The Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing, 2016

Members might be interested in this prize offered by Jeremy Mogford, who writes:

I am lucky enough to have enjoyed a lifetime in the hospitality industry with my involvement with Browns Restaurants, Rules in London and my current Oxford collection of the Old Bank Hotel and Quod, the Old Parsonage Hotel and Gees Restaurant.

The city of Oxford has been an historical centre for literary excellence, so it seemed the perfect idea to create and sponsor an annual short story prize which specifically included the subjects of food and/or drink within the plot. The first prize of £7,500 was awarded in 2013 and the prize has steadily grown in popularity, attracting over 450 entries in 2015.

We are now inviting entries for the fourth annual prize of £7,500 to be awarded during the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival in April 2016.

Food and Drink has to be at the heart of the tale. The story could, for instance, be fiction or fact about a chance meeting over a drink, a life-changing conversation over dinner, or a relationship explored through food and drink. It could be crime or intrigue; in fact any subject as long as it involves food and/or drink in some way.


Applicants are invited from anywhere in the world. They can be published or unpublished authors, but the entry itself must be previously unpublished. The story should be up to 2,500 words and must be written in English.Entries should be submitted by email as a Word document to by March 6th 2016, midnight GMT (one submission per person). Entrants should also supply their home address, email and telephone number.

The shortlist of four will be selected by March 17th with the winner decided on by March 29th 2016.

The prize of £7,500 will be presented at the annual Quod Party held during the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival at the Old Bank Hotel on Thursday 7th April 2016.

Jeremy Mogford

Great start to year

Thank you Barbara Hudson and Philip Davies for a really wonderful talk on the journey from getting a book idea to signing with a publisher and what comes after.

It really was an interesting evening and quite touching for me as I thought back to January 2012 when so many writers, with the dream of being published, turned up to our first meeting. Four years later  many of them can call themselves a published author.

It is not easy, as both Barbara and Philip explained, but if you keep going and don’t let the rejections depress you, dreams can come true and you could be writing a series before you know it.

Thank you all who have made this group such a pleasure.

We will continue to meet on the last Wednesday of the month.


January Meeting

Wednesday 27th January 2016 at Blackwell’s Bookshop
Publishing experiences from the Group

Two of our members have won publishing deals in the last 12 months and they will be sharing their experiences with us. The ups, downs and what to expect when the magic happens:

For the first half, we’ll hear from Philip Davies who has had his first book published – he’ll tell us about his experiences so far, what the has learnt and what the potential pitfalls are. Then Barbara Hudson will talk to us about getting a deal for her book Timed Out and the trials and tribulations of sending out her next book.

The talk on self-publishing will get an eveing all of it own later in the year.

December meeting on 16th

We thought we would do things a little differently this year, so we will start at 7pm-8pm at Blackwell’s Bookshop for Port, Mince Pies and please bring along an excerpt to read from your own work or a poem/passage from a favourite writer to read to the group. Then from 8pm-9pm, for those who wish, we shall retire for a Christmas tipple in the White Horse next door.




Dear wonderful members of Group 2012, I really appreciate all your loyalty and support this year.  We have tried to bring great speakers to you whenever we can. However,  this year we have struggled to meet all of the cost as members have moved away or not been able to attend for various reasons. Would everyone be comfortable with membership going up to £25 next year? The guest payments would also rise to £5.


Recruiting more members would help us provide better events in the future, so please do tell all your writer friends.

An Evening with David Mitchell – not to be missed

BLACKWELL’S OXFORD PRESENTS: An Evening with David Mitchell

Saturday, November 28th at 19:00 – 20:00

We are delighted to be hosting an intimate in store event with author David Mitchell to talk about his latest novel, Slade House.Described as ‘A gem of a novel from one of the most brilliantly inventive writers of this, or any country’ (The Independent) Slade House was born out of the short story that David created on Twitter in 2014 and takes place in the same universe as his bestselling The Bone Clocks. Enter the magical surrounds of Slade House and you’ll be greeted by a stranger who invites you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. This unnerving and intricate tale reaches it’s breathtaking conclusion on Hallowe’en 2015, as every nine years on the last Saturday in October a ‘guest’ is invited/summoned to Slade House but why and for what purpose?
This very special event takes place in the Norrington Room of the shop and includes a complimentary glass of wine upon arrival. Tickets cost just £5 and can be purchased from the customer service desk or by calling 01865 333623.

David Mitchell was one of the authors featured in our authors to read if you want to be a writer event, so don’t miss the chance to ask him questions.


The Bookseller’s Author Day

Publishers Pan Macmillan and HarperCollins, and the literary agency Peters, Fraser & Dunlop will provide authors with face-to-face advice and feedback as part of The Bookseller’s inaugural Author Day, taking place at 30 Euston Square on 30th November.

The three companies will run an open-submissions as part of the event. Authors will also be invited to submit unpublished manuscripts to editors and agents and spend 10 minutes each discussing the manuscript or publishing process.

Publishers and editors from Pan Macmillan and from HarperCollins’ divisions Harper Fiction, The Borough Press and Harlequin will be open for submissions during the day. PFD agents, including Robert Caskie, Adam Gauntlett, Rachel Mills, Nelle Andrew, Laura Williams, and Marilia Savvides, will take submissions as well as invite authors to discuss anything from their latest manuscript, successful e-book publishing, how to get an agent, or how to sell foreign rights.

Ahead of the event PFD will also run two Twitter sessions, asking authors to submit their questions via social media. These sessions will take place between 3pm and 5pm on the 12th and 13th November, using the hashtag #authorday, with three authors who pitch the best question invited to attend Author Day free of charge.

Booking for all of these sessions will open on Friday 6th November, with appointments made on a first come, first served basis. Only confirmed Author Day attendees may apply for a slot and must do so via Sandra Williamson (

Porter Anderson, associate editor of FutureBook and programme director for Author Day, said: “We are delighted to bring this additional strand to Author Day – it is an issues-driven event open to all authors wherever they are in the publishing process, and these sessions mean authors can now also receive hands-on advice from professionals about many aspects of the publishing process, including that most important of activities, the pitch.”

Emma Bravo, communications director, fiction and partnerships, at Pan Macmillan, said: “We are very much looking forward to being a part of this vital and vibrant conversation between publishers and authors of all kinds.” Lisa Milton, incoming managing director at Harlequin, said: “HarperCollins are constantly engaged in the hunt for great books for their readers. Events like Author Day help us to keep close to the author of that content and the challenges and issues they face.”

Author Day is The Bookseller’s first ever author-specific conference, and brings together speakers including Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors (SoA), Orna Ross, founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, as well as authors and illustrators including Sarah McIntyre, Kate Pullinger, and Dave Morris.

Author Day is part of The Bookseller’s FutureBook Week, and leads up to the FutureBook Conference (4th December). For more on both these events and to book tickets, click here.

November with the Booksellers

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 25th November 2015 at Blackwell’s Bookshop
Books We Love, Why We Love Them and How We Sell Them
Our panel for the evening consists of some of Blackwell’s finest booksellers. They will talk about the books they love, what qualities they look for in books and they’ll also demystify how books are selected for promotion and turned into bestsellers.

This promises to be a interesting and fun evening. If you are self publishing then it is even more important to find out what makes sellers tick as you will be selling your books to them.

October Meeting: Writing for Children

Writing for Children

Wednesday, October 28th at 19:00 – 21:00 At Blackwell’s Bookshop

An evening discussion exploring the diverse and competitive industry of the Children’s Book Trade, with panel experts Julia Churchill, Charlotte Guillain and Abbie Rushton.
The panel will be discussing all aspects of writing and publishing for children of all ages, sharing their tips, stories and advice. Julia Churchill is Children’s Agent at one of the UK’s leading literary agencies, A M Heath. With over ten years experience of working as a literary agent in Children’s publications, Julia Churchill represents some of the finest children’s writing talent in the world. Authors represented include Sarah Crossan, Cat Clarke, Noel Streatfield and Holly Webb.
Charlotte Gullain is a prolific author of children’s fiction, non-fiction and picture books. Her latest series of books feature a boy called George and his adventures, with the latest in the series ‘Socks for Santa’ out now. Charlotte also worked for years within the children’s publishing industry as a commissioning editor.
Abbie Rushton is a teen fiction writer, her debut novel ‘Unspeakable’ was published by Little Brown in February this year with her second novel ‘Consumed’ due for publication April 2016. In her daytime job Abbie works as an editor in Primary School Education books, offering editorial knowledge in the children’s non-fiction market.