Meet the writers, buy the books!

Really looking forward to Saturday 5th September when we’re off to Corsham Creative Market where Jo Lambert will be joining the usual gang  to run a book stall with great variety and lots of bargains at Springfield Community Campus.

corshamcornerFor those who don’t know Corsham, the old town centre is a real gem (and recently masqueraded as Truro in BBCs Poldark) but is also blessed with some very tempting tea and coffee shops.

Springfeld Community Campus – with its spanking new library and leisure centre – is only 5 minutes walk away with a cafe all of its own, so no need to go hungry or thirsty.

Hoping to see some old and new friends on the day.



Where Can Books Take Us? Free workshop coming up

It has been a busy few months since our launch in October with Bristol Women Writers members taking parts in lots of events around the Bristol area as well as knuckling down to get on with our own writing projects. (Yes, we write stuff too!)

But now we’re ready to ‘go public’ again with a reading/writing workshop which is part of  Bristol Libraries’ 400 celebrations.

The Bookhive
The Bristol 400 Bookhive (Photo by Bristol City Council)

In Where Books Can Take Us, you can again hear members read from the Unchained anthology, but this time there will also be the chance to hear about their sources of their inspiration and take part in activities to get you writing.

The event is on Thursday 27 Feb 2014
in the Central Library,
from 5:45 PM – 7:15 PM


The event is listed here, but  please ring 0117 9037250 or email to book your place.

Our thanks as always to the library staff for making this possible. We’re all looking forward to catching up with Unchained fans old and new.

See you there!

Out and about
Out and about
Photo credit: Bookhive image copyright Bristol City Council

Women and Libraries – Unchained

Jean Burnett

Today’s post is by Jean Burnett. As well as writing historical novels, Jean has a penchant for the gothic. Her short story for Unchained is  ‘The Judge’s Chair’  which  takes place in the famous Bristol Room of the Central Library.

Thought for the day – “A clever woman is like a long tailed sheep. She’ll fetch no better price for that.” (The Mill on the Floss)

Women have had a fraught relationship with libraries through the ages. Traditionally, they had no relationship at all because they were usually illiterate or semi-literate. A few examples of learned women occurred in the ancient world and during the Renaissance, and those women usually ended badly. Elizabeth the First  was famously well-schooled, but a queen was an exception.

In general, popular belief echoed the words of a Louisa M. Alcott character, “She has read too many books and it has turned her brain.” In Victorian times it was seriously believed that too much book learning affected a woman’s fertility.

By the 19th century, middle and upper class women had access to the new subscription libraries where they devoured three volume novels and the Gothic tales of Mrs Radcliffe. The serious stuff was still out of reach. As late as the 1920s Virginia Woolf complained that she had been refused admission to the Bodleian library in Oxford because she was not a member of the university. (Women were not fully admitted until 1974).

Many years ago I joined the intimidating London Library where I reached for the same volume as the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey. He stared down at me from his great height in astonishment at my temerity. I dropped the book and scurried to the reading room where I found I was sitting at the same table as three famous (male) writers. Thoroughly demoralised, I fled the building, never to return.

The New Birmingham Library
The New Birmingham Library

Happily, no such problems occur in the nurturing aisles of Bristol’s libraries.

Later this month, a sixteen year old girl, shot for going to school in her own country, will formally open Birmingham’s amazing new central library.

Women and libraries – unchained.



Who Needs Mr Darcy, Jean’s picaresque novel following the exploits of Lydia, the bad Miss Bennet, was published in 2012 by Little Brown.

Photo credit: The new Birmingham Library by Brian Clift on Flickr