As we hope has been demonstrated through our series of blog posts – and the very existence of the Welsh Writers Trust – there is a hotbed of literary talent in Wales, and Cardiff in particular.
It is no surprise then that Cardiff houses a multitude of writers’ groups (which a quick Google search will easily demonstrate.) These groups consist of formal groups of Creative Writing students, gatherings of published authors providing feedback peer to peer, or simply those who have no contact with the writing world other than the urge to pick up their pens and scribble, for the sheer joy of the thing.
Still in its fledgling second year, Roath Writers is a relatively young group – though you wouldn’t think it to attend a session or by looking at its track record. Meeting twice monthly on Mondays, Roath Writers has already spawned a very close-knit group of regulars and sessions can number anything from 15 to 25 people, all of whom have a variety of backgrounds and levels of writing experience.
Some claim they cannot find the time or concentration to write elsewhere in their everyday lives, so Roath Writers provides an invaluable haven in which to practice their creativity. Others do write frequently in their spare time, whether this be poetry or memoir, fiction or non, and use the group as a platform through which to develop their style, or prompt them into keeping their practice up.
Afterall, it can be difficult to balance such a seemingly indulgent creative activity, with the endlessly multiplying demands of everyday life. But groups such as Roath Writers carve out time in the week for doing just that. And whereas some writing groups are rigidly controlled by their facilitators, in sessions of Roath Writers members are welcomed by Christina to use the time as they please.
This democratic approach lends a real sense of community and equality to sessions of Roath Writers, which might be spent workshopping a particular piece of work submitted by a member, examining a text another has suggested, or even – in some instances – being taught by members themselves.
If it is a quiet week, Christina will always come armed with a plan, typically consisting of a text that has interested her recently and a related prompt-based activity, to kick the imaginations of those attending into gear. And once the session is over, often – on the corresponding weeks – the group will decamp to the Mackintosh Centre over the way, to attend the Rhyme & Real Ale open mike night.
In this way, Roath Writers provides not only a valuable creative community for writers – both professional and beginner – but a social platform as well.
Indeed, the real success of Roath Writers can be measured in the friendships formed through it, and the level of engagement and enthusiastic discussion the sessions play witness to. And for those more inclined towards objective measurement, we would point you towards the latest anthology Roath Writers has published: To the pub and back again, Vol. II.
In her introduction to their first anthology, Christina shares how ‘[before] the first session of Roath Writers I jotted down these lines in my notebook: “Share what you love and hope they love it too”.’
We believe that Christina’s hopes have been answered by the success of Roath Writers, and the words of one of its regulars, Rachel Simons:
‘Christina’s facilitation style is friendly, informal and democratic, whilst always making me feel “safe” in the hands of a professional. The Roath Writers sessions have opened me up to new people, new styles of writing and have increased my confidence.’
Roath Writers meets the first Monday of every month at 7:30pm in the CafeBar. There is a £3.00 donation suggested per session. You can also track them on Twitter @RoathWriters.