From our podcast: why do writers need groups?

Mark Bridge asks poet Clare Best and novelist Beth Miller about the benefits of being in a writers’ group.

The Love Lewes podcast guests for January 2016 included Clare Best and Beth Miller, both of whom are involved with literary groups. Clare was one of the founders of the Lewes-based Needlewriters, while Beth was one of the early members of the online Prime Writers group.

Host Mark Bridge asked them what was so important about writers being part of a group.

CB: Well, I suppose the most obvious thing is that it’s really quite a lonely pastime a lot of the time. I think you do have to have those days and hours when you’re just slogging away on your own, in your garret, but then you’ve also got to have the other side of it. You’ve got to see other people and talk with other people about writing and reading… and promote things. Promote each other; I think it’s really vital.

BM: Have a good old whinge. I think writing is made up of a lot of hours sitting on your own – and a lot of hours really complaining about them. That’s a really essential part of it.

BM: I’m also on the committee of the Lewes Literary Society. Quite a lot of people on there are involved with writing; not everybody, but it’s another literary interest group. These places are good for writers and readers, I think, to share what they like and talk about what their interests are with regard to writing and reading. You can’t always do that with your ordinary friends – your ‘civilian’ friends!

MB: Are there any particular challenges with organising writers?

CB: A bit like herding cats, sometimes, I suppose. I think writers tend to be very individual individuals, don’t they?

BM: Their emails tend to be quite well-written… but they don’t always remember to do their emails.


You can hear the January 2016 Love Lewes podcast on our website audio player. These podcasts can also be heard via iTunes, on our RSS feed, on the Stitcher.com mobile app or by downloading the MP3 file directly.