A Network of Writing and Community Publishers

Newham Writers Workshop

01 May 2012

Festival of Writing

Saturday 21st June 2011


If you have any pictures or video clips


You can send them via email to:


or by post to:

25 Cumberland Road
East Sussex
TN39 5BU

Please send us the writing you did in the workshops
and it will be displayed on the website

WRITING and ARTWORK Submission Form

Your Name: jan hedger

Group (if any): GROW

Title: Working Memories

Newham Festival of Writing - 25th Anniversary 21st May 2011

Working Memories - Workshop (Jackie Premitt)

My notes & finished piece

1st Brief

Visualise and write about a room from memory – describe – how does it make you feel?



Back door with wooden panels. Red patterned lino floor. Two doors to the right, one to the cosy, welcoming living room. The other a cellar door – closed holding it's secrets. Pushed against the wall, a large rectangle, white wooden table, with three chairs around. Opposite a white enamel sink, chipped along its front edge – by me when I was five!

Thin material hung as curtains, the colour and pattern escapes my memory. Next to the sink, a cooker – clean, but showing signs of age – very well used! On one of its rings, a chip pan always sat. The only other furniture, was a home-made cupboard, with a pale blue door and I remember wire mesh in one of its panels.

Wallpaper, with flowers, slightly peeling at the corners.

A happy place – a family gathering place, despite other rooms in the house, making me feel warm, nurtured and loved. Sometimes though, when arguments broke out, I didn't like the kitchen and would hide behind the cellar door (our cellar was clean and swept, it had a light you could switch on, so it didn't scare me, like my Aunts cellar next door.

Once there was a chip pan fire – I didn't like it at all then.

2nd Brief

See a person in the room, in the context of the time you described the room, and describe the person, what are they doing in the room?

My Mother

The person is my mother. Although many tasks were carried out in the kitchen, it is the memory of her standing at the cooker, that is the strongest. Looking weary and worn-out tired – yet always unruffled, coping.

Navy blue cotton frock with white spots, belted at the waist – not quite a full skirt, that would be two extravagant. Covering her arms, always a cardigan and when cooking, sleeves pushed up. Mom never wore an apron.

Cooking chips at a Saturday tea-time, my nephew – not yet two – on one hip as she shook the chips in the pan and all the time, holding a conversation with the family gathered in the kitchen. Except Dad, who would be quietly sitting his armchair in the next room, waiting for the classified football results.

3rd Brief

Write a poem ( or piece of writing) 'around' one's notes, making changes if need be. Or write from 'fresh' of another room, time or place.

My Response Poem

Back door flung open, bringing in the scents from the potted plants, hung on the whitewashed wall.

Red Geraniums, Candy-tuft, blue and white trailing Lobelia and sun orange Marigolds; bright with fresh watering – they broke the routine of her day.

The baker called, the milkman called, the window cleaner knocked for a bucket of water and the dustman clattered metal bins. She knew them all by name.

All came to her kitchen door, but none crossed the threshold onto the patterned lino, or graced the kitchen table; each, including her, knew their place.

Her place now, was at the tired looking cooker, she knew how it felt, so treated it gently, coaxing the blue flame into life and heat, to melt the lard in the brown veined chip pan. Watching it slip from a whole, into a bubbling liquid; into which she lowered the basket of the first batch of snake peeled King Edwards, the best potato for chips, carried home from Charlie's that morning, in a newspaper lined old shopping bag.

For today was Saturday. Match day! Blues were at home, and soon they would be home ; her family. Win or lose, they would all want to shake malt vinegar over her crisp coated chips and re-write the game.

Jan Hedger (GROW)

I ran the following workshop at the 25th anniversary of Newham Writers, Writing Festival 22nd May 11. It was a great success, producing much discussion and writing from everyone. Fabrics were ‘caressed’, photographs ‘pored’ over and objects ‘handled’ in true ‘Bargain Hunt’ style! The time went far too quickly! Thanks to all who attended and participated, I enjoyed your company and valuable input!

Many thanks to Newham Writers for the invite and for putting on a great social and writing day!

And thanks to GROW for transport and bonhomie!

Jan Hedger


Photographs, & Objet d'art!

What do they say to you? What do they evoke? Reality or non-reality? The past or the present. Or do they take you into the future? Let your senses transport and captivate you in this ‘hands on’ workshop.

We will look at, and discuss fabrics, photographs & objects; how they can work for you to prompt the release of your writing skills.

So come along to Jan’s Attic – there won’t be any cash, but the rewards will be bountiful!

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