Treasurer’s Talks – 15th January 2020

Our group treasurer, Rosie Baillie, provides a roundup of our first meeting of 2020.


Nethergate Writers (NW) – 15 January 2020

Attendees: Rupert, Craig, Susan S, David C, Abby, Fiona, Ian, Fraser, Jurgen, Phil, Dele, Ray, David F, Ray, Rosie

Apologies: Sandra, Susan B, Sarah, Zoe, Aileen, Gillian, Roddie

1. Abby agreed to chair the meeting and Rosie to record the minute.

2. Anthology

Question from Richard re anthology: does it have to link to the Nethergate? Yes!

Abby summarised the anthology plan for new members:

  • next NW project
  • collection of short stories/poems with link to Nethergate
  • submissions required by 29th January (although possibly some leeway for newcomers)
  • aim to publish in autumn and lead up to Christmas 2020

Rosie to send round briefing note which clarifies requirements in full, including word count etc.

Group agreed that everyone should confirm at next meeting (29th Jan) if they have a piece to submit to the anthology and what stage it is at, i.e. final version, still requiring group feedback. Anyone who can’t attend on 29th should confirm by email to the group. 

Group then discussed how to organise the creating of the book and management of submissions etc. The group below volunteered to be part of the book project team, with Craig and Rosie in a co-ordinating role.

Rupert, Susan, Craig (co-ordinator), Ian, Fraser (editing lead), Dele, Rosie (co-ordinator) and possibly Gillian.

Rosie will contact the project team to suggest an initial meeting to agree proposed plan of action.

Abby volunteered to assist with the copy-editing work.

3. Submitted pieces

Jurgen – A Wee Poem

Jurgen read a short poem which he had adapted to incorporate the Nethergate  which described his first NW meeting. Everyone enjoyed it for its light-hearted feel and agreed it would be a good item for the beginning of the anthology since it described the courage you need to start writing, join a group, make friends and group felt it encompassed the ethos of NW. 

Susan – Venus Cafe

This short piece of fiction was inspired by a recent excursion to cheap local eatery where the plates stuck to table!

Susan’s take was well received – there were small suggestions re changes to the format in final paragraph; comments included: possibly disdainful to plant-based living/veganuary – but at the same time a comment or reflection on current times? Thought provoking, witty, fun, great building of tension, great dialogue. Query around whether the link to Nethergate was strong enough – mixed views, group suggested ways to give it a stronger link to the Nethergate.  Comment that it might be a good fit for the anthology given it was sci-fi and futuristic and offered good contrast to the other more historical/period pieces.

Fraser – It ends in Silence

This was a bleak futuristic tale describing the end of the Nethergate. Group agreed it was captivating but some questions around second half and perhaps a need for more clarity about what was happening. Fraser explained he had cut material so could add more explanation back in; however some members felt its enigmatic and thought provoking style didn’t need that further explanation.

There was a question around who the protagonist was talking to:

  • an interview about the end of the Nethergate
  • The last person alive in Dundee
  • Who was doing the interviewing?
  • Was it in fact someone talking to themselves?
  • Was it someone making a recording to leave behind?

Fraser liked these suggestions and agreed to give it some thought. 

Rupert – Lang’s Cones

Rupert read us this revised version of a piece we had looked at before. All agreed it was very powerful, with great imagery and was beautifully written. Some commented that it flowed better as a story with the small changes which had been made. The group discussed the symbolism and the strong themes it presented in relation to the futility of war.

Business Discussion

Rosie – reminder of fee of £20 per person towards room bookings for whole calendar year, I.e. 2020; new members attend 2-3 meetings before deciding if they want to join up! Anyone who doesn’t pay up, we’ll assume they do not want to continue their membership and remove from mailing list.

David – told us how he’d discovered that Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director, Pitlochry Festival Theatre had found a copy of ‘50 Shades of Tay’, loved it and had since created a new project called Shades of Tay. Abby will make contact with her as chair with a suggestion to meet to let her know who we are and whether there might be scope for NW to be involved. 

Also David had discovered that on Thurs 13th Feb as part of Pitlochry Winter Words Festival, there was an event taking place which might be of interest to the group and which might also provide an opportunity to meet with Elizabeth.  The event is 19.15pm on 13th Feb an informal get-together called ‘Writers Drinks’. David has booked two spaces for the event and asked the group for volunteers to attend. 

Interest in the Pitlochry event –Abby, Rosie, Jurgen, David, Susan, Craig – David will try to book some further tickets – possibility for lifts from Dundee.

Question around possible re-print of 50 Shades of Tay – this might be a possibility especially after this meeting with Pitlochry and if we have involvement in the new project.

David – suggested forward programme for meetings in 2020 – all to look at proposals and come back to next meeting for discussion. Agreed we should aim to look at the constitution before the AGM.

Abby – suggest we formalise the rotation of the chair and minute taking – plan ahead – volunteer who will do what for next meeting, e.g. chair should arrange agenda for next time.

For next meeting: Craig will chair; Richard will minute.

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