Fife Writes appoints Tom Hubbard as patron as it bids for charitable status

Write on...Konrad will perform at the next meeting of Fife Writes on February 13.
Write on...Konrad will perform at the next meeting of Fife Writes on February 13.

Fife Writes was founded in 2014 to encourage writers of all genres to share their work.

Now, the group has more than 150 members from across the Kingdom who meet monthly to share their work and perform.

New patron...Tom Hubbard has long been a supporter of Fife Writes and now he has agreed to be the group's patron.

New patron...Tom Hubbard has long been a supporter of Fife Writes and now he has agreed to be the group's patron.

The five-strong organising committee is hoping to expand its reach even further in 2019, as it bids to become a registered charity.

Renowned poet Tom Hubbard, who has been a long-term supporter, has also recently agreed to become Fife Writes patron.

It is hoped the move will help the group build an even larger fan base and attract new members.

George Sinclair is one of the two remaining founding members on the organising committee, along with Lilian Kennedy Brzoska.

Founding member...George Sinclair is one of the group's original founders and is hoping to successfully bid for charitable status this year.

Founding member...George Sinclair is one of the group's original founders and is hoping to successfully bid for charitable status this year.

He recalled how Fife Writes story began.

“I went along to a meeting organised by Fife Cultural Trust and Create in Fife back in February 2014,” he said.

“The aim was to see if there was interest in setting up a new writing group.

“Eight people registered an interest and an email was sent out to us all.

“I waited a few weeks and nothing happened so I emailed everyone on the list and we agreed to meet.

“From that, Fife Writes was founded.”

The group has grown steadily ever since but the ethos at its heart remains the same: to offer writers in Fife, no matter their genre, a platform to share and perform their work.

They meet every month of the year, barring August and December, in a variety of free venues across Fife.

Membership is free, performers play for free and meetings are free, both for members and the public.

At each meeting, a singer or group will perform several sets, with three guests sharing their work in 20-minute slots.

George said: “The aim is to give people, no matter their experience, a platform to share their work with an appreciative audience.

“Everyone has some form of creative talent and we want to bring that out in people and help them to take the next step.

“With that in mind, we have also started running workshops, thanks to Lisa Young (aka Cassie Kennedy) who recently accepted the position of Fife Writes workshop organiser.

“And George McDermid, who joined us last year, is also helping us build up our website to give it a more professional polish too.”

The group now has 150 members from every corner of Fife, as well as further afield, and more than 250 people on its mailing list.

Among the ranks are professional and budding writers, editors, musicians, playwrights, publishers, artists, actors and even one composer from Poland.

George, who is an accomplished author, is pleased that Tom Hubbard has agreed to become the group’s patron as it begins a new chapter, applying for charitable status.

He said: “We’re delighted Tom has agreed to become our patron and help us with our long-term strategy.

“He was our first performer, back in April 2014 in Kirkcaldy, so he has long been a supporter.

“Tom was the first librarian of the Scottish Poetry Library.

“We needed someone of his calibre to act as our patron and help us take our next big step.

“We are in the very early planning stages of seeking charitable status.

“Our meetings and venues are all free but we do have to pay our performers minimal travel costs. We don’t pay them to perform – they all offer their services for free.

“But we can’t expect them to be out of pocket if they are travelling from Stirling or Edinburgh to perform.

“We also had to pay for our workshop venue in January so, for the first time, we asked members for donations to cover costs.

“It could have backfired but the workshop was fully booked and everyone gave very generously.

“It would make life easier if we had charitable status and could apply for funding.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find free venues so it’s a step we need to take.”

George is keen to hear from venues that would be willing to offer their premises, free of charge.

He added: “Meetings are regularly held in Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Aberdour but we’ve also been out to St Andrews and Anstruther.

“Ideally, we need them to have a cafe or bar so that our members can enjoy a drink during our meetings, which run from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.”

If you can help or would like to join the group, email fife.writes.goes.west@outlook.com.

You’re all invited and it’s free!

The next meeting of Fife Writes is on Wednesday, February 13, in PJ Mollloy’s in Dunfermline from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Doors open at 7pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend the free event at which the group’s new patron Tom Hubbard will serve as MC.

Tom’s latest collection of poems on Fife themes is The Flechitorium.

He will be reading from some of the more outrageous pieces. You have been warned!

Joining Tom on stage will be Moira McPartlin, a proud Scot with Irish roots.

Born in the Scottish Borders and brought up in a small Fife mining village, Moira resigned from a finance role in Shell Oil in 2005 to concentrate on writing. In her spare time, the youthful gran enjoys gardening, playing the guitar and whistling.

Fife Writes founding member George Sinclair, who likes to think of himself as a writer, travel photographer and adventurer, will be reading from his published works.

And the musical entertainment will be provided by Konrad, a group which is becoming increasingly popular in the central belt.

Encompassing blues, funk, jazz and folk music, Konrad’s four key members have agreed to share some of their songs with Fife Writes members.

Three, five-minute open mic slots are also available, with one reserve.

The slots are ideal for budding comedians, musicians, singers, novelists, performers, poets or scriptwriters.

To register an interest, email fife.writes.goes.west@outlook.com.

George added: “Our meetings are free and everyone is welcome. We’d be delighted to see some new faces.”

To find out more about future meetings and workshops, visit www.fifewrites.co.uk.