Review of The Lockerbie Writers’ Anthology

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Edited by Kerrie McKinnel and Godfrey Newham and published by Kerrie McKinnel on behalf of Lockerbie Writers.’ Foreword by Bryan Armstrong, Editor of Annandale Herald/DnG Media. All illustrations by Lewanna Stewart.

An ambitious and diverse collection of short stories and poems from a talented group of writers based in Annandale and Eskdale (South-West Scotland, for international readers). The group is formed of members Frank MacGregor, Kerrie McKinnel, Steph Newham, Richard Sharp, Kath J. Rennie, Paula Nicolson, Angela Haigh, Chris Openshaw, Godfrey Newham and Pat MacKay. The anthology is divided into six sections:

Life, Love and Loss in South-West Scotland

In ‘It’s Never Too Late!’ by Frank MacGregor, retiree and recent widower, Andy Johnston, rediscovers the joys of friendship by trying something new. Similarly, in ‘Pulling the Wishbone,’ by fellow MLitt-er, Kerrie McKinnel, lifelong neighbours, Betsy and Ada, decide to spend Christmas together. But will it be what each hopes for?

Ghosts and the Supernatural

A local fisherman continues his time-honoured tradition of throwing a coin into the river prior to commencing fishing, in Richard Price’s ‘An Overpaid Fare.’ Surely a few pence is a small price to pay for a good day’s catch, he reasons. Or is it?

Pat Mackay provides a humorous and clever take on the traditional haunted house story in ‘A Ghost Story.’

Historical Connections

Steph Newham vividly describes the final journey of a dying Australian woman in ‘Moss Wall.’

Modern Fairy Tales

‘The Dragon of Annandale’ by Paula Nicolson is imaginative and accomplished in its mythologizing.

Nature

The atmosphere of spring is perfectly captured by award-winning poet, Kath J. Rennie in her poem, ‘The Shepherd and his Flock.’

Mark takes his beloved fiancé, Ali, on a scenic detour when she comes to visit him from afar (they’re in a long distance relationship). But when he parks at the local police station, Ali isn’t quite sure what to expect, in ‘A Sight to Behold’ by Angela Haigh.

Chris Openshaw’s poem, ‘Autumn,’ beautifully evokes the colour of the season and its possibilities of renewal.

On Writing

Steph Newham muses on the trouble her characters give her in ‘The Problem with Characters’ while Richard Sharp reflects on what to write for the next meeting in ‘The Drive Home.’

This collection brought Annandale and Eskdale to life for me, and is no doubt a huge achievement for the group. There is something for everyone here, from the lover of mysteries to those who prefer nature poems. And it’s beautifully illustrated too, by local artist, Lewanna Stewart. I enjoyed discovering the work of these up-and-coming authors, and look forward to reading more of their work in future.

You can buy a copy of the Lockerbie Writers’ Anthology: Stories and Poems from Annandale and Eskdale from Amazon for £6.99 for the paperback, or £4.99 for the Kindle version: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lockerbie-Writers-Anthology-Stories-Annandale/dp/1530333245/  Visit their blog: https://lockerbiewritersanthology.wordpress.com/  Like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lockerbiewritersanthology/  Or, follow them on Twitter: @LockerbieWriter

If you’re lucky enough to live in the area, you might even consider attending their launch event in honour of World Book Night, this coming Thursday the 21st April at Lockerbie Library, where you can relax and chat to group members over a cup of tea, as well as hear short readings of their work. For more information on their upcoming events, visit: https://lockerbiewritersanthology.wordpress.com/upcoming-events-and-meetings/

 

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