Welcome to Dorking’s local writers group

Phoenix Writers are looking for new members!  We're a diverse, friendly - and supportive - group who come together because of a shared love of writing. Ranging from beginners to experienced (and published) writers, we write novels, poetry, short stories, plays, articles and memoirs. We are interested in all forms of writing and experimenting in different fields. Come and try us out for an evening, and see what you think. See you soon!

We are delighted to have come members of the National Institute of Writing Groups’.

Monthly Meetings

Following government guidelines we are now meeting in person at the Stepping Stones pub on the last Wednesday of every month starting at 7pm.  We continue to following Covid19 procedures where possible.

Venue:  Lincoln Arms, Dorking, Surrey RH4 1TF.  Last Wednesday of each month @ 7.30 pm.

Dates for 2021

27th January
24th February
31st March
28th April
26th May
30th June
28th July
25th August
29th September
27th October
24th November
December - TBC
Contact us to find out more!


Justine John

After thirty years in corporate life in London, half of which was running a successful events company, Justine John decided to take a chance to write the novel that was ‘in her’ since she was a child. Gilding the Lily is the result of this and is a gripping domestic noir story.  Justine is also co-Chairman of the group

Portrait of Justine John, author

Alison Allen

Alison Allen joined Phoenix two years ago, impressed by the supportive atmosphere of the group and the talent of its writers. Having completed an MA in Creative Writing at Roehampton University last year, Alison is currently working on a novel for children. She also writes short stories and poetry: a recent success was first prize in Writing Magazine’s Open Poetry Competition for her poem ‘Not a Prayer’.

Margaret Graham

Margaret Graham, previously best known for her writing on ‘chair’ yoga, (Keep Moving, Keep Young: Gentle Yoga Exercises for the Elderly) is now a successful playwright for amateur theatre.

In 2014 and 2016 Ifield Barn Theatre’s productions of her 1960’s sell-out comedy/dramas - Miniskirts & Revelations; then sequel Flowery Shirts & Strange Relations - received NODA awards. Thought-provoking Benches followed in 2017 and farce Rita’s Revenge in October 2019. (Margaret’s script-books available through Amazon.).

A selection of publications by Author Margaret Graham

Hugh Timothy

Hugh Timothy has been a member of Phoenix Writers’ for nearly 17 years and ran the group as Chairman for 12. This year sees the publication of two collections of his poetry ‘Stepping Into Verse’ which is in fact a reprint of an earlier publication with added poems including published winners of national competitions.  His other collections include ‘Shapes’, ‘Shades’ and ‘Words in Edgeways’.

Richard Howard

Richard Howard’s latest book of short stories Tales of the Lost brings us face to face with some very strange encounters and some unexpected twists along the way. Each story has its own unique world and is told in a very direct style. As the author says in his introduction, the themes for these later stories are darker in mood than his earlier works. The longest of them, Flora’s Return, was inspired by what the author regards as ‘the finest ghost story ever written’, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.  Richard has also published ‘Strange Tales’ which focuses on ghosts, vampires and forces of nature.

Visit Richard’s website.

Lena Walton

Lena Walton holds down two jobs yet still finds time somehow to write. Her first novel Jewish Days Arab Nights was self published on Amazon in 2014. She is preparing the sequel Not Quite Gaza for publication this year. And her latest endeavour is a dark psychological thriller called The Dark Side of the Hill which she is  luckily being represented by a Literary Agent for.

Jewish Days Arab Nights - Available on Amazon.

Jess Newton

Jess fell into writing as a teenager, tempted by the dark world of fanfiction. She dabbles in science fiction, fantasy and romance, always with queer characters at the centre of the action. Her stories are the ones she wished she could have read as a teenager, when she often struggled to find characters she could identify with. Her first book, Posterity, is due to be published by Gurt Dog Press in winter 2021.”  Use photo attached.


Out of the Ashes

We are delighted to announce that we have now published our first anthology for twenty years.  Out of the Ashes showcases some of our best work to date. We will be launching Out of the Ashes at our Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival event on Wednesday 27th October at the Stepping Stones Pub, Westhumble Street, Westhumble, Dorking RH5 6BS from 7pm.

Book your place at our Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival event.

We bring you the latest collection of our work and invite you to relax and lose yourself in imaginary places and wonderful settings; explore the depths of truth and fiction, travel into the future, and the past; be transported to exotic foreign destinations and return to your own with a renewed love for reading. You can buy a copy of Out of the Ashes online.

Book cover for Out of the Ashes from the Phoenix Writers‘ Circle

Gilding The Lilly - Justine John

Justine John’s novel has been acclaimed as a ‘stunningly disturbing debut thriller’. It’s a gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies. An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics. One reader wrote: ‘This story kept me reading and couldn't wait to turn the page, and likewise can't wait for Justine John's next book. If you like mystery touched with realism, then you must become a fan’. See more visit Justine's website.

Book cover for Gilding the Lilly, by Justine John


Launching Out of the Ashes in October

We will be taking part in the annual Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival. We will be launching our book Out of the Ashes, our first Anthology for twenty years.  We will be reading some of the work included and book and you will be able to purchase your own copy.

Arts Alive 2021 colourful graphic

April 2021 meeting

In April 2021 we will welcome Kate Hardy to our online meeting. Kate has written several books and self-published some, but now has a traditional publishing contract with an independent UK  publishing house called Tartarus Press.

She has been a full-time writer for many years, lives in France and has two rescue greyhound dogs.  Her latest novel is called Londonia and is a dystopian fiction novel set in 2072. Read more on publishers website.

Book jacket cover of Londonia by Kate Hardy

May 2019 meeting

Our May 2019 meeting saw a visit from successful author A D Flint who published The Burning Hill earlier this year - available from Amazon.  A D Flint read from his book and talked to us about the benefits of self-publishing via crowd funding.

The Burning Hill book cover

Oct 2019 - Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival 2019

October 10th at The Stepping Stones Pub, Westhumble Street, Dorking RH5 6BS

Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival 2018 - was a great success. Phoenix Writers’ Circle presented readings from members published or yet to be published work.

The event included extracts from  novels, short stories, plays, and poetry.  The event was generally regarded as a great success. Phoenix Writers were joind by members of the sister group Mole Valley Scriptwriting Group.

Arts Alive logo

November 2019 meeting

Our November 2019 meeting will see a visit from Wendy Yorke - an author coach who provides professional book manuscript editing services and works in association with the Susan Mears Literary Agency, as a professional literary agent, helping people to navigate and journey through the mainstream publication process.  We are looking forward to welcoming her. Visit Wendy’s website.

portrait of Wendy Yorke, seaside backdrop

Join Us

Here are just a few reasons to join Phoenix Writers Circle:

We’re a like-minded group of people – sometimes writing can be lonely and we can help encourage and support your own aims and ideas.We provide challenges and deadlines for you to exercise your creativity and ideas – we decide on a theme for a piece to write about each time we meet.

We provide objective viewpoints and critique work in progress.

We help you be critical of your own work and encourage you in your genre.

We sometimes arrange visits from authors and other writing professionals to inspire and teach us.

We love getting together and discussing our work, among other things!


Get in touch

If you are interested in joining, you are welcome to come along for an evening to meet the group and get a sense of how we work

For further details of venue, dates and times please contact the secretary. No December meeting

You can send us an email by clicking the link below. Or email secretary@phoenixwriterscircle.co.uk or chairman@phoenixwriterscircle.co.uk

Make contact by email
vintage typewriter in a graphic style