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Congratulations to Beatrice Charles – winner of the November Monthly Guy Fawkes competition.

Her 500 word account of his life was just wonderful, superbly written and factually accurate – well done!

‘We pride ourselves that we live in a multi-cultural country. We teach our young to celebrate the differences which exist between us, whether that be our colour, culture, sexuality, disability or religion. We urge understanding and mutual respect. And rightly so.

How strange then that each year our children celebrate a crime which was inspired by religious intolerance. For such is at the heart of the Gunpowder Plot and the history of Guy Fawkes, the person who is synonymous with the conspiracy.

The background to the story of “gunpowder, treason and plot” is well known. The Roman Catholic population of England had become disaffected. Under King James I laws were made requiring Catholics to worship only in the Church of England or to pay a heavy fine. Masses were forbidden and anyone found conducting or attending one could be sentenced to death.

It was against this background that Guy Fawkes was born in York in 1570. His widowed mother married again when the young Fawkes was just 8. His step-father, a Roman Catholic, refused to comply with the new laws. It was no doubt his influence that led Fawkes to convert to Catholicism. At the age of 21 Fawkes left England to fight on behalf of Philip of Spain against the Protestant Netherlands, adopting the Italian version of his name, Guido. Whilst in Europe he unsuccessfully attempted to enlist support from the Spanish king to finance an uprising in England.

Meanwhile, back home, discontent amongst the Catholic population was growing. A plot was devised led by one Robert Catesby to destroy the Houses of Parliament. To coincide with the explosion in parliament Catholic uprisings in various parts of the country were to take place with the aim of putting Princess Elizabeth on the throne as a Catholic monarch. Catesby recruited Guy Fawkes as one of the main conspirators.

The date of the attack was set as the 5th November 1605 to coincide with the King’s Speech when the monarch and senior members of both houses would be present in the chamber above. Fawkes was in the cellar to light the fuse, the others in various positions throughout the countryside to lead an uprising.

It was less than 24 hours before the planned explosion when the treason was exposed. It is not certain whether by spy intelligence or a tip-off from someone who did not agree with the plot, but the under cellar was searched and Guy Fawkes arrested. Taken to the Tower of London he was tortured to release the names of his co-conspirators and four days later signed a confession. On 31 January 1606 he was finally taken to his place of execution. Fawkes died quickly, having either slipped or jumped off the gallows. He was thus spared the more gruesome disembowelling that was part of the sentence for treason.

So as Bonfire night comes around, it is perhaps an appropriate time for us to dwell on the consequences of intolerance and the disaffection it can cause. Remember, remember…’

December’s Writing Competition

This month is one of my favourites – the Christmas themed treasure hunt. Believe me, it’s as much fun for me to prepare as it is it for you to complete. And, it’s becoming a bit of a tradition too!

It’s quite simple really. This is what you have to do – follow the clues below, discover the letters, re-arrange them into a well-known Christmas Carol, send the answer to us and then wait and see if your name is picked out of the hat.

The Prize

Because it’s Christmas, if we do pick your name from the hat, we’ll send you a shiny new copy of our fantastic Comprehensive Creative Writing course. This is ‘the’ course to take if you’re not sure what type of writing you’d like to do. It covers many different kinds of fiction and non-fiction writing as well as teaching you all about the publishing business, including how to find markets, how to contact publishers and how to deal with legal issues. You’ll be able to try your hand writing articles, short stories and non-fiction books and much more. By the end of the course, you should know what kind of writing really floats your boat! Sounds great, right? So let’s get on with it.

I’ll go through the first letter with you:

Start at, ignore titles and subtitles and start counting lines at the start of the first paragraph on the page you have been directed to. When you move on to the next clue, go back to the starting point

1. About Us – line 1 – word 3 – letter 3

Click the About Us tab, find the third word on line one and note down the third letter – you should arrive at the letter R

2. Scroll down the page to the Creative writing FAQs – Can I become a Published Writer? – line 1 – word 2 – letter 2

3. Student Stories – Writer of the Year 2013 – click green link stating read Hannah’s story – line 1 – word 4 – letter 2

4. Resources – E-zee Writer July 2013 – Expert Advice – line 1 – word 3 – letter 3

5. Other Writing Courses – How to Market Your Book – Line 1 – word 7 – letter 3

6. Student Stories – click green link to Writers Bureau 20th Anniversary Award Winner – line 1 – word 4 – letter 1

7. Student Community – Discussion Forums – Successes – 2nd article published in the Telegraph, November 3rd – line 1 – word 4 – letter 4

8. Resources – Freelance Market News – line 1 – word 3 – letter 5

9. Other Writing Courses – Complete Copywriter Course – line 1 – word 1 – letter 4

10. About Us – line 1 – word 1 – letter 1

11. Scroll down to Creative Writing FAQs – How to Study – line 1 – word 1 – letter 5

12. Resources – Blog – Interesting Video on Writing Methods – line 1 – word 3 – letter 2

Now, re-arrange the letters and send your answer to us by the 31st December 2013.

And, because it’s Christmas here’s an extra clue – it’s the beginning! Once you’ve found the answer please send it to: with ‘Treasure Hunt’ in the subject line by the 31st December 2013


Rules of entry:

1. Entry is free and is open to everyone.

2. Type your answer in to the body of the email.

3. There is no limit on the number of entries you can send, but please include only one entry per email.

4. The winners must agree that The Writers Bureau can use the winning entry and their name in promotional activities (including social media such as Twitter, Facebook etc) and on their website for a period of up to two years.

5. Entries that do not comply with these rules will be automatically disqualified.

6. Judges: Susan Metcalfe – Chairman and Diana Nadin – Director of Studies.

7. The Judges’ decision is final.

8. No correspondence will be entered into.

9. The prize offered is non-negotiable.

The winner will be announced before 15th January 2014

Entries must be received by 31st December 2013


Louise Kennedy"The Writers Bureau has given me the confidence to follow my dreams. My tutor was lovely, encouraging and offered me great constructive critcism.

"I started a daily blog to chronicle our adventures living aboard a boat from a fresh and creative viewpoint... our cat's! Things really took off with the blog and I was offered a book deal with Bloomsbury."

Louise Kennedy

Read Louise's full story.

Association of British Correspondence Colleges
British Institute for Learning and Development

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