Do you like writing stories?

Do you want your words to reach a wider audience?

Do you want to write alongside other creative people?

Would you like to have fun discussing ideas and improving your craft?

If so, you might like to join my friendly creative writing group which takes place in Ipswich every Wednesday and Thursday evening from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Email to make an initial contact and ask any questions.

Or maybe you’d prefer to sign up for my Tuesday evening five week writing course which takes place in March 2020. Click here for details.

Mai Black – Course Tutor

My Qualifications and Experience

I love helping people to improve the quality of their writing as well as making the whole experience of being a writer more enjoyable, sociable and creative.

I have a degree in English Literature from Kent University, am a trained teacher and have been running writing groups in Ipswich and Woodbridge for the past nine years. I’ve won competitions for short stories, travel writing and poetry with my work appearing in Best Magazine, Let’s Talk, Suffolk Magazine, The Telegraph and The Fens. (Examples of my work can be found at the bottom of ‘group achievements’ lower down the page).

I have also been a guest on Radio Suffolk’s Creative Corner and am a regular writer of educational resources for CGP Publications.


My evening creative writing sessions take the form of one off workshops, covering topics such as ‘How to Write a Great First Line’ or ‘What Makes a Well-Rounded Character?’ They give participants the opportunity to write alongside other people, learn new techniques, try out new ideas and become a more active part of the local writing community. The sessions are held weekly at my home in Ipswich, Suffolk.

Having a home setting helps to create a cosy, welcoming environment. Tea, coffee and cakes or biscuits are available free of charge.

The address is:

23 Damselfly Rd, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 9TS.

Note for visitors and new members. Please click here to read through the group guidelines before you come for a session.

Each session costs £10.

writing group
An inspiring evening with novelist Rosy Thornton (left).

Here’s some of the feedback I’ve recieved:-

Karen Harradine

I have only recently started to attend Mai’s writing groups. After my first session, I felt confident enough to write my first short story and enter this into a competition.

Teresa Martin

I had written on-and-off for years but always in isolation. Having a talented bunch of people to bounce ideas off is great and the feedback is incredibly helpful.

Megan Musgrove

I joined the Writer’s Group as way to improve my writing skills. I stayed because the encouragement is fantastic, it has inspired a lot of new ideas and the people are just lovely.

Graham Cleaver

The combination of a friendly group of like-minded people and expert, supportive tuition is just what I needed.

Jen Pierce

I think it can be quite daunting going to a group like this for the first time, but everyone is so friendly and supportive. The group has inspired me to finish my first novel.

A typical evening’s format 

  • Everyone briefly tells the group what they have written or read during the week
  • Paired discussion of a piece of writing – either from a group member or a professional piece
  • A practical writing activity
  • Input on a chosen subject e.g. characterisation, settings or similes
  • A break for refreshments and general chatting
  • A time to write individually based on the input provided
  • A time to share work and get feedback from myself and the group

(It’s lovely when people read their work aloud but it’s OK if you choose not to.)


Individual Sessions

You also have the option of working one to one. I’m often available during week days so this option may suit people who’d rather not travel in the evenings. You can use the time however you wish. Maybe you’d like to talk through ideas for new stories, discuss plotting techniques or receive detailed, honest feedback on your work.

Each session costs £25.

IMG_0336 (3)

Here are some lovely comments  I’ve received from someone I’ve been working with.

“I’ve really enjoyed working one to one on my novel. Mai’s helped me with plotting, characterisation, style and theme.  Most of all she’s helped to give me the motivation to get the job done!” – Carl, Ipswich

Editing and Proofreading

If you’d like me to edit your work via email, send me a short extract of approximately one thousand words and we can discuss a fee. I typically charge £25 per 1000 words for this service. If, after working together for a while, your work is greatly improved in terms of grammar, style, plot and characterisation, I will lower the rate accordingly.


Individual Achievements of Group Members

  • Cat Franklin has gained a literary agent and secured a three book deal with a major publishing house.
  • Caroline Goldsworthy’s first novel Tangent was nominated for the 2019 Selfies Award.
  • Gem and Kelly from Thursday’s Damselfly group launched a reading blog The Book Eaters.
  • Kelly won our concept competition and received very encouraging feedback from agent Meg Davis.
  • Gem was a runner up in a competition for Dystopian World stories
  • Aaron won our synopsis competition to receive feedback on his work from literary agent Meg Davis
  • Elliot had his story published in Fiction Vortex Magazine
  • Graham has written a variety of interviews and record and theatre reviews. He says there’s a lot more to come so watch this space.
  • Megan Musgrove has had a number of novels published. Click here to take a look.
  • William won a competition to be one of Suffolk’s Young Poets of the year and read his work alongside Allan Ahlberg
  • Kes has had an article published on the Ipswich Town Talk website entitled ‘Town’s Last Premiership XI – Where Are They Now?’

Here are two examples of my own work:

Short Story in the Fens Magazine.

Travel piece in The Telegraph.

Examples of Recent Activities

Sometimes we have a competition to see who can write the most words in a week. Here’s a recent winner with his well-earned prize.

tony winner

Sometimes we try out the famous ‘cut up technique‘ as used by David Bowie and TS Eliot-


A mini poem/story based on the Ipswich Waterfront

We always make time for a silent writing activity.

damselfly group
Writing alongside Australian author Ian Andrew

Three times a year I run short creative writing courses for beginners and intermediate-level writers.

Introductory Creative Writing Course – March 2019

Writing Websites

Here are a few writing links that might interest you.

The first is a good way to chat to other writers across Suffolk, ask questions and share information.

Suffolk Writers Group Facebook Site 

Writing Competitions

Studying for a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Suffolk.

6 thoughts on “Do you like writing stories?”

  1. Hello Mai,

    My name is Rhys Moffat- I am a 26 year old history teacher who has recently moved to the area.I would like to use my summer to get into writing and in the long term attempt to write a novel. I was wondering whether the Suffolk writers group would be a good opportunity to meet like minded people. I am a complete novice though, so may well be out of my depth early on.

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Kind Regards,


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