Thanet literary connections

The Isle of Thanet has a rich history of literary connections. Which is marketing speak for lots of interesting writers have been connected with Thanet.

This list of Thanet’s writers and literary connections has been superseded by a better list on our new list.

In addition to the lively and varied Thanet literary scene that make up the community of writers and poets in Thanet, there have been a good many famous writers from the area.

  • Jefferson Hack, (born 20 June 1971), publisher, journalist and model, lived for many of his childhood and teenage years at Beach Grove, Cliffsend, near Ramsgate.
  • Karl Marx (1818–1883) is known to have stayed in Ramsgate some nine times. As did his comrade Friedrich Engels. His eldest daughter Jenny Longuet Marx (1844–1883) lived for a period at 6 Artillery Road.
  • John Buchan (1875–1940) was rumoured to have based his thriller The Thirty Nine Steps on the set of steps on the beach at North Foreland, Broadstairs, where he was recuperating from a duodenal ulcer in 1915.
  • Brian Degas, author, writer and creator of the TV Series Colditz, lives in Broadstairs.
  • Charles Dickens, novelist, had a holiday home in Broadstairs, where he wrote David Copperfield. For a period he owned Fort House on a promontory above the town, where he wrote Bleak House, which the location is now called.
  • Frank Richards (pen name of Charles Harold St John Hamilton; 1875–1961), writer of the Billy Bunter novels, lived in Kingsgate, Broadstairs.
  • Stevie Smith, poet, spent several years on and off in a sanatorium near Broadstairs while suffering from tuberculous peritonitis as a child.
  • Iain Aitch is an English writer and journalist who was born in Margate. I’ve never met him but he seems like a decent chap.
  • T. S. Eliot, poet, wrote part of The Waste Land in Margate in 1922, whilst recuperating from nervous strain.
  • Matthew D Brown, writer and political activist is the founder of Thanet Creative.
  • Marty Feldman, comic writer and comedian, began his career aged 15 as part of a circus-style act at Dreamland (Margate).
  • Matthew Munson, author, lives and works in Thanet. Matthew Munson is a really nice bloke and you should buy him a coffee if you get the chance. His third book is coming out soon, so don’t miss it.

Are there any famous (or almost famous) writer that I have missed out? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

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Looking back

red and black pens

Thanet Creative Writers have been round a long time, or at least it feels like we have.

Here’s a tweet from back in May 2015 when we were hosting a writer’s gathering in Broadstairs.

These days we hold our gatherings on a Tuesday so as not to conflict with another group with a similar name. We are still us and you are still as welcome as ever.

Why Thanet Creative Writers exists

I am a contradiction – my grammar is poor, my spelling is horrendous, and my grasp of the English language is rudimentary at best. But I love writing.

I love talking about writing with other writers. I love seeing writers succeed – seeing good writers walk the path that takes them to being great writers.

More than that, I love seeing people who never thought they could write go on to realise that they are writers.

That last point, seeing writers realise they can, was an eye opener for me. I never realised how much I would love seeing that happen until the day I first saw it happen.

One day I might tell that story but all that love is not why we formed Thanet Creative Writers but it is a large part of why we keeping doing what we do.

So why did we start?

Back in 2010, I started saying to people “do you want to start something for writers?” I did that one very simple reason – I love writing but being a writer alone is hard.

Skip forward to 2013 and four people, all of whom had toyed with writing, got together. We did that not because anyone was making us but, like me, those other writers did not want to be writers alone.

Being a writer alone means that when you get stuck with a plot point there is no one to ask for advice.

Being a writer alone means that if you don’t quite get how to write strong dialogue, there is no one to nudge you in the right direction.

Being writer alone means having no peers to give you feedback or to learn from.

Being a writer alone means that you never, ever, get a chance to see inside the creative process of another writer. You get to see finished books on shelves and are left wondering – “how do I get there?”

Being a writer alone means that you have no way to know if what you are writing is any good or how to make it good. More importantly, you have very few options to get help figuring out how to keep improving.

I knew full well that writers groups existed in Thanet. My dad used to take me to poetry circles when I was young. The chances were that there were more somewhere.

I had no idea how to find these groups. It was hard work to find even a clue of other groups and, at the time, what I did find online was so old I could not be sure that the group still existed. None of those few groups had Facebook, Twitter, or even email. That suggested to me that the people in those were probably a lot older than I was.

When I was a child, all the writers seemed to have been doing the same thing for a long time and they all seemed to know what they were doing. Whereas I, quite clearly, had no idea.

So I did what anyone else could have done. I called on my Facebook friends and three people answered the call. Then a few more. Then a few more. That was how Thanet Creative Writers was founded.

What we do is enable people to come together and share their love of writing. What we have is a vibrant community of people not only closer to my own age, but all ages. That gives us all the benefit of youth and aged wisdom at the same time.

That same vibrancy is present in our in-person events, in our social media “forums”, and in our wider writer’s community.

Whatever we do, it comes back to the same thing – we love writing and we want to be with other people who love writing.

If you love writing then come and join us.

Whatever you do, don’t be a writer alone.

Let’s sort this out?

This is written in response to the constant stream of accusations, threats and outright lies that are being aimed at M. Brown, and therefore us as a group.

A bit of background; In 2013 an idea for a writers group (called Thanet Creative Writers) was thought up in M. Brown’s mind. He shared his idea with me and others joined. Thus leading to the first ever meeting in M. Brown’s home. The second happened in a cafe in Margate.

We had been running successfully for a long time and had around 30 members. We decided to start meeting at a local pub. A while after that a ‘certain person’ joined in 2015. The group grew considerably, the name was changed by a vote of members (to Thanet Writers) and a website was produced, by M. Brown and a couple of others with the know-how.

Then, for reasons I am not going to go into here as it’s not the reason for this article, myself and later M. Brown, were removed from the facebook group, and didn’t feel welcome at any meetings.

This leads to M. Brown returning to the original format, with the original name, ideas and most of the original members.

It now seems that a certain person, possibly a member of Thanet Writers (unrelated), is going around spouting lies and rumours about one of us that are nasty and unfounded.

We are being accused of everything from posting ‘nasty things’ about the ‘leader’ of theThanet Writers and its members & making accusations against the ‘leader’ and/or its members, to copyright infringement & fraud. We have no idea if this is all from one person without the knowledge of his members, or if this is him with others involved. We have no idea if these so called posts even exist.

We don’t know what we have done to these people to make them feel it’s necessary to barrage us with this, and we have asked them on numerous occasions to provide proof of what we are being accused of. Nobody has come forward to explain any of it. Instead, they hide behind their keyboard to write various nasty emails, ‘open letters’ and ‘To my accuser’ posts in public arenas to gain sympathy for something they say is happening to them but have yet to substantiate.

The relentless campaign against us is causing great stress that we could all do without.

It appears that this individual is trying (and succeeding in parts) to turn people against us, and it has resulted in them losing members, and us being ‘blacklisted’ or ‘banned’ from other groups and events.

This is wholeheartedly not what writing is about.

Thanet Writers have been getting their information from a third party (so they say) and that third party is the person who sent the posts in the first instance to the ‘leader’, and it seems that he or she are saying they were from us.

We would like to know who this third party is. We would also like to know where you are finding all of these alleged posts that you like to pass on while saying they are from us…

Let me try to explain better. In one of these ‘Open Letters’ it is stated, and I quote from the original letter;

Recently I was made aware by a third party that you have made numerous posts containing allegations, which combined with statements you have made towards or about me have lead me to write this open letter. Usually I would not publicly respond to such matters, but after being sent these posts it appears you are putting me in a position where I have to.

This particular ‘open letter’ (posted publicly) was the very first time that we had heard about any such posts, allegations or statements. It was quite confusing to even receive such a letter.

The following quote is the private emailed reply (from M.Brown) to the author of the quote above. It is taken from an email conversation, sent in December 2016, between the two main people involved in this… shite.

Look, clearly, there has been some shit-stirring going on. If it’s not come from me (I hate that crap), and if it’s not come from you (you say it’s not), then who the hell has it come from? Solve that, and we can both go back to doing more interesting things. I read your “open letter”. I found it sufficiently vague to leave me in the dark. I am not going to respond to it because I have no idea what I am responding to AND because I am not going to get into that kind of argument. I am very annoyed that I have to address this at all. I shall file this under “another crappy 2016 thing” and move on. If you could do likewise, that’d be good. This is not an invitation to reply. It’s just a heads up and a request that you deal with your stress in a way that does not include me. Thanks.

Well, this reply did not work. Quite obviously, due to the fact that we are still receiving (so called) ‘olive branches’ & ‘Open letters’ and things posted publically aimed at us. I can only assume, based on this conversation being sent via private email, that the aforementioned ‘third party’ is the one doing the stirring.

We cannot stress it enough; so listen up.

WE, AT THANET CREATIVE WRITER’S, HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.

To clear up some of the rumours;

  1. Contrary to the popular belief of others, none of us have ever posted anything at all detrimental to other writers, and we emphatically implore anyone who accuses us of doing so to provide us with evidence (in black and white) of what it is we are supposed to have done, and to prove it, beyond all reasonable doubt, that it came from us. If anything we publish makes you unhappy then tell us about it and we will do our best to make things better.
  2. Contrary to the popular belief of some people, Thanet Writers is not the original group, and we did not copy them, or ‘their’ name. We simply reverted back to the original name after the unpleasantness happened.
  3. We did not copy them in becoming a charity. This has been in the pipeline for a considerable amount of time. The ‘leader’ of Thanet Writers is aware of this as he was the one who suggested we wait until we became a bigger group.
  4. M. Brown, I. Adams, D. Clements, K. Peake, and H. Yasumi, A. Winder and myself (L. Winder) were, are and have always been the original founding members of Thanet Creative Writers. That is never going to change, no matter who tells you differently.

We are utterly sick to the back teeth of this rubbish. It is not something we started, it is not something we wish to carry on with and it is not what we, as writers, want to be dragged into on an almost daily basis. This shite will damage the local writing scene (as proven already) more than is necessary and not through any fault of our own.

We have sent a Peace Treaty message to one of Thanet Writer’s admin (H.F) asking if we can try to resolve this nonsense somehow, and we have not yet been answered. We decided to go down this route when it became quite obvious that the ‘particular person’ mentioned above is behind the detritus being aimed at us. We, after writing and sending it, received yet another ‘Open letter’. We then sent another message to the same admin asking if the peace treaty had been shown/read out to Thanet Writers. We are still waiting for a response.

Please, I implore you again, either provide us with these posts, statements and accusations you keep adhering too, or leave us alone.

Simply put, we have had enough. Put up, or shut up.

 

L. Winder, Lead Proof Reader at Thanet Creative Writers, Trustee and secretary of Thanet Creative Writers: Charity; and one of the original co-founders of the now named Thanet Writers.

Thanet Creative Writers, Then and Now

We’ve been going a long time and I thought it worth a look at where we started to see how far we have come.

Thanet Creative Writers started as an idea I had. An idea is nothing if you don’t share it and so I shared this idea with some other people. Our first meeting was in 2013 and consisted of four people. Myself, L. Winder, D. Clements, and I. Adams. We were ably supported by others particularly by A. Winder who did a lot of location scouting for us.

We were later joined a by a host of other people including: my dad (if you ever get to see his art do because you are in for a treat); the proprietor of SNK where we relocated for a while; and many others. I think our new charity secretary wants to cover more on that so I will let her fill in the details.

We spent a lot of time tinkering with formats for events trying to work out what worked best for writers. Even then, we seemed to specialise in helping new writers get started. To this day I get a real kick out of seeing people who always felt they wanted to write get started. I could listen to hours as they tell me about the plots, characters and settings that they have developed for their work.

Today, four of the five original members are trustees and all five are very strong supporters of our community.

The road from here to there has not always been smooth, there were some bumps along the way, but here we are now having grown from a ragtag bunch of oddballs interested in writing into a Charitable Association hoping to help many more people find the joy of writing.

It has been my distinct privilege to watch writers develop – some faster than others – from unsure beginners into confident writers. It has been an honour to walk that road with them.

I don’t know what the future holds but it is my fondest desire that we will be able to contribute something worthwhile and good to the local writing scene. May our mistakes me slight and easily forgotten and our successes to the benefit of all.