We are a mixed circle of poets, writers, illustrators and editors, writing in the genres of fantasy, romance, crime, thriller, children’s and satire.
We range in all ages, sexes and certainly abilities, but most of all we are fun and have fun. We have created a safe space to explore our writing journey and development whether you’re just starting out and want to write for yourself or already published.
A potted history
Chorley & District Writing Circle was formed in 2002 with the support of Chorley Borough Council and funding from the National Lottery. The inaugural meeting was held at Chorley’s historic Astley Hall – for many years a room at what is now The Coach House was our meeting place. The Circle immediately attracted a number of local writers. We published the first anthology of members’ work in 2005 in a booklet called Aware. It proved extremely popular and a new edition was published every year until the last few when production became too onerous. We might yet publish one again…
In 2008 the Circle held its very first writing short story competition. The group that year attracted a number of respected authors to come and speak at meetings including Cath Staincliffe (crime novelist & screenwriter of ITV’s Blue Murder) and Joseph Delaney (best-selling author of the children’s series The Wardstone Chronicles). Towards the end of 2008, Chorley Writers won a second Lottery grant to fund the latest edition of Aware, a Lancashire-wide poetry competition and to set up a new website to encourage local people to take up creative writing.
The following year the Circle launched its most ambitious project – a national short story competition. Entries came in from across the UK and many were published in the Circle’s first ever digital edition of Aware.
We’ve held national competitions almost every year since 2010. See our Competitions page for the latest one.
In 2013, we accepted sponsorship from local indie publisher Open Circle so we could stay at The Hartwood, at the time our preferred venue for meetings, and for that the Circle owes a large debt of thanks to DJ Harrison, author of Due Diligence and other crime novels featuring Manchester girl Jenny Parker. Our sponsor for 2016 was Eye Designs Opticians, a family-run eye care practice, caring for your eyes with courtesy and expertise but our 2017 sponsor did not wish to be named. In 2016 we adopted the Preston Branch of Cats Protection as our designated charity and at that time we changed venues again to St Mary’s Social Club off West St, Devonshire Road, Chorley.
In recent years, we’ve been thrilled to welcome some fabulous speakers including short story writer Claire Massey, crime writer Martin Edwards, graphic novelist Michael Barrett, poet Carole Baldock and novelists Rosie Garland and Carys Bray.
We’ve taken part in the Council-run event, ‘What’s Your Story, Chorley’, every year since it began, and in November 2014 we launched Write Now, our first ever public event, with speakers including a literary agent, publishers and author Carys Bray. In 2015 we followed this up with another Write Now held at Chorley Library. This time we welcomed back Cath Staincliffe and also enjoyed listening to Robin Jones of Unthank Books as well as holding a very successful Short Story Slam, open to writers throughout Lancashire. The winner, gratifyingly, was Circle member Cathy Lennon.
At our 2016 Write Now event ,we welcomed children’s writing specialist Jake Hope, author Alan Wright, Katherine Armstrong, the commissioning editor (now editorial director) at major London publishers Bonnier Zaffre, and author Zoe Sharp. The 2017 event starred Laurence O’Bryan and Wendy H Jones and our 2018 Write Now event featured diverse publishers, including Sapere Books. We’ve had a couple of fallow years recently (we all know why!) but hope to return in 2021/2.
2021 sees our monthly meetings comprising workshops on a diverse range of subjects including editing, self-publishing and structure, and we’ve moved to both virtual and physical meetings which are now held at Coppull United Football Club, Chorley and also on Zoom.