The AGM for 2018 was held at the Glen Mhor Hotel on Tuesday, 15th January 2019 at 6.30pm. The meeting heard the annual report, delivered by Chair Paul Shanks. It then approved the new HighlandLIT constitution and the 2018 Financial Statement, re-elected the current committee members, and voted two new members on to the committee - Vee Walker and Conor O'Hararah. See profiles of the committee members below.
Here's the text of Paul's report:
HIGHLANDLIT AGM: CHAIR’S REPORT
2018 has been a successful year for HighlandLIT: we have continued to offer a wide variety of events for HL members and the public and have published a top-notch anthology of prose and poetry. We look forward to building on these achievements in 2019, which promises to be a productive and exciting year.
Author events have continued to attract a wide audience and many of these – both talks and workshops – have been fascinating and inspiring. This year, we additionally held several themed writing workshops to support both accomplished and fledgling authors. Our regular open mic evenings have also been very popular. In April, we launched a writing competition for submissions in prose and poetry under the theme of Highland Light and received a wide range of high-quality submissions from a broad geographic area. The winning selections (plus works commended by the judges) were compiled edited and published as a book-length anthology. Highland Lights, printed by For the Right Reasons with pen and ink sketches by Drew Hillier, was launched in December (just in time for the proverbial Christmas stocking).
In organising monthly events, our positive relationship with the Glen Mhor and Waterside continues and HighlandLIT now has access to the Waterside’s function room – a space that is particularly suited for open mic evenings. Ongoing efforts to make HighlandLIT inclusive have been successful, attracting a diverse cross section of people interested in books and writing. In addition, HighlandLIT currently has a strong presence in social media: the Facebook Group has 373 members and we have a Twitter following of 992. The average number of number of visits to our web site per month in 2018 was 430. We have also been facilitating support for HL members by encouraging local writers to mentor one another. Membership has gone up by 30% and attendance at events is increasing (with an average of 20-25 people per evening). Finances are currently healthy, and we received support this year from the Inverness Common Good Fund. We are still, however, seeking a Funding Co-ordinator, a Retreats Co-ordinator and a Competition Co-ordinator.
In the year ahead, we have some unmissable author events lined up in the calendar plus further writing workshops and open mic sessions. In July, we will be holding a Writers Retreat in Cromarty which will be led by the socially engaged eco poet, Helen Moore. The retreat will span four days and will include one-to-one mentoring sessions with Paul Shanks.
Finally, we would like to say goodbye and thank you to our Retreats Co-ordinator, Helen Sedgwick, and our Funding Co-ordinator, Andrea Johnson.