This year, the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub has been revitalised. And in a massive way! Like the Kraken rising from the depths to take on Perseus, it has taken the city by storm, and a tsunami of writers have rolled into town along with it.

Tessa Ditner is the lady responsible for this huge sea-change, under a wider-brimmed New Writing South umbrella and along with the hard work of some brilliant local writers, Portsmouth is once again becoming a literary force. To celebrate this, Tessa has spawned a new brain child – The Extraordinary Ten.

So for the last few weeks local writers have been voting for their top 5 influences among the Portsmouth literati and each were royally awarded at a ‘star studded gala’ at the amazing – Café Perisian last night, who have been a huge supporter of the Hub this year.

The event was sponsored by Taylors of Harrogate, Granta, Mslexia, The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook & Writing Magazine, so a huge thank you to them for that & on a purely selfish note for the amazing prizes – please see blurred post Kebab and DOOMBAR photo – Christmas has truly come early.

Website Ext 10

The full list is below & I am delighted to say I have sneaked in…

THE EXTRAORDINARY TEN

(in alphabetical order)

Lynne Blackwood

Sarah Cheverton

Charlotte Comley

Zella Compton

Tom Harris

James Law

Maggie Sawkins

Will Sutton

Jo West

Matt Wingett

it’s a real honour of course, but mostly it’s been – in the words of Miranda’s Mum ‘such fun’ – which is exactly what it’s been about all year. It has also been a great opportunity to be able to pass on my own thanks to those who have supported me and my writing in the city.

No writer can go it alone. No writer can see the wood for the trees, without their critique partners and writing buddies at their groups. No writer can share their words without a book seller. No writer can find true validation, reassurance, oh and good, liveable, pay-the-bills-sort-of-money without an agent & publisher except an exceptional few of course. And no writers would have these precious communities and networks without support from local councils, venues, volunteers, literacy workers, event organisers and all the writers that attend. It’s as social a scene as any, and with over 80 of us scribblers at last months hub, it’s hard not to socialise with a writer in this city at the moment.

The city is bursting with writing talent and I think 2016 is going to be a special year for Portsmouth writers & the hub.

A final thanks to the person who made all this possible, Tessa Ditner, who after Jose Mourinho’s sacking yesterday can claim the mantle ‘The Special One’ for her own…and to all who read and all who write & the stories that keep me up all night – in the words of my good friend Tiny Tim in fact – Gawd bless you, every one…

Tom

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