Members


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.


Denise Beddows

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.

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Sue Benwell

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.

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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.

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Gwyneth Box

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. She writes non-fiction, specialising in creative translation for travel clients, but her main love is poetry. Her books Poems from the Pueblo: Haiku and Assorted Fragments and Around the Corner from Hope Street are published in digital formats.

A member of SWWJ since 2007, Gwyneth has been on Council since February 2013 as Poetry Coordinator and as Digital Advisor since 2014.

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Barbara Cluff

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.

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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.


Ann Evans 

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.

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Patrick Forsyth

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.

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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 Gordon

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.

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Roberta Grieve

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.

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Vivien Hampshire  COUNCIL MEMBER

Vivien has had more than 130 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 will be publishing her debut domestic drama novel, ‘Lily Alone’ in both e-book and paperback in 2017.

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Jenna Hines

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.

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Beatrice Holloway

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 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, and she is also a member of Phrase Writers, a very active and supportive writing group.

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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.

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Karen King 

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.

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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.

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Fay Marshall

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. 

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Margaret Mounsdon

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.

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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.

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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 Pyke  COUNCIL MEMBER

Celia ‘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 the SWWJ Minutes Secretary and 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.'


Julie C. Round

A former Junior School teacher, tutor of dyslexics, and Liberal County Councillor, since retiring to Worthing, Julie has been writing novels. The first was Lane’s End, about a learning disabled man who has to find his own way in the world when his sole carer, his mother, dies. The second was about his family and the problems that can occur when people cannot cope with differences. This was Un-Stable Lane, which was followed by the final book in the trilogy, The Third Lane, which was published in 2011.

In 2014 Julie published a domestic thriller, once again set on the South Coast. A married woman leaves home in search of change. She finds rather more than she bargained for! Other activities include talks to local groups and voluntary work for the Voice of Progress a local talking newspaper.

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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.

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Hilary Townsend

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.

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