May 2011 Newsletter Society of Medical Writers Patron – Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE                              President Prof Brian W McGuinness

Newsletter 16 /May 2011


Dr Dorothy Crowther

Corner Croft, Lonsties, KESWICK, Cumbria CA12 4TD

Finance Officer:

Dr Richard Cutler

30 Dollis Hill Lane LONDON NW2 6JE


Mrs Irene Ranner

Devils End, All Saints Way, Beachamwell SWAFFHAM Norfolk PE37 8BT

Editor: (acting)

Dr Mary Anderson

1 Ballbrook Ave, Didsbury M20 6AB


Dear Fellow Writers…………


Greetings to everyone. I trust that practice is not too stressful and that your writing is fulfilling and successful. I am afraid that the SOMW has some very sad news. Our Editor, Michael Lasserson, is retiring from his post as Editor of The Writer due to ill health. Michael has been a remarkable editor and the journal has flourished under his leadership. This is a huge loss for the Society and we send Michael our best wishes for a speedy recovery. We thank him for his wonderful dedication and faithful service over many years. We are very grateful to Mary Anderson for agreeing to collect articles for the Journal; Electronic submissions if possible please. It is our plan to create an editorial team, subject to agreement at the October AGM.


We are pleased to announce that Oliver Eade will be leading a Creative Writing Workshop at the forthcoming Medical Humanities Conference. We are delighted that Oliver can represent us in this way. Anyone who has taken part in one of Oliver’s sessions at an SOMW conference will know just how good his session will be.

Also, I would like to ask people to let us have news items to include in future newsletters – copy to the Secretary please.

                             Dorothy Crowther (Chairman)



There are several vacancies on the Committee, Vice Chairman, Competitions Secretary and Journal Editor. Who will volunteer? Please do consider joining us – we would make you very welcome and we are all well ‘house-trained’!


Spring 2011 Writing Competition Congratulations to the respective winners and runners up:



Winner – Paula Lawrence;

Runners Up – Mary Anderson & Dorothy Crowther; Commended – Henry Tegner & Oliver Eade.


Non Fiction:

Winner – Harold Selcon;

Runner Up – Oliver Eade



Winner – Richard Westcott;

Runner Up - Norbert Hirschhorn;

Commended - Norbert Hirschhorn & Christopher Cameron.

Certificates will be posted to you all in the near future. Our thanks to our judges for the time spent on judging and for their comments on the work presented, also to Competitions Secretary, Dr Dorothy Crowther, who despite wearing this hat also wears that of Chairman and still has time to process your all entries! 


Spring 2011 Conference Report

13th April – Our SOMW Spring Conference was held at the Art Workers Guild, Bloomsbury: a lovely historic building in a central location. Thanks to everyone who came and made it such a success. One delegate emailed:

The talks were fascinating and thought provoking, and the free flow of coffee and delicious sandwiches were very much appreciated.  It was also lovely to have plenty of time to chat with many old friends and to make some delightful new acquaintances.

Andrea Holland, (Writing Competition Judge) presented the prizes and we persuaded Chris Cameron to read his prize-winning poem. After the  meeting several of us went to a nearby Italian Restaurant for a chat and an early supper. A full report will appear soon in 'The Writer.' We are planning to hold another one in April 2012. We hope to see you there.  Dr Mary Anderson (Co-convenor)


The Richard Asher Prize for Medical Writing.  (previously named the ‘Scientific Writing’ Award)

Nominations required – only the name of the paper, by whom and in which publication required. Self-nomination acceptable! Email details to our Secretary, who will then pass details on for consideration.


Future Conference plans:

The Association for Medical Humanities are putting on a fascinating conference: 11th -13th July 2011 at Leicester University. The Drama of Medicine – "All the Ward's a Stage". Special Guests: Danny Abse and Jed Mecurio. Booking and programme via their website: 

Dr Oliver Eade will be representing SOMW and running a Creative Writing Workshop at this event.

Academic Summer School – plans are still being formulated and details awaited.

Irish Medical Writers AGM: River Lee Hotel in Cork on Saturday, 1st October 2011. More details will be posted on their website at: or contact  - direct.

Autumn Conference & AGM – 7th and 9th October. Details are enclosed with this newsletter.



Address / email changes. Please continue to ensure that your personal details are correct. Especially your email contact –if incorrect emails get ‘bounced’ with no way of finding out your new contact details!

Writing Competition – Please submit entries for the Summer Competition as soon as practicable, but by mid July if possible. Please mark envelope ‘SOMW Competition’ when submitting entries and ensure that each entry is accompanied by the appropriate entry form – no multiple entries on one submission form please!