Article competition 2015


Our adjudication saw a very welcome return visit from journalist Louise Cole, who spoke briefly about her own writing and media agency before giving a detailed critique of each entry.

The articles, all of which Louise had found interesting, spanned a wide range of subject matter and style. She stressed the importance of having a strong idea of what to write and for whom. In particular, the writer should come to the point in the first paragraph and include a powerful hook to engage the reader.

Travel pieces should not only reflect a writer’s own experiences but give insight into what else might be available for future visitors. Nostalgia was fine, but how had the area changed since? Being aware of psychic distance would obviate unfortunate juxtapositions. A heart rending description of a wartime atrocity, for example, should never be followed by ‘and then we bought hats’!

Writers of opinion pieces should include the sources for their facts and figures and avoid undermining themselves by posing questions that they were unable to answer. The main part of the article should focus on essentials, with facts that would be ‘nice to know’ confined to a side panel.

Phil Cook’s travel piece, Trieste:the least known Italian city was the winner of the Jack Moss trophy. In second place was Old Blue Eyes, a review of Frank Sinatra’s latest biography, by Peter Hicks. Sheila Whitfield’s Sweet Satisfaction, which compared today’s sugar consumption with that imposed by rationing during and following WW2, came third.

Unfortunately, once the winning entries had been read out, there was very little time for Louise to speak about her latest venture. She and two friends are now collaborating on romantic stories under the author name of Marisa Hayworth. We shall look forward to hearing more about that on her next visit!

Our friendly group meets once a fortnight at the St Wilfred's Community Centre on Trinity Lane and is always open to new members from the Ripon area and beyond. Whether your interest is in poetry or prose, novels, short stories, plays, wacky humour, a more analytical style of writing, or just listening for the time being, you're very welcome.

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