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The 'Writers' Slot' archive pages feature author articles from previous months

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Writer's Slot - July                                                        

“One of my most positive experiences is being part of a group, getting regular feedback – and giving it. Learning to give feedback to others is part of the process of writing.”  

- The words of Brenda Bannister, a frequently published local author, who has taken over the Frome Festival Short Story Competition this year from its founder, Alison Clink.

Brenda Bannister                                        

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She worked as a librarian in various educational establishments until her children grew up, when she decided to live closer to her parents and start writing, something she had always wanted to do. In 2012 she came second in the Wells Festival Short Story Competition and has since had two light-hearted poems published.

 

Currently she’s writing a novel that connects two eras. It explores the lives of two disparate teenage girls; one, the Edwardian daughter of a tobacco merchant, the other the youngest daughter of a Bangladeshi immigrant family. Their connection is the house they both live in - a hundred years apart. Both a ghost story and a social commentary, it explores the effect of family influences on them both. Her inspiration came from the old houses in the area where she used to work and the changes they had witnessed.

 

Brenda particularly enjoys writing dialogue and joined the Frome scriptwriters group; her one-act play was performed locally.

“It’s interesting that, unlike a novel, there is no point of view in a script and actors can bring a different interpretation. In small-scale theatre, you need economy of characters, which brings its own discipline.”

She believes that writers help writers and she put this into practice by becoming a founder member of the Frome Writers Collective.

Brenda Bannister is a talented and successful storywriter. She credits her success partly to the groups and classes she has attended in Frome since moving here four years ago. However, it's her own sensitive and intelligently observed narratives that more than justify the publication of seven stories in Woman’s Weekly.

Two-way traffic: Writers Help Writers

Brenda FWC

Many people will recognise Brenda as the person taking over Frome Festival’s Short Story Competition this year from its founder, Alison Clink.

“It’s been an eye-opener,” she says. “There are some very good writers out there.”

Joining with others

 

If she has any advice to offer aspiring writers it’s ‘Join a group’.

“One of my most positive experiences is being part of a group, getting regular feedback – and giving it. Learning to give feedback to others is part of the process of writing.”

She has a heartening approach to learning the craft of writing.

“Not all of us can attend an Arvon writing course, or undertake an MA in Creative Writing but we can learn from the many writing events and courses on offer in Frome during the year.”

Since working with local tutors and sharing with other writers, she has found new ways of writing.

“ It’s different from studying literature - even as an English student you never look at stories the way you do as a writer.”

Brenda also organises the Festival Book Quiz at the Cornerhouse and volunteers at the Merlin Theatre and the Library.