Announcement

Entries are now open!

We are investigating into the possibility of an online festival for 2021. A final decision regarding this will be announced on Wednesday 25th November with further information.

Entries will remain valid should we convert to an online format, so please enter as usual.

BMAF Creative Writing Section Secretary, Tony Corbin, has just published his latest book, ‘Collezione’.


Look at the index for ‘Collezione’ and you might well ask yourself ‘What do the NHS, The Seven Deadly Sins, Cheese, A Bomb, Trick or Treat, Dementia and Kirstie Allsopp all have in common? The answer is that all (and so many more) are explored within the widely and wildly varied topics of Tony Corbin’s latest published poetry and prose musings.

The book has a distinctly local flavour too. Subjects covered include Whitchurch Silk Mill, the River Test, The Wayfarers Walk, London Street, The Place to be Proud of awards, Basing Trail, Destination Basingstoke and the Bard of Basingstoke. There’s even a ‘talk’ surfacing the unique difficulties of cultivating a garden on the local chalk!

To contrast with the local focus, the book offers a great opportunity in these Covid constrained times for the reader to ‘armchair travel’. Travelogue extracts in the book cover Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Argentina and Canada. 

You will find the content itself, irrespective of subject, ranges from the pithy through parodies to the profound. The advice is to simply ride the ‘Collezione’ journey and let the content entertain, inspire or enthral you.

The book is special in other ways too. £1 from every sale is destined to go to the local area ‘Inspero Community Hubs’. These ‘hubs’ provide valuable support to those who have ‘fallen on hard-times’. An excellent ‘stocking-filler or birthday gift, ‘Collezione’ is available now for order on Amazon UK either as an e-book (at £4) or as a paperback for £6.50. For more information you can call Tony on 07801 166223 or email him at: collezione@kempshott.plus.com

And finally… a reminder from Tony that the 2021 BMAF Creative Writing Competition entry deadline is now only a matter of weeks away… namely Monday 14th December.

A Big Thumbs Up and Thank You to the Litter Picker

The 2020 BMAF Creative Writing winning play script was broadcast on Basingstoke Community Radio on 29th September. There were plenty of listeners too based on all the complimentary feedback received by BMAF, the Radio Station and Silchester Players Theatre Company, whose members performed the one-act play.

If you missed the 15 minute broadcast and would like to hear the performance too, click here: Listen to the Litter Picker Play

Our thanks to Silchester Players (performers/producers), HH BCR (as providers of the broadcast medium) and to Ann Stonehouse, our winning author, for adapting her winning BMAF 2020 Play Script for radio. 

Finally, it could of course be you in 2021. Take a look now at the BMAF Creative Writing competition syllabus by selecting ‘Sections’ Creative Writing on the website home-page.

Listen to Selected Winning Entries

Listen to last years creative writing entries using this link

Titles, names, and categories that were won can be found in the below table.

ForenameSurnameGroupTitle of PieceBMAF Category
AmberMilliganYear 6The Peril of the Amazon RainforestCW1 Articles
MylesHarfieldAdultFrom Gravitational Waves to RabbitsCW3 Articles
SamRobinsonYear 6Yours Faithfully – A Child of TodayCW5 Letter Writing
EllieBartonYear 2An Exciting PlaceCW8 Poetry
AlexisHunterYear 3TrappedCW9 Poetry
AmalieClarkYears 5&6What Will Happen If?CW10 Poetry
ChloeTarlingYear 13If I were a Polar BearCW11 Poetry
GeoffBurnesAdultPanic in the North PoleCW14 Short Story
NidilanSrikajananYear 8The Mystery Only One Could SolveCW15 Short Story
KateGilesAdultAuriol – Reimagining GoldilocksCW16 Short Story
ImogenTononYear 7A TearCW22 500 Word Flash Fiction
ChloeTarlingYear 13La PoetaCW25 Poem into a Poem

Performing On Air

Silchester Players (SP), Helping Hands – Basingstoke Community Radio (HHBCR) and Basingstoke Music and Arts Festival (BMAF) have each been required to adapt to changing circumstances as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. They are now performing again, but not in a conventional way!

First of all, a brief explanation of how these innovative local voluntary groups came to collaborate together. In 2019, BMAF’s Creative Writing Section Secretary, Tony Corbin, and Helping Hands’ Basingstoke Community Radio Station Manager, Christine Rowley, herself a keen writer and previous entrant to BMAF’s Creative Writing Competition, hatched a plan together. The result was the creation of an audio e-book entitled ‘Local Lines’. This comprised 18 selected entries from the 2019 BMAF Creative Writing competition. Sales raised over £300 for the respective charities. 

Suitably encouraged, 2020 ‘Place to be Proud Of’ award winning HHBCR added a new weekly programme to their schedule ‘Poems for Pleasure’. This is hosted by another BMAF Creative Writing Competition entrant and past winner, Stephen Bibby. He and Tony soon came up with the idea of reading a winning entry from the 2020 BMAF Creative Writing Competition at the start of each weekly broadcast (currently between 1 and 2pm on a Tuesday).

The readings have been well received and have spawned further ideas. One is the ‘Bards of Basingstoke’ initiative. This offers budding writers across the Borough the opportunity to read (or have their work read) on radio. Stephen Bibby takes up the story.

‘It was not as simple as it might at first seem. Come the lockdown, my study became a remote studio where I record my weekly programme. As a result, all contributions come to me as computer files, either as text or as a reading by the author. I then produce the programme which then has to be uploaded and the file format changed so that it can be broadcast ‘as live’ on the radio. So all it takes for any budding Bards in the Borough is an email sent to me, via the station studio@hhcr.org.uk , attaching your verse or if a reading, attaching it as an M4A file’.  

But the tale doesn’t terminate there. Stephen is also a member of Silchester Players who in the ‘old normal’ would have been busy producing and performing their annual panto and three or four other stage productions. Again, the pandemic has thwarted SP’s efforts. That was until Stephen came up with an idea, not just to read the BMAF Creative Writing Competition winning play entry on air, but to perform it instead!

Of course, as with all plays, auditions had to be held.  These took place in a large local garden with strict social distancing measures being put in place. Normally the physical appearance of actors and actresses is a consideration but, on this occasion, the primary concern was the voices. 

So, make a note in your diary for 1 o’clock on Tuesday 29th September. This is when the play “The Litter Picker” written by Chineham resident, Ann Stonehouse and now adapted for radio, will be performed.  Ann commented, ‘It’s wonderful that my play is going to be performed by accomplished actors. It has meant some extra work, but I’m really thrilled and can’t wait to listen in’.

To hear the play, go to www.hhcr.org on your computer, tablet or mobile phone and click on ‘Listen Live’ Alternatively you can ask Alexa or Google hub to find it. More on Silchester Players can be found on their website: www.silchesterplayers.org

For more details of the 2021 Basingstoke Music and Arts Festival Creative Writing competition please contact Tony Corbin (BMAF Section Secretary) via email at BMAFCW@kempshott.plus.com . Full details of the BMAF 2021 Festival will also be available on the website www.basingstokemusicandarts.co.uk when it is formally launched in mid-September.  

The Creative Writing section of the Festival invites entries of poems, short stories and articles as well as plays. If you are successful you could find your play being performed by Silchester Players, in a radio version or, if the Pandemic allows, on stage on 21st March 2021 at the annual BMAF Creative Writing Competition Awards Ceremony. The entry deadline is Monday 14th December 2020.


Changes to BMAF Creative Writing Competition Winning Entry broadcast times on HHcr

On April 17th, we announced the publishing of the schedule for the broadcasting on Helping Hands Community Radio (HHCR) of this year’s winning BMAF Creative Writing entries. Today we need to notify you that, WEF Tuesday 26th May, the broadcast time on HHCR will be changed to 1pm from the current time of 3pm.

As before, the winning entries will be read during the first few minutes of Stephen Bibby’s weekly ‘Poems for Pleasure’ programme. The show currently airs each Tuesday between 3 and 4pm but starting Tuesday 26th May, will broadcast from 1 to 2 pm.

BMAF Creative Writing Section Secretary Tony Corbin said “This is the 2nd collaboration between BMAF and Helping Hands. Last year we published the Local Lines Audio Book in the form of a USB memory stick and MP3 download form This raised over £100 for each charity. This year, we hope we can further raise the profile of both organisations through these broadcasts.”

HHCR is an internet radio station which means those interested can listen via smart phone, tablet, desktop or laptop. To learn more about this volunteer led community initiative, or to listen live, visit https://hhcr.org.uk/listen-live/ To view the BMAF Creative Writing winning entries full broadcast schedule please see the link at the bottom of this post.

Please click on the revised Broadcast Schedule for full details.

Pictured in our previous post below: Adam Yarnton (St. Marks CoE Primary) with his trophy. His winning entry, a short story entitled ‘Panic in the North Pole’ will now be broadcast at 1 o’clock on Tuesday 7th July

Helping Hands Community Radio to broadcast winning entries.

Basingstoke Music and Arts (BMAF) have today published the schedule for the broadcasting on Helping Hands Community Radio (HHCR) of this year’s winning BMAF Creative Writing entries. 

The winning entries will be read during the first few minutes of Stephen Bibby’s weekly ‘Poems for Pleasure’ programme. The show airs between 3 and 4pm each Tuesday and the first reading, Amber Milligan’s ‘The Peril of the Amazon Rainforest’ can be heard on Tuesday 5th May.

BMAF Creative Writing Section Secretary Tony Corbin said “This is the 2nd collaboration between BMAF and Helping Hands. Last year we published the Local Lines Audio Book in the form of a USB memory stick and MP3 download form This raised over £100 for each charity. This year, we hope we can further raise the profile of both organisations through these broadcasts.” 

HHCR is an internet radio station which means those interested can listen via smart phone, tablet, desktop or laptop. To learn more about this volunteer led community initiative, or to listen live, visit https://hhcr.org.uk/listen-live/ To view the BMAF Creative Writing winning entries full broadcast schedule please see the link at the bottom of this post.

Pictured: Adam Yarnton (St. Marks CoE Primary) with his trophy. His winning entry, a short story entitled ‘Panic in the North Pole’ will be broadcast on Tuesday 7th July