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Group brings region’s writers together

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By Zac Hannay
Front
Group brings region’s writers together

A NEWLY formed group has written itself into 2023.

The Solway Chronicles was set up on Facebook on December 30 as a forum for writers in Dumfries and Galloway to help and encourage each other.

It is the brainchild of Andy Murray, above, a former journalist with Dumfriesshire Newspapers.

Andy, now 67, worked as a freelance for 16 years, writing news and features for publications throughout Britain. He won the Fresh Voice award as part of last year’s Wigtown Poetry Prize.

Within the first two weeks the group had attracted 80 followers, and there are plans for collaborative works.

Andy, a native of Lockerbie, managed to get some big hitters to join, including poets Derek Ross and Donald Adamson; and Pete Fortune, a veteran, award-winning writer of short stories.

Also on board is Hugh Taylor, a seasoned travel writer and long-time broadcaster, who now manages Alive Radio

Andy said: “I set it up on a whim, knowing that there was a lot of untapped writing talent in the region.”

“I’m amazed how well it is going. It has been very fulfilling. Nobody loses. There are several of us who have written for many years with success but it’s easy to forget the grassroots of writing.

“Writing can be a lonely undertaking. The group has been a godsend for a lot of us.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with the postings of some writers who have not had the confidence to let anybody see their work.

“We’ve a few who have made submissions to outlets on the strength of joining us. We don’t take ourselves seriously. There’s a welcoming vibe.”

Andy added: “Our successful writers have welcomed feedback from others not as successful. And vice versa.

“We can all learn from each other and we have a fantastic laugh at times.”

Angela Kerry Miller, a librarian from Dalry, who creates vlogs about the history of Galloway, has been working on a novel. She has written a lot of haiku verse.

She said: “I’ve been struggling to get myself motivated to submit my work, but already I’ve found the support of the group has helped me to have the confidence to make the leap.

“We’ve got some really great, experienced writers whose advice has made the difference for me.”

Nicola Black, a well known singer-songwriter and choir leader from Kirkpatrick Durham, added: “In the short time the group has been running I’ve grown to really enjoy reading folk’s creative and wide- ranging poems and writings.

“I’ve appreciated the positive comments people make about my contributions.”

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