Shared Learning Project:

When she came to visit us recently, our South West Regional Trustee, Marion Clements, suggested that we might become involved with a "Shared Learning Project".

Three of our members are now helping create a digital catalogue for the Royal Cornwall Museum's Courtney Library, and a couple of other members are hoping to start there soon. The library has a fine collection of Cornish documents and books, and is used by people researching into Cornish History. The catalogue should be a great help to them.

Further information from Tony Herring (01872) 273678


Reading Group - Falmouth:

The Falmouth reading group continues to meet on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 10am. we now meet in the beautiful lounge of Bay Court, Cliff Road, Falmouth. We get our books from the Reading Group sets from the library.


Angel of the Dark was criricised a great dea,l but it did provide a lot of discussion about the discrepancies in the plot and also the strange mixture of cick lit and thriller. Begrudgingly we will give it 5/10 although one member gave it 1/10! Some were interested to read an original Didney Sheldon to see if it is better!

One Pair of Hands did cause discussion but generally the feeling was that it was obviously the author's first novel. We criticised the author's snobbish attitude but agreed it was a historical piece about a domestic situation that has long since disappeared.

Room by Emma Donoghue. As predicted this caused a great deal of discussion. It is not a book that you can feel neutral about. Several of the members were put off by the subject matter, whilst others were so moved by it that they had recommended it to friends. All agreed that Emma Donoghgue is a briiliant writer and her technique of writing from a five year old's perspective, was inspired. The average mark given by the group was 7.5. A film has been made of the book, but we cannot imagine how it manages to portray Jack, the little boy's thoughts. (we have since since seen the film and understand why it won awards.)

December's book was Is there anything you want? by Margaret Forster. This provoked much discussion. Many found it a miserable book because the setting of much of it in an oncology department. This was too close for comfort for many of the members of the group. Overall we gave it 5.6, but really this was reacting to content rather than the writing. Many of us thought that her writing was superb and recommended other books by Margaret Forster to read. See:

January's Book was A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale This book caused a great deal of discussion. We all agreed that the characters were very believable and the themes extremely well researched, so that you could understand the background situation. We liked the fact that the book was set in West Cornwall in Pendeen and that the situation, that inspired one of the events in the book, had actually happened locally. What there was more dissent about was the structure of the book, where the different charcters were seen at different ages in different chapters , but not chronologically. This caused some deep anaylis by some members! Overall we gave it 7.4.

February's book was Restless by William Boyd. We all agreed that this was a real page turner, even those of us not usually into spy stories. Once again the device of moving between two charcters at different times was used; in this case a mother and daughter. One of the members had read more of William Boyd and thought that this was not his best novel; the more cynical thought that it had been written with a film in mind! However the book led to much interesting discussion about spying in the Second World War. Overall we gave it 7.2

At our April meeting we discussed The Small Hand by Susan Hill. Opinion was very mixed about this book. We all agreed that we admired Susan Hill's style. While some thought it was a really ghostly page turner others thought it not nearly so good as her other books- for example The Woman in Black and I'm the King of the Castle. Overall we gave it 8.4

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel was read in May. If you want a book that causes a lot of discussion, then this book is for you. Trying to be positive, we thought something might have been lost in translation and that as monthly episodes in a Mexican magazine it might have warranted its bestseller blurb. It was magical realism, but something that has been done so much better by other writers. Even the recipes with every chapter did not appeal! We gave it an average mark of 2.3.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende was read in June. This again caused a great deal of discussion with one member of the group wanting to throw it over board! If magical realism is not to veryone's taste, we did enjoy the author's descriptions. The background to the book is Chile and the politics of the period when President Allende (the author's uncle) was deposed, It says much about the treatment of the peasant class and women. The story is told with the voice of a woman and follows the fortunesof the women of one family.The average score given to it was 5.2

The Dark Monarch by Sven Berlin was read in July. Although the overall score given to it was 3.5 (one member of the group gave it zero!)the book did create a great deal of discussion. It was first published in 1962 but was quickly withdrawn because of threatened libel suits. When all the litigants had passed away, the author's widow allowed it to be republished. The artist, writer and sculptor wrote a thinly disguised account about the lives and squabbles of the St Ives post war group of artists. The book is more interesting if you know something about the people mentioned e.g. Ben Nicholson, Barbra Hepworth, Bernard Leach, Peter Lanyon, Patrick Heron. It is illustrated by Sven Berlin's drawings and teading the book, left many of us wanting to find out more about the artist.

Our August read was Borrowed Light by Joolz Denby . It was interesting to see how many of the negative comments, moderated as the discussion progressed. It was given an average of 3.6 but this included two zeros! Initially it was thought to be chick lit set against the surfing scene around Padstow and Rock, however there was more to it than that. We did agree that it would make a good book for young teenagers to provide source material for discussions about drugs, truthulness in relatioships and the celebrity cult,

September's book was Somewhere More Simple by Marion Molteno. The place in question is the Isles of Scilly and so good is the description , that a couple of members who had not been there, wanted to go! The book describes the claustrophic atmosphere of a small community and set against this are the troubles of the young teacher Cari and the old woman, Anna, who had lost her son on the island. The disappearing school girl was supposed to be a main part of the story, but we found it secondary to the stories of Anna and Cari. We did wonder how Cari could have a liaison with Hugh without everyone knowing? Overall we gave it 6.4

We met in November at the Princess Pavilion for lunch as it was our last meeting until January We still managed to discuss The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald, This was given 8 and the discussion was particularly interesting as one of the mebrs of the group had been at Petrhouse College on which the book is based.

We needed a break of two months to read our next book, which was Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser. This is a thoroughly researched book on Marie Antoinette's life. It successfully debunks the quotation "let them eat cake". It is possible to feel sorry for Marie Antoinette, as she was used as a pawn in the political game of Royal marriage. It is impossible to give it an overall score because some members loved it, while others couldn't finish it! It certainly helps to have a little background knowledge to European history of the time.

The first book of 2017 was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This comprises 12 short stories and was a much easier read. However we did discuss the role that Dr Watson played in the stories as opposed to the rather bumbling character that he sometimes appears in dramatisation. The general approval rating was 6.5

One of the benefits of a reading group is that you get interesting discussions when views about a book vary widely. Boththe following bookshave arrived at a score of 7 with scores ranging from zero to ten. One was Helen Dunmore's "Zennor in Darkness" and the other Rose Tremain's "Restoration.

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse met with general approval at 6.5. It is not a big read like Labyrinth and Sepulchre but is still packed with historical fact about 14th century France and the Cathar cult.

The Main Cages by Philip Marsden was of particular interest as it is by a local writer and set locally. The Main Cages are obviously the Manacles. Philip Marsden is a very good travel writer and this was his first novel. The descriptions and detail about fishing in the 1930s were excellent. The main criticism was that it got a bit boring in the middle, but the ending was very exciting! The average mark was 6.5

Events at CUC

We are at the moment up to a maximum number for the number of books we can borrow from the library. However if youwould like to go on a waiting list,please contact: Shirley Clark (01326) 218484

Creative Writing

Members of The Truro and Falmouth Creative Writing Groups went ‘on the air’ on 16th. February as guests of Mark Crees in his bi-weekly community radio programme ‘BookMark’ which features a mix of literature, music and the spoken word.  Jane Moss, who was one of the judges of the 2016 Barbara Scammell Poetry and Prose competition, joined the winners of the first and second prizes in the Fiction, Non-fiction and Poetry categories. Jane, a poet and teacher of Creative Writing, said in her introduction that in judging the competition she looked for work that is original, entertaining and that engaged her emotions and senses and above all showed talent. She said that, although the overall standard of work was very high, there had no problem deciding on the prize-winners and discussed with Mark Crees the reasons for choosing each of these pieces.
The 1st prize Non-fiction winning entry, Janet Zorro’s moving ‘Call to a Warrior Queen’ followed the 2nd prize for Non-Fiction, an enchanting piece, ‘April in Greenland’, which was written and read by Maria Nelson-Langford.
Two short poems came next. ‘Still Life’ by Brenda Burgess, [2nd prize], and ‘Lost’ a thought provoking piece by Ann Mundler which was awarded first prize.
In the Fiction category the 2nd. Prize winning tale about a ‘Water Leak’ by Pat Jowsey and Maria Nelson-Langford’s witty 1st prize-winner ‘Married to a Chameleon’ finished the programme with a welcome touch of humour.

This broadcast is accessible on ‘Mixcloud’. Search Mark Crees. [New writers.] Or if you would like a C.D. recording of this show, send a small padded S.A. envelope plus two 1st. class stamps to: -
Mark Crees, 4, Epworth Close, Truro, TR1 1UP.

Mark Crees is a multi talented teacher and playwright and Jane Moss together with Kath Morgan also runs residential Creative Writing Courses in two beautiful venues in Cornwall.

Please note that the Barbara Scammell Poetry and Prose competition is open to ALL members of Carrick U3A and will be held again this year in September.

Creative Writing - Falmouth:

Due to failing health, Di Coffey, our leader of Falmouth Creative Writers' Group has stood down and passed the group leadership to Mike Robson.  

We meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month in the residents' lounge at Bay Court, Cliff Road, Falmouth.  Our meetings are always relaxed and often jolly occasions and our aim is to encourage our members to write - fact, fiction, poetry - rather than nit-pick syntax and the occasional spelling mistake.

If you would like to join us, Mike Robson is the person to contact on 01872 863 085


Poetry - Truro:

The meetings take place at Val Davidson's home at 10.30am on a Friday about once a month. For more information contact Val at (01872) 247546.

At our July meeting the  Poetry Ground broke new ground with readings from the poetry of Benjamin Zephhaniah and Lemn Sissay.

At our next meeting in September, the poet will be Walter De La Mare. New members would be welcome.

George Taplin     01872 260007.


We take it turns in hosting in our own homes so space is limited. However, we now have room for 1 or 2 more. We meet on the 3rd Thursday pm. We choose a poet, do a bit of research, share and read. It's peaceful. 


Gill Widdesden 01872 242642


Poetry & Playreading - Falmouth:

 It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of our joint leader Ann Salter who has been running the group since Marjorie Roach retired. She had been ill for some months. Ann was a lovely gentle lady who was very well read and who passed on a great deal of her knowledge to us. We send our condolences to her family.
Unfortunately owing to several members leaving the area the group has had to be disbanded.
June Harris.


2nd Poetry group Falmouth.

Due to holidays etc our dates are changed
Thursday 30th November  we will be enjoying the poetry of Edith Sitwell

Thursday 14th  December a little known poet,,,,to me anyway...Charlotte Perkins Gilman

We meet at 10.15 at a members home. If you wish to find out more contact me:

Bren Button   01326 218904   07931235633


Reading 1 - Truro:

Owzat! 100 and not out!

Ours was the first reading group in U3A Carrick, which started in 2004 and in April we shall be reading and discussing our 100th book. Quite an achievement! Apart from me, only two of our founding members are still there,


Molly has generously hosted our meetings each month from the very beginning – an equally impressive achievement and one for which all members, past and present, are grateful. Most members stay years so turnover is infrequent, but at present we would welcome two more: see below how to contact me if you are interested.


We meet on the last Wednesday of every month from 2.00 -4.00 pm; in December each member chooses one book for our yearly reading list: the variety of choice leads to some lively, and always interesting, discussions!

Click here to open our Reading List of 100 Titles!

This will open a Word file, listing our books read from 2004 to 2013!

Thank you to all those who have contributed to our meetings to date – and long may they continue.
Nancy Kinnison (01872) 222326


Reading 2 - Truro:

The group is led by Wendy Morris, email third Monday at 2.00pm. Contact Wendy for any further information and location.


New - Play Reading Group - Perranwell:

Thank you everyone for your interest in this new group. Unfortunately, there is no one time that will suit all so although my decision on when to meet will work for most, there will be one or two disappointments, my apologies if that applies to you. Our meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. Start time 2.00pm and end at 4:30, or the end of the play we are reading, if earlier. Mark & Christine Breach (01872) 862063 or (07816) 358348.




June Moore (01326) 618981 for further information on the Falmouth Creative Writing Group


For all activities, please check our Google Calendar to confirm dates, times and location

Richard Allen Groups coordinator