Anderida Writers, Eastbourne


Click here to read a much more detailed history of Anderida Writers
  A History of Anderida Writers

Mike Fleming

Anderida Writers was formed under the name 'Eastbourne Writers Circle' in 1990 by a group of enthusiastic adult students and two of their college tutors. The name change to Anderida Writers Circle was an early decision as the club strove to promote creative writing and develop the skills of local writers in a friendly atmosphere. A peek into the history of Anderida Writers (as it is now called) quickly demonstrates that those objectives have been met successfully over the years that followed. So effective was the early work of the group that in 1995 writing competitions were introduced and separate critique meetings were established. The publication of members' work soon became a familiar occurrence, with novels, non-fiction and shorter pieces appearing in magazines and newspapers. Sussex Life, This England, The Lady and Good Housekeeping were some of the publications which carried contributions from our members. However, the outstanding success was surely that of Tamara Babadi (later McKinley), who, in 1996, saw the launch, to great acclaim, of her novel, Reap The Whirlwind. Tamara, who was to remain a member of Anderida for many years, continues to have huge international success as a novelist.

The Anderida Writers circle was all this time producing a regular newsletter which continues to give valuable information and advice on such topics as writing technique, competitions, local artistic events and the like. Meetings have also been well served by the input of high quality guest speakers including editors, publishers, agents and seasoned professional writers.

More recently, Anderida set up its first website which it has reviewed and rebuilt several times. This was a useful single point of reference at a time when the venue for the circle's monthly meetings was changing between different town centre hotels and public halls (prior to the establishment of the current meeting place of Alice Croft House in Cornfield Lane).

In the mid-noughties, nationally-recognised actor Jeffrey Holland became Patron of Anderida. Jeffrey and his wife, actress Judy Buxton, kindly agreed to read aloud members' entries each year at the club's annual writing competition. Jeffery was succeeded as patron by international best selling crime writer Peter James and another best selling author, Tamara McKinley, has since taken over the role.

At the beginning of the current decade, Anderida Writers dropped the name "circle", introduced a Facebook page, began its own member lending library, revamped its website and updated its constitution. All the while, members were winning publishing deals, appearing on radio and in the newspapers, winning competitions and supporting local artistic events such as the Eastbourne Writes Festival.

The number of published authors varies as membership changes but can be in double figures and rarely falls below eight.

As with other organisations, Anderida's activities were curtailed by Covid 19 restrictions from 2020, causing our chairman Tony Flood to call for two AGMs, to be held together by email, for 2020 and 2021. This required the endorsement of rule changes and entailed Tony sending out proposals in advance by email, with members giving their votes by reply.

At the start of 2020 before Covid struck the group had moved their meeting venue from the Cavendish Hotel to the Hydro Hotel in Mount Road, Eastbourne (still on the second Tuesday of the month unless posted otherwise).

The annual poetry and story competition continues to be a lively and fun event made all the more enjoyable when professional actors read the entries. In recent years, the celebrated actor Brian Capron (the group's Vice President) and actress Sue Thacker have brought the work of members to life with their excellent deliveries.

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