Swanwick Writing School Derbyshire

I am here!

This is my fourth time here. I have been meeting up with writing friends and making new ones.

Last night we had a very entertaining talk by John Lamont.

Today I am going to the poetry course run by Alison Chisholm and one on writing picture books for children.

I have a lovely room overlooking the lake.




Catch up

It seems ages since I wrote a blog post.

Writing wise I have been updating my book, ‘The Diary of Teti Tuti aged 12 and half summers ,’  making it into a paperback version and adding illustrations.

This is now ready and will be published soon.

I have also been writing a few new poems and was pleased to see I was shortlisted in this month’s writing magazine in the children’s poetry competition. There is also a mention of my poetry book, ‘Turning the map over’ recently released.  This is my first collection of poems and it can be bought on Amazon.

I am pleased to say that I will be off to the Swanwick writing school again in August, having booked my place. I am looking forward to meeting up with my writing chums.

I have been busy sorting out my family trees. I started family treeing over thirty years ago and about twenty years ago I put all my records on a Family Tree Maker programme on my computer. I was pleased to see that this can sync with Ancestry.com which means I will never lose my info. I have 1,700 people on my trees. I have traced most family lines.

When I first started my family tree research I was forever travelling to London ( St Caths, the census office, Society of Genealogists)  and all over the country looking at parish registers and visiting various records offices, how amazing that so many records are now available on Ancestry.com and all you need do is click your mouse!    Not only that but I have found some new cousins.  Now what I want to do is make all my family trees into books.


Turning the Map Over. My first poetry collection now out.

I am pleased to announce that my first poetry collection is now out.

Available on Amazon in paperback or as Kindle.

new cover for book


This is Shirley Anne Cook’s first collection of poems.
They are inspired by a variety of themes, ranging from childhood memories to reflections on the complexity of life.
Most of the poems in this collection have won or been placed in established competitions.

‘Turning the Map Over’ is a stunning first collection. The maps of the title are routes through places, cultures, times past and relationships. They are explored with candour and vision, through varied, finely crafted poems which are enhanced by fresh insights and vivid imagery. Evocative and focused, this collection is as moving and inspiring as it is memorable.’
Alison Chisholm, Poet and Tutor.

‘An outstanding debut from a frequent prizewinner on the poetry scene. This first collection will rattle your bookshelf with a language that dances and sings. ‘Turning the Map Over’ takes you to places you have never been before. Enjoy!’

Pauline Suett Barbieri, Waterloo Press, Hove.

About my sequel to Body Trapped, now out, feeling under the weather and a poetry comp shortlisting.



I published the sequel to Body Trapped last week on Kindle called Body Trapped Two. Makes sense  🙂  What do you mean you haven’t read the first one?  Get a move on! They don’t cost much on Kindle.

Basically the first book is about 12 year old boy Lee who ends up in 15 year old Gary’s body and there is no way to get his own body back. Or is there? Read the books to find out!

Body Trapped won first prize in the 2009 Swanwick writing school awards which gave me a free week at the school in that year. It’s a great place to go and meet like minded writers. I couldn’t go this year but hope to go back in 2016. I missed going and meeting up with my writing friends.

Bad news this week I have been struck down with the dreaded lurgy, a cold. Guess I caught it at work in school.  Never had such a bad cough but hubby is making me lots of hot soup and I mean hot, with chilli. Lovely.

Other news, I have been shortlisted in a very prestigious poetry competition out of 7,000!  I can’t say yet which one. So watch this space.  bodyrapped

First prize in the Mary Charman-Smith poetry competition


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I had some wonderful news today. My poem ‘Sandstorm’ came first in the Mary Charman-Smith poetry competition.

It will be on the above web site soon.

I also have a poem runner up ‘Care homes for poets’ in the new issue of Writers’ Forum out today.

Here is that poem. There is a reference in this poem to one of my favourite poets. Can you see where it is and guess who I am referring to?
Answers in the comments please.

Care homes for poets

They are opening care homes just for poets.
Mornings will be spent reading
and analysing favourite poems.
Life stories will be told in ballad form
and newly penned poems critiqued.
There are bound to be disagreements
over style and form with much
stamping of swollen feet.
Chair exercises will be conducted
in time with rhyme, and poetry recitals
given to family and friends.

In the afternoons the poets
will be taken into the garden
to study beads of rain on leaves,
or a hackneyed shard of sunlight
filtering through the trees.
Someone may unearth a dead fox
cradle it in their arms and cry, ‘This is my baby!’
A nurse will wrench it away saying,
‘There’s no more to be said.’

In the evening the poets will doze
and suck on lost-lipped mouths,
although the occasional
epitaph may be composed.
At precisely 8pm the poets
will be lowered into half-baths.
Then they will be dried
and shrouded in their sheets.
Struggling to sleep they will
think of a hundred ways
to write about their dying.

After death


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After death

I am donating my body to medical science.
Trainee surgeons will dissect me –
stomach, fingers, legs, arms.
My skin will be prised apart
to expose garish yellow layers of fat
and chalk-white bones.
Organs will be labelled.
A careful and detailed
dissection to aid a student’s
understanding of the anatomical arrangement.

My brain should yield valuable
information about blood supply
and the consequences of its interruption.
Students will scrutinise the cortex,
hippocampus and ventricles.
They will know my brain inside out,
but they won’t see the many poems
that were waiting to be written.