Winchester and Mid-Hants Observer Newspaper Article


The book launch for ‘Writing and What-not - A Miscellany’ was held on Friday 2nd December 2011.

In the warm glow of The Hyde Tavern, with the spicy scent of mulled cider in the air, a toast was raised to the authors of the book, ‘Writing and What-not - A Miscellany’.

Bound in a striking, purple cover depicting an ammonite composed of fragments of words, this paperback book is a collection of works written by the members of Winchester-based ‘Pencils and What-not.’

The group, which formed last year, has flourished, with many members receiving acclaim for playwriting and local and national competitions. There is real camaraderie amongst the writers, who all contributed to the book, including submissions, editing, layout, illustrations and publication.

 “A book is only half done until it is read,” said Hilary Gregory, Chair of Pencils and What-not. “And this book contains a selection of our writings, wonderfully put together by a band of amazing, talented and hard working people.”

Gill Johnson, Deputy Chair, agreed. “There is something for everyone in our book: poems, stories, really moving memoirs and some funny observational pieces. It’s definitely a great read!”

Friends, family and some locals who had popped in to support the launch enjoyed chatting to the authors, discovering more about the inspiration for their pieces in the book and getting copies of the book signed.

Nicky Morris, creative writing teacher at ACE, was invited as honorary guest, since it was at her Tuesday morning classes that the members of Pencils and What-not first met. “It’s lovely to be here,” she said. “And I’m really looking forward to reading their new book.”

With monthly meetings, and smaller workshops, Pencils and What-not took their name from an Eeyore quote by A.A. Milne: “This writing business; pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it.”  

Well, perhaps for these sixteen writers, who are already planning to publish a second book next year, there is something in it after all.


Photograph of Nicky Morris and Hilary Gregory by Christina Cummings.

‘Writing and What-not ~ A Miscellany’ by Pencils and What-not is available to buy at P&G Wells Book Shop, Winchester and by ordering through

To win a copy of the book, simply answer the following question: What is the full title of Pencils and What-not’s new book? And contact The Winchester and Mid-Hants Observer. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.