Norris
Daniela I. Norris is Canadian-Israeli, a former diplomat turned political writer and – with age and wisdom – inspirational author and speaker.
Her stories, articles and essays have been published in numerous newspapers and magazines. Crossing Qalandiya – Exchanges Across the Israeli Palestinian Divide, co-authored with Palestinian writer Shireen Anabtawi, was published in the UK in May 2010 by Reportage Press. On Dragonfly Wings: a skeptic’s journey to mediumship was out in April 2014 (Axis Mundi Books) followed by Collecting Feathers: tales from The Other Side (Soul Rocks Books, November 2014). Recognitions, first of a trilogy, is her debut novel, published by Roundfire Books in 2016.
Daniela is a Member of SWWJ (Society of Women Writers and Journalists, UK), GWG (Geneva Writers’ Group, Switzerland), The Society of Authors (UK) and Goodwill Ambassador for Children of Peace.
Pamela Payne COUNCIL MEMBER
Pamela started on the Marlow Times in 1969, followed by six years with Farnham Castle Newspapers. She founded an RAF newspaper which was transmitted to British Naval ships, and later rescued the failing RAF Henlow magazine.
Whilst living abroad she wrote for Financial Times magazine, Resident Abroad and, in Naples, ran an international writers group, organised a weekend school for the British Council and published an anthology, raising £4000 for charity.
She taught two weekly Creative Writing classes for Petersfield College of Further Education and published Voices of Petersfield and District.
Pamela joined the SWWJ in 1976 and served on the Council for 9 years, organising speakers and running the Thursday Workshops.
Cecilia ‘cut her teeth’ on writing features for magazines, mostly about history. She is an avid reader and a stickler for the written word, tending towards non-fiction rather than fiction, although she has published a couple of novels, one of which is for children. History Press published three of her books on local history and her latest, which has just been released, features a young airman who was shot down during World War II. She is a member of Brentwood Writers Writing Circle. Her involvement with Brentwood Writers has led her to speaking on local radio and contributing pieces to other people’s non-fiction books.
Mary Rensten VICEPRESIDENT COUNCIL MEMBER
Chair of the SWWJ during its Centenary year 1994, Mary is still active on the Council, responsible for the Society's assisted-publishing initiative, SCRIPTORA.
A former teacher, she was a prolific free-lance magazine journalist in the 1980s and 90s, specialising in interviews with world-renowned writers, artists, actors and musicians. She is particularly thrilled to have interviewed Maya Angelou, Thomas Keneally and Cleo Laine.
Her feature on the Eden Project, A Vision of Eden, won her the SWWJ's coveted Violet Astor Rose bowl in 2002.
Also a dramatist, her work has been seen at the Edinburgh Festival and on the London Fringe. She has written radio plays and scripts for television, and plays, all of them published, for schools. Her first novel, Letters from Malta, came out in 1990; re-published in 2013 as an eBook, it reached an international readership. Although now in her eighties Mary is currently finishing her third novel and has a fourth at the draft stage; this one is set in the 1940s in Jamaica, where she was brought up.
'Writers never retire,' she says. 'There is always something to write about.'
Elaine Roberts became a member of the Romantic Novelists Association’s (RNA) New Writers’ Scheme in 2013 and the SWWJ in 2016. She has sold short stories worldwide and enjoys attending events at both organisations. She is now working on her fourth novel, which is a family saga. Although currently an unpublished novelist, Elaine is still learning her craft and feels it won’t be long before she is successful. Elaine runs a writing blog, called WriteMindsWritePlace, with writer Francesca Capaldi Burgess. She also writes a monthly piece on literary festivals for the RNA Blog. Elaine’s a great fan of writing retreats, either week-long by the sea with friends, or one-day retreats with fellow writers in her home town of Dartford
Julie C. Round
A former Junior School teacher, tutor of dyslexics, and Liberal County Councillor, since retiring to WortJulie, a former Junior School teacher, tutor of dyslexics and Kent County Councillor, has been writing locally set novels since retiring to Worthing. The first, in 2007, was “Lane's End” about a man with learning difficulties. This was followed by “Unstable Lane” and “The Third Lane.” In 2014 Julie published a domestic thriller, again set on the South Coast. In “Never Run Away” a married woman leaves home seeking a new life. This was followed by “Never Pretend”, a story of music and lies. In 2016 she wrote “A Lesson for the Teacher,” a romance set in the 1960s. Julie gives talks to local groups and records with the Voice of Progress, a local talking newspaper. She is a member of two writing groups, Sea Scribes and Worthy Words.
Amanda J. Thomas
Amanda Thomas specialises in social and medical history and has a background in journalism and media PR. Books include Cholera - The Victorian Plague (Pen and Sword History, 2015), The Lambeth Cholera Outbreak of 1848-1849: The Setting, Causes, Course and Aftermath of an Epidemic in London (McFarland, 2009), and the biography of the scientist Dr. Winifred Brenchley (deposited at Southwark and Rothamsted, 2006); she also contributed to Dr. Andrew Hann’s The Medway Valley a Kent Landscape Transformed (Victoria County History, Phillimore, 2009). Broadcast work includes The Flying Archaeologist (BBC4, 2012) and Who Do You Think You Are? (Wall to Wall Media/BBC1, 2012-13). Amanda is Editor of the historical journal, The Clock Tower, and Editorial Consultant to Harpendia magazine.
Julia Thum writes for both children and adults. She is one of the Ginger Black writing partnership and co-wrote their first novel, Riverside Lane, a cozy mystery published in paperback by Momentum Press and as an ebook by Endeavour Press. She has a children's MG novel in submission and is mid-way through a sequel for Riverside Lane. Julia reviews children's fiction on her website www.JuliaThum.co.uk and is a regular contributor to the BBC Berkshire Book Club.
Hilary Townsend, from a family of yeoman farmers, grew up in Dorset. As a personnel manager in industry, and later lecturer in management subjects, she wrote magazine and newspaper features for UK and North American markets. Eventually, writing full time, she wrote Discover Dorset - Blackmore Vale, and Blackmore Vale Childhood (Dovecote Press).
Thirty years spent restoring her Dorset medieval/Tudor home resulted in Silk Hay – One Woman’s fight for Architectural Heritage. Her current book is about her extensive travels. She also writes magazine features and gives talks and lectures widely.