The History of Thanet Writers

The background of Thanet Writers, from the group’s origins as a writers’ meeting, through the launch of the website, to becoming a publisher.

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Thanet Writers was created by a group of Thanet-based writers, authors, poets and journalists in 2015 as an organisation to support and promote writers with a link to Thanet, but the group can trace its beginnings back much further.

There has always been a strong literary legacy in Thanet, with many well-known writers connected to the area. In recent times, many local writers have come together to form or be part of writers’ groups, and that is where Thanet Writers began.

In 2013 a group known as Thanet Creative Writers met first in the home of one of the members, and then later at a local café ran by another. After some months the group stopped meeting, but maintained a presence on Facebook. In late 2014 a small group of local writers, some from the former group known as Thanet Creative Writers, began meeting on an informal basis with a view to potentially start a regular writers’ group. Other former members of Thanet Creative Writers came on board and used that name to increase membership to this new writers’ group, which was now flourishing.

By 2015 the group had adopted the name Thanet Creative Writers. It had been passed to them by the founder of the former iteration of Thanet Creative Writers, who was now involved in the new group. They began discussing the possibility of doing more to support local writers, and the concept of running a website to publish local writing, as well as forming a non-profit organisation to support the local community, were agreed upon as future goals. The group then unanimously voted to remove the word ‘Creative’ from the name and formally became Thanet Writers.

Throughout late-2015 and early-2016 two agencies were tasked with designing and building a custom, fully-functional website, and the eventual result was a huge success. On April 15th 2016 thanetwriters.com launched with local press coverage and support from over fifty local writers. The online community quickly developed and the site rapidly outgrew its original platform, leading to a redesign of the content management system after only a few months to cope with the increased traffic and user numbers.

In September 2016 Thanet Writers held its first Annual General Meeting and became an unincorporated charitable organisation as a way of formalising the structure and looking at future goals, and in March 2017 Thanet Writers registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC Number: 10690420). The founding Directors of Thanet Writers CIC were Hannah Fairbairn, Lannah Marshall and David Rowden.

In 2018 Thanet Writers received funding, thanks to being supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Thanet Writers became able to pay writers £10 per accepted submission for non-exclusive print rights.

Upon achieving funding, founding Director Lannah Marshall stood down to progress her personal career. In her place, Matthew Munson joined the Directors. Thanet Writers then released Shoal, its inaugural fiction anthology, at the Margate Bookie in the spring of 2018.

Thanet Writers began supporting three local writers’ groups to increase opportunities for local writers within Thanet, offering extensive support for all three groups for the entirety of 2019. During 2019, Matthew Munson stepped down as a Director and in his place Lee Stoddart was appointed.

Since its creation Thanet Writers has evolved from a writers’ group to both a publisher and a network that connects local writers, groups, and organisations. Contributors, supporters, and associates of the network include Margate Bookie, Kent Poetry, Dead Island Poets Society, Writers Unleashed, The Word Literary Festival, Whisky & Beards Publishing, Turning Words, West Bay Writers, and many others along with over two-hundred writers.

Thanet Writers CIC is now in a position to grow further and the Directors are working to support writers throughout Thanet, along with continuing to publish work on thanetwriters.com by writers connected to the area. The next steps Thanet Writers take are also in your hands. By offering suggestions and getting involved, however you see fit, you can support this exciting new project. We look forward to working with you!

Thanet Writers is a community for writers, authors, and poets, offering writing advice and support, stories and poetry, reviews and news.

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