Greetings, greetings!

My name is Paul, and I’ll be your Blogger for this evening.

If I recall correctly, there were only a few hours when I was alone in this group. It’s how it usually is, I suppose. Someone starts something, and it’s not quite a group until there are more people. In March 2007, became the starting point for the Literary Den. Back then it was called Literary Mania; my ability to generate a name for a group hasn’t improved much, I’m afraid to admit. The group, however, was only beginning. By May 2007, I had been approached by an enthusiastic writer by the name of Christopher Coates-Morris. Hailing from the all-too-foreign country of Scotland (well, technically he was English, but he lived in Scotland), Mr C-M shared my vision for a united group of authors who really had nowhere else to turn to to talk to other writers. Mr C-M used my idea for Literary Mania and together we set up, formally, the Literary Den, with our own Microsoft Template website and a forum! That website has since been revamped, and stands a temporary face for the Den until the entire page moves over here. The forum still goes strong, and discussion is always brewing for newcomers (as well as virtual tea, and virtual alcohol for the older members when we celebrate… and virtual cookies when a certain Ms Anthea West comes along!)

You might be wondering, “What can an Internet writers group have to celebrate about?” It’s a good question, if you’re new here. You see, the Literary Den is more than just a group, it’s a movement and a family and it’s been growing from strength to strength in the last two and half years. In September 2007, the lovely Claire Hack suggested an idea so foreign, yet so brilliant, to the group, that it changed everything!

In the following eleven months, while the group celebrated its first birthday and the discussions were blooming, work, hard work, was being put into The Literary Den Book of New Fiction 2008. This anthology of short stories marks a major milestone in the evolution of the group (yes, I’m one of those people.) We released it in aid of the Laura Crane Trust; it was a charity local to Andy Walker, our Editor for the anthology and the man responsible for the blog that’s been set up here. The LCT is the only UK and Ireland charity that funds research into cancers affecting young people between the ages of 13 and 24; it aims to find new ways of supporting the families and the patients themselves; it has, in the past year and the months preceding our launch of the anthology, become a group closely affiliated with the Den, and we’re very proud to support them, to be allowed to support them in a way we love!

The anthology project, which is once again in the works with our 2009 book due out soon (watch this spot), was but the first of the major events in the Den that would change everything. Members came and went, but the Den is still very much the same, and thriving more than ever. Among our ranks are a published novelist, Ms Samantha Priestley; a horror writer of such brilliance that his talents also seem to extend to web design and blog-rota organisation, Mr Andy Walker; an Editor in Chief and Fashion Editor of a somewhat famous online fashion magazine, Ms Rachel Phipps and Ms Amy Claire Thompson (respective positions in the magazine); a novelist, wordsmith and absolutely fantastic person to know, Ms Lisa Sills; and a poet of such brilliance his poetry was recommended to us before he even came along to the group, Mr Paul Begadon. And there’s Brendan McLoughlin too, who continues to this day to show growing enthusiast for fantastic literature and who I’m proud to call a friend. All them will be blogging for you in the future (though not in that order) and in that time you will come to understand why I care for this group so much.

You’ll also see that with the talents in this group, there’s a lot we can still do, and a lot we’re still organising. Our magazine is in the making (and you can still submit – I’ll have Andy add details of that to the site, as opposed to in a blog post) and our campaign to promote reading and writing in all people has only just begun! It’s our goal to not only get our name out there, but to ensure the great culture of words, which shows itself frequently in the UK and Ireland and, despite its youth as a country in comparison, the USA, (and beyond, of course!) Personally, I’d also like to see each and every member get to where they want to be with their writing. I want to have the pleasure of reading Sam’s novels, of even ordering them! I want to be freaked out by Andy’s horror and brag that I knew him as a friend before he was famous. I want to say I knew the great Irish and British writers and poets of the future and I want to show people that even the youngest of people can do anything they want! (i.e. Rachel is “only” sixteen, but she owns and magazine and has been on TV! She’s a great example to everyone.)

Now that this is turning into too much of a glorified speech, I bid you good night, and welcome! This is the beginning of something great for you, dear reader. You need only enter the Den and join in; there’s always room for more writers.

All the very best,
Paul Carroll.