IsleWrite Launch with Jill Anabona Smith

IsleWrite opened the Margate Bookie this June. We chat with Jill Anabona Smith to learn what IsleWrite is all about and went on at their festival-starting extravaganza.

Copies of IsleWrite's new book, Twenty Thirty.







What’s IsleWrite all about?

Storytelling! Everyone has a tale (or several) to tell and writing’s a solitary business. When you read your story to an attentive audience, it’s a pin-drop moment to cherish.

IsleWrite is a diverse group supporting writers from all walks of life, many from other countries. Some have written from an early age, others are starting out on their storytelling journey. Some write fiction – short stories, novels and plays: some write memoir, others prefer poetry. Individual successes are celebrated by all. In addition to sharing work, the group hosts and guest speakers holds workshops and run writing competitions.

So, whether you want to tell truths, lies, fantasies or memories, why not make a start? Come along to IsleWrite at Broadstairs library at 2pm on the third Wednesday of each month; listen to other stories and tell your own. We’re truthful people and if we think you may have missed something out or there’s something that will enhance your work, we’ll say so!


How do you put an anthology like this together?

Over twenty years, it’s fair to say we’ve heard things that have made us howl, either with laughter or tears. There’s an optional theme each time we meet, but members also bring novel excerpts, competition entries, and the stories that have been brewing on any theme they want. The variety is jaw-dropping.

For our twentieth anniversary, we could choose from work by more than thirty writers over the years, hence the anthology’s title twentythirty. (To be truthful, it was going to be twentytwenty, but Covid came along, squashing plans and, anyway, we realised there were plenty more stories to add in).


Who took part?

The session was introduced by Jill Anabona Smith, IsleWrite’s coordinator, whose first novel, Four Kinds of Shipwreck, won a place on the Pen to Print Book Challenge and was published in June.

Then the fun really began…

Charl Frock’s Office Rat tale, followed by Patricia Mahoney’s Canadian piece from Full of Grace, her book with accompanying CD. Laure Meloy, a dramatic soprano specialising in 20th and 21st century opera, chills next with a sinister tale from New York, contrasting with Tessa Woodward’s reflective story of village life in Kent. Graham Ward, a successful painter, then delved into the past when a ‘native American Indian’ had a lasting impact on Graham’s early years. Guitarist Jamie Moore linked everything together nicely.

Have a listen here for a taster of what went on at our launch:

Denise Gow – The Lost Madonna

Maria Brown – The Airman

Ali Boots – Obsession


How did it go?
Our readers, Graham Ward, Charl Frock, Denise Gow, Tessa Woodward, Patricia Mahoney and Jill Anabona Smith gave it their all and rose above the challenge presented by the thousands of keen bikers who chose that very day to descend on Margate and rev up outside Turner Contemporary.  
We’d waited a long time to launch twentythirty and weren’t going to let them get in our way.  
The audience enjoyed what they heard from us and showed their appreciation by buying copies of the anthology and members’ novels from Seadog books, finishing off with champagne in the sunshine beside the sparkling sea.
We’re grateful to Margate Bookie and Turner Contemporary for this great opportunity and can’t wait to work together again.
Where can we find out more about you?
Our Facebook and Insta posts will tell you what we’re up to and what’s inspiring us.  
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Skip to content