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Writers' News Interview

Posted on 30 March 2004. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Derek Hudson, editor of Writers' News and Writing Magazine, the popular monthly paper and bimonthly magazine for new and aspiring writers. To subscribe call the subscription department: 0113 200 2929 or subscribe online at http://www.writersnews.co.uk and have your magazines delivered directly to your door.

Tell us something about your background.

For twenty years - chief reporter and defence correspondent of the Yorkshire Post, covering national and international events as well as regional stories - eg Northern Ireland, the Icelandic ‘Cod Wars’, African famine, the Middle East, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the 1982 Falklands War. Later - a news editor and editor of YP special supplements, covering everything from military and local history to travel, food/wine and business. Over 35 years there has been an award for campaigning journalism, lots of news stories plus a bit of almost everything else in journalism: travel articles, book reviews, theatre/television crits, humour, a regular antiques/collecting column, a crafts column for a colour supplement, sports and business reports, local history pieces, the odd newspaper leader. Once, working in the Yorkshire Post’s Hull office, I was pressed into service as a greyhound tipster for the sports pages - not one winner. There was something wrong with the pin. Plus - contributions to non-fiction books - including several chapters in a paperback about the Police hunt for Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper; a chapter in ‘Falklands Remembered’, in aid of a forces’ charity, edited by Iain Dale, of Politico’s; am now working on a chapter for a book celebrating the Yorkshire Post’s 250th anniversary out in September.

Can you tell us all about Writers’ News/Writing Magazine and how and why they began?

Writers’ News was launched in 1989 by author, journalist and publisher David St John Thomas (formerly of David and Charles). Our sister Writing Magazine started up in 1993. Writers’ News is a monthly subscription-only magazine and Writing Magazine (included in most subscribers’ packages and available on news stands) is bi-monthly, although we plan future one-off editions, such as a ‘special’ for beginners coming out in April, 2004. We believe our magazines provide an excellent service for writers - we would say that, wouldn’t we? - offering interviews with big names and other successful authors, how-to advice on fiction and non-fiction writing, children’s writing, copywriting, short stories, poetry, screenwriting, technology, market opportunities, competition news and photography (which is of growing importance to freelances). That’s the plug, folks. The Yorkshire Post bought the business in 1999. Having taken ‘voluntary redundancy’ a few years beforehand and working as a freelance, I was keen to get started when offered the editor’s job. The Yorkshire Post was then owned by Regional Independent Media who sold their regional press empire to Johnston Press three years later. Johnstons don’t ‘do’ magazines, so they sold us to Warners Group Publications, Bourne, in late 2002. This was a good move for us. Warners specialise in magazines and so, from being that strange lot tucked away in a far-flung corridor, we were teamed up with similar spirits, who knew a lot about magazines.

What kind of submissions/themes/issues are you interested in at the moment/near future and why?

We like well-written articles about writing, preferably 900-1,000 worders - whether thoughtful interviews with published writers, from bestsellers to newcomers; answers to problems; and the good old how-to, especially with a personalised twist. A humorous approach is welcomed where it fits in. It’s useful when contributors detect early signs of a new trend. For example, we have been carrying stories about small publishers who specialise in local books. Many writers are getting into print down this avenue. We’re always pleased to read success stories from our subscribers.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

Like most people, a pretty mixed bag: Richmal Crompton is on the list, because of her hero, ‘Just’ William Brown, who battles against crushing odds for the right to wear crumpled socks and dusty boots and live on cream buns and liquorice water; Rudyard Kipling for ‘Kim’; Kenneth Grahame for ‘Wind in the Willows; Charles Dickens, especially for ‘Great Expectations’, ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Pickwick Papers’; Sebastian Faulks; Robert Harris (especially for ‘Fatherland’; I am looking forward to ‘Pompeii’ coming out in paperback in April); Paul Theroux for ‘Riding the Iron Rooster’ and the ‘Great Railway Bazaar’), Isabel Allende (‘The House of the Spirits’ etc).

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Nik Perring at 12:59 on 28 April 2004  Report this post
As a subscriber to both Writers’ News and Writing Magazine, it was nice to see how honest and well informed its editor is. Very reassuring.

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