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rochdickensOn Friday 7th February – Charles Dickens’ 202nd birthday – members of the Rochester & Chatham Dickens Fellowship attended the first local evening screening of the film “The Invisible Woman”. The film is currently being shown at the Odeon Cinema in Dickens World Leisure Complex, Chatham. The film is based on the book by Claire Tomalin telling the life story of Ellen (Nelly) Turnan. The controversy from a Dickensian scholar’s point of view is a tantalising question: did Charles Dickens have a platonic relationship with the young actress or a love affair? There is also controversy over his separation from his wife, the mother of his ten children – and indeed whether Ellen Turnan had a child by Charles Dickens (or even more than one!). I am sure that Dickens scholars will continue arguing over this for years to come.

Whatever the truth about Ellen Turnan and Charles Dickens, members enjoyed the film and found it well acted and produced. There is local interest in the film: Chatham and Rochester get a mention and part of the story relates to Gad’s Hill Place in Higham. A lesser-known fact is that Ellen (Nelly) Turnan was born on March 3rd 1839 in Maidstone Road, Rochester and baptised later that month in St Nicholas’ Church.

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lady of the helm Matthew Munro, from Chattenden, has been writing books since he was 13 and has now seen his first book published through the wonders of the internet. In its first week of publication “Lady of the Helm” – written under the pseudonym T.O.Munro – has had nearly 300 copies downloaded to kindle devices as far afield as Japan, India and France.

In writing the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy, Matthew was greatly helped by his daughter Tess, aged 12, for whom the reading of the latest instalment became a night-time ritual. Her reaction to the story and her engagement with the characters was a great motivator to keep writing. More

Get your heart racing and learn the tricks of the trade at an introduction to crime fiction writing at Gillingham Library. Crime and Mystery Twilight is on Tuesday, 21 May at 7.15pm. Tutors from The University of Kent’s access to higher education diploma will be offering this free taster session, with no obligation to carry on studying afterwards.
Places on this free course can be booked by phoning 01634 337340.

booksInterested in art and creativity? Feeling a little stuck?

Come and mingle with like-minded individuals and share coffee and ideas. Open to everyone interested in creativity – if you’re a beginner or someone more advanced.

Activities planned include speed debating, Parashare – bring a paragraph to share from a favourite book or your own writing, and other writers’ games.

This event is part of the Other worlds, other voices Rochester Literary Festival.
Saturday, 23 March 10am to 12noon, Strood Library. Book your free place by phoning 01634 335890 or just turn up on the day.

Tap into your inner creative writer at a workshop with a Medway-based award-winning writer. Poet Philip Kane will lead the workshop entitled – What if? – at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre where he will help guide wannabe writers into the art of creating alternative histories and parallel worlds, using the archive’s resources along the way. The workshop is on Saturday, 9 February from 12noon to 3pm at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, Clock Tower Building, Former Civic Centre site, Strood.
Workshops costs £5 but places are limited so booking is essential, phone 01634 332714. Please bring your own writing equipment.

This month (July) Medway Libraries is encouraging visitors to be creative, and meet new people in the process.
Strood Library is hosting a social event on Saturday, 14 July for those people who are interested in writing, painting, photography and acting.
The idea is to encourage people from all age groups and walks of life to meet and mingle. Open to all artists from beginners to professionals.
Creative minds: meeting like minds is on Saturday, 14 July from 10am to 12.30pm at Strood Library. Places are limited. To book a place phone 01634 335890 or email strood.library@medway.gov.uk

Investigate the difference between thriller and crime writing at a workshop and author talk next month (March). More

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