Monday, 29 November 2010

Double Honours for Quentin Blake

Illustrator Quentin Blake has demonstrated his exceptional ability to make children laugh by being shortlisted for both age categories of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2010. Set up in 2008, the prize is awarded to books that make children laugh.

The judging panel comprises of Michael Rosen, Shappi Khorsandi, Philip Ardagh, Bruce and Nicolette Jones. The winners have now been released however and the winner of the Funniest Book for Children under 6 went to Louise Yates and the winner of the Funniest Book for Children aged between 7 and 14 went to Louise Rennison. Louise Yates stated that she was inspired by the works of Quentin Blake as a child.

Interested in writing comedy? Take a look at our resource centre for writer's to help you along your way.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Academy to support commissioning GPs

An academy to support GPs as they embark on their commissioning venture has been set up by the National Association of Primary Care, in partnership with consultants from KPMG. In addition, the Royal College of GPs has announced plans to set up a centre for commissioning with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. Both have been set up following anxiety expressed by GPs that they are lacking in expertise and support when it comes to commissioning services.

The Chair of the National Association of Primary Care has stated that 'we are delighted to have been able to develop plans for the academy with KPMG.' Working with UnitedHealth UK, the National Association of Primary Care have published a guide to support GP commissioners further.

Need support with your information analysis of documentation? Check out our health care support services

Thursday, 25 November 2010

New bilingual ezine seeking submissions

A very exciting development in the bringing together of French and English creative material - ezine Onirismes is a bilingual international webzine in English and French. It publishes speculative and fantasy short stories and poetry.

Submissions are open to international writers for unpublished short stories, between 2,000 and 4,000 words in length. Poetry is all accepted; anything of a 'reasonable' length is welcomed.

Payments of 60 euros are given for short stories and of 20 euros for poetry submissions published. This payment secures exclusive world rights for 6 months and non-exclusive rights for a further 2 years.

Drop them a line at if you have a submission or query.

Interested in writing? Check out the Words Worth Reading website!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Costa Book Awards 2010

The shortlist for the Costa book awards has been announced. The category winners will be announced on the 5th January 2011 and the Costa Book of the Year 2010 winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on the 25th January.

The categories are:

- Costa First Novel Award
- Costa Novel Award
- Costa Poetry Award
- Costa Children's Book Award
- Costa Biography Award

For a full list of the shortlisted authors, check out the Waterstones website.

Fancy writing your own book? Check out the Words Worth Reading Ltd writer support resources at our website.

A couple of creative links!

A recent trip to the Christmas Country Living fair in london helped identify a couple of fabulous websites for anyone creative to have a nosy at: is a great place to look for pictures, ceramics, cards, knits and small gifts love making words out of anything!

And of course, we're a great place to look for creative writing, design and communication!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Galaxy National Book Awards winners

Terry Pratchett and Martin Amis were both awarded with lifetime achievement prizes at the Galaxy National Book Awards in London last night for their contributions to the literary world.

Other winners included;

- Hilary Mantal, who won the Waterstones' UK author of the year award 2010
- Jonathon Franzen who won the International author of the year award
- Edmund de Waal for his book 'The Hare with the Amber Eyes', won the National Book Tokens best newcomer award
- Stephen Fry's Chronicles out ran Tony Blair's memoir and won the biography of the year award
- 'Plenty' by Yotam Ottolenghi won the food and drink book of the year
- David Nicholls took the popular fiction book of the year award with his book, 'One Day'
- Andrew Marr's 'The making of modern Britain' took the non-fiction book of the year award, and
- Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler won the children's book of the year award with their book 'ZOG'

Thinking about writing? Check out the Words Worth Reading writing services

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Student march against rise in tuition fees

Students are marching in London today to demonstrate against the rise in university tuition fees.

'Some 24,034 students have registered to take part in the march, and many have purchased seats on coaches booked to ferry students to central London.

The largest student contingent is expected to come from London-based universities, which are anticipating more than 5,000 marchers to show up. About 3,200 students from other universities in the south-east have said they will attend, with more than 4,500 students signed up from the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside. The march is organised by the National Union of Students and the lecturers' union, the University and College Union (UCU).'

The Guardian is reporting on the progress of the march periodically throughout the day:

For student services visit our pages on the Words Worth Reading website.

75 years of RNIB's Talking Book service

Audio books are a joy for all listeners and their versatility means that they can be enjoyed by listeners of all ages. The RNIB are celebrating the 75th anniversary of their Talking Book service. The service arose from a demand from soldiers who lost their sight in the First World War.

'The Society of Authors and the Society of Publishers lent the service their support to avoid copyright problems and the Post Office granted cheap postage rates. By September 1937, 966 specialist 24 rpm players had been sent out to readers with 42 new titles recorded.'

'around 75m books on vinyl, cassette and now special compressed CD, have been issued free to more than 2 million people. The most popular authors include JK Rowling, James Patterson, Agatha Christie, Danielle Steel, John Grisham and Jodi Picoult. Over the last 12 months Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, Dear Fatty, by Dawn French, and How to Cheat at Cooking, by Delia Smith, were among the most popular listens.'

For more book discussions visit our forum.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Barbara Karmel exhibits new works

It has been 15 years since a bequest by collector Barbara Karmel has been displayed at the Stanley Spencer Gallery in the English painter’s former hometown of Cookham. 12 new works have now been chosen for the Gallery's winter exhibition.

The focus of the works for this season is on Spencer’s youthful romances with village girls Dorothy Hepworth and Emmy Wooster. The artist since wrote of his love for both women, who he apparently dated at the same time in promenades around Cookham.

Four oil paintings and eight drawings from the Bequest are joined by paintings on loan from other collectors.

The exhibition is open Thursdays to Sundays until March 2011.

For more creative news, check out our facebook and twitter pages!

Stephen Collins wins Graphic Short Story Prize

The Cape/Observer Short Story Prize is now 4 years old and continues to go from strength to strength, with a range of high quality judges adding their weight to the credibility of the award.

Hundreds of people entered the 2010 competition, with a longlist of 20 finally picked. A short list of 6 was then drawn up and from that the final winner announced - Stephen Collins's Room 208.

Room 208 is about a couple whose honeymoon is cut short by bad weather. Retreating to a hotel, a strange inertia falls over them and they find themselves unable to leave. Collins, 30, lives in Hertford, where he makes a living as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator. When asked why he decided to enter he replied:

"Well, the brief was quite open-ended. That made it a much nicer thing than most of my usual commissions. And the layout required by the Observer was quite useful for what I wanted to do in terms of double-page spreads. I like comics that use the possibilities of the old-fashioned, printed, double-page format. I'm not sure, for instance, that this would work on an iPad or one of the frame-by-frame comics viewers you get online, which is rather the way comics are going at the moment. I think they'll lose something in that change, but maybe I'm just a luddite."

His idea was inspired by the way couples have their own private world, one that nobody else really has access to. "I wanted to do a love story, but one that was ugly and a bit weird."

Anna Mill's Square Eyes took the competition's runner up prize.

For support with short story writing, check out our Writers section of the main website.

Taking steps towards your future career

In your first years of university, building towards your career can seem a strange prospect. However, it is the ideal place to start. There are plenty of resources available at university that are geared towards your future steps. Part-time jobs and career centres are excellent ways to start. A recent Guardian career forum focused on the subject: 'What can undergraduates do to start preparing for their careers?'. Some of the expert's answers are below:

'Spend time talking to careers advisors about your interests and transferable skills, do your research and consider trying out something through an internship to see whether certain roles appeal to you.'

'You can never have too much experience - but it important to balance your studies at the same time as other activities. '

'For the summer and winter there are opportunities, although you might have to look further afield for smaller companies and opportunities as there are not as many structured programmes. There are other experiences that whilst you might not think are as valuable that can help make money and provide a steep learning curve for example Telesales provided me an opportunity to learn about the fundamental of sales, persistence, drive and the importance of not taking your first no!'

'don't feel you have to commit right now. Today's job market is more flexible than ever before, especially at the early stages in your career. Apply for opportunities that look interesting to you and be open to seeing where they might take you.'

Writing a CV and constantly updating it is a positive to keep your future career in mind.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Student debt disaster

As the government announces that University fees are likely to increase to circa £9,000 a year, as a nation we have to ask ourselves if what we are doing to the youth of today is really all that fair. Yes, of course cuts across the economy have to be made and this includes essential public industries such as education, health and emergency services, but is it justifiable to laden down young teenagers and twenty-somethings with debts that could easily grow to £40,000 before they've even graduated? Particularly when their job prospects on leaving university leave little to be desired at the moment.

I attended university a little over 10 years ago and yes I spent too much money in the first term, I ended up living on baked beans on toast for the last month before the next student loan installment kicked in, and I had 3 jobs to see me through my 3 year degree course. I still walked away with a double whammy of debt - the overdraft and credit cards I'd used to fund my social life and the student loan I'd used to fund my course fees and accommodation. As a child from a middle class family I wasn't eligible for any sort of student grant - hence the excessive use of the overdraft. But my debts totalled £13,000, maybe £15,000. A large sum don't get me wrong, but still only a third of what the latest generation of students are likely to face.

Walking out of University with a debt that totals £30,000 - £40,000 can be crippling and is a fairly hefty motivation to miss out on University all together. Whilst high earning families may be able to front the additional charges, middle class and working class families are likely to do a detour around the University pathway, and opt for trying to secure some form of employment instead. And that's such a shame for a country that has pushed the important of higher education, and that houses some of the top Universities and greatest intellects in the world.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

How to cope with interviews

The Guardian job forums this week focused on how to cope with interviews. You can be the most composed, articulate and personable person but in an interview situation you go to pieces!
Attending for an interview can be an extremely nerve racking experience. Being fully prepared will make the process a whole lot easier, allowing you to put the nerves to one side and start on the journey to a successful interview and to securing that job! Words Worth Reading can offer interview preparation packages to help you ace your interview.

Denise Taylor is a chartered psychologist and an expert in assessment and recruitment. She offers some advice for body language in the interview:


'whenever I'm in an interview, even though I don't feel nervous, as soon as I open my mouth, my voice starts shaking and my body language comes across as being not at all confident. I think I am able to rationalise nerves, but my body language betrays me and expresses my hidden, rationalised emotional state! I have no problem talking to people from all backgrounds and stratas of society on a daily basis, but put me in an interview environment and I go to pot! '


'There are various techniques that can help; something I share with my career coaching clients is to talk outloud as much as you can. this can be as you prepare for the interview, say the questions out loud bot silently in your head. Then just talk about anything as you travel to the interview, easier if you are driving I know, but you could talk outloud as you walk towards the building. It makes you more relaxed.

Also, breath deeply, get yourself centred and remember times when you have found it easy to talk with others and imagine yourself there.

Rather than see this as an all important interview where the power is in the interviewers hands, you could reframe it to be much more two way, it is as important that you decide if you want this job and to work for this company. Then see yourself as a consultant talking about your job.'

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Primary Dental Providers called to register with the CQC

November 2010 marks the beginning of the registration period for dental providers. All practicing independent care providers should have completed their registration by the beginning of last month (October) to make way for the registration of primary dental services.

If you are a primary dental service provider you should have by now completed your enrolment form and submitted it to the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The next stage is to start compiling your evidence and to complete and submit your validation form.

For further information on the Care Quality Commission's requirements, visit their website.

Visit our website for details of the support we provide to dental and independent providers with the completion of their CQC registrations.

Shocking new graduate employment statistics

Neil Faulkner from reported today that more than 1 in 10 graduates are unemployed after leaving university. This is the highest proportion of graduate unemployment the UK has seen for 17 years. His article begs the question; “Would you pay £6,000 a year for an undergraduate education only to be unemployed at the end of it?”

Whilst unemployment levels in graduates soar, following the Government spending review a large proportion of universities are going to charge £6,000 a year for students to attend university, due to the recommendation that the current cap on fees is abolished. At £6,000 a term, students who study for 3 years are likely to walk away from university with debts of £18,000….and then let’s not forget the fact that a great number of students also take on further debt to manage their lifestyle and living costs. So the question is, is university really worth it? Let’s look at a few deciding factors:

Average graduate earnings

Graduates often start off earning a similar amount to non-graduates; however this changes quickly over the years.

Again, quoting Faulkner, in 2008, a typical 21-year-old graduate earned just £17,472 a year, while a non-graduate with A levels earned £15,912 a year.

However, the typical 33-year-old graduate earned £37,960 a year, while the typical 34-year old non-graduate earned just £27,768 a year.

Average extra lifetime earnings

On average, graduates earn an extra £160,000, or 23% throughout their lifetime.

Subject matters

There are wide variations in average earnings depending on the subject studied at university. Arts graduates for example, earn just £35,000 extra on average during their lifetimes compared to non-graduates, whilst medicine graduates (unsurprisingly) earn a massive £340,000 extra, on average, during their lives.

Earnings grow steady in early years

Regardless of which degree you take, earnings for graduates do grow at a constant rate in the first few years.

Do degrees always pay off?

Well not always no. Without a degree you can still always earn more than the average graduate, particularly if you are able to secure a training place with a big company. Degrees are also expensive and can leave you with a lot of debt which can take years to pay off. And don’t forget, not all undergraduates go on to complete their course, with 20% of students dropping out of university before they complete their final assignments.

Its not all doom and gloom for graduates however! Despite the rising statistics, graduates are less likely to be unemployed overall, and the average financial benefit is greater for a graduate than a non-graduate. In addition, research shows that women gain greater financial benefits from university than men, as women who don’t go to university tend to earn a great deal less than men who choose not to attend.

To help boost your university success rate, check out the Words Worth Reading student and job seeker packages.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Catherina talks about manuscript editorials

Catherina, the Director of Operations for Words Worth Reading Ltd, talks about her experiences in manuscript editorials and proof reading.