Hello, and thank you for visiting my site. I hope that you'll return often and always find something of interest about my world and what inspires me to pick up a pen. (This is a figure of speech, unfortunately. My handwriting is terrible!) Here's what I've been up to recently...

A story for Christmas


By a very happy coincidence. this came out yesterday on my birthday and it can also be found in today’s issue of Love Sunday (Sunday People).

Originally written as a story for children, a few tweaks made it appropriate for all ages. Who hasn’t dreamed of an unexpected windfall when money is tight? That it was very well deserved in this case is, I think, a bonus. Honesty was definitely the best policy for struggling young mum Daisy and even the villain of the piece came good in the end.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

24 December, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Back to school!

What an interesting evening I had yesterday, invited to view my contribution to Lawnswood School’s ‘alumni’ wall. For non-Leeds friends, I should explain that the current co-educational school was created many years ago to replace two grammar schools, Lawnswood High for girls and Leeds Modern for boys. Apart from Old Mods John Craven and Alan Bennett, I think I’m the oldest contributor so far, but the wall will continue to evolve.
(In anticipation of people who remember their Latin grammar pointing out that I’m an ‘alumna’ rather than an ‘alumnus’, I know, but I thought it would be churlish to point it out.)


21 September, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Research recognised

Having done a lot of research for my latest writing project, I was very pleased when Val Penny decided to feature it on her blog. You can read it here. What a Summer That Was! (Writing Research) by Maggie Cobbett (valpenny.com)

31 August, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Writers’ Narrative

The demise of Writers’ Forum left a gap in the market that this new emagazine is attempting to fill.

How successful it will be remains to be seen, but I’m happy to have an article on ‘filler’ writing included in the first issue.

At the moment, Writers’ Narrative is available from Amazon for £1.99, but the aim is to make it free to download.

31 July, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Good news!

For one thing, I’m back on my feet, although still having to take it easy. A slow plod is the best I can manage so far, but I’m working on that. It’s wonderful to be fit enough to resume normal activities, including meetings of Ripon Writers’ Group and Write-On! Ripon. (The latter group, following the much regretted closure of Ripon’s Curzon cinema, now meets at the Claro Lounge in the Market Place.)

Secondly, with Swanwick Writers’ Summer School 2023 only a few week’s away now, I’m delighted to have come second in an associated competition. Prolific crime author Val Penny and her publishers Spellbound Books set the challenge to write a story with the theme of revenge. Mine, set around a baffling murder in Amsterdam, has given me £100 off the cost of my place at this year’s School.

Amsterdam holds many fond memories for me and I was a great fan of the original Van der Valk television series with the late Barry Foster, both of which influenced the story.

There is also a Whitby connection and a nod to singer John Leyton, who provided inspiration for one of the main characters. Who of my generation could forget his haunting rendition of ‘Johnny, remember me’?

12 July, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Poetry reading at Boroughbridge Library

This was my first visit to Boroughbridge Library, which is wholly run by the community nowadays.

The main part of the evening was taken up by York Radio’s poet laureate Olivia Mulligan (below), but Nicky, Sudip and I from the Write-On! Ripon group were also invited to read some of our work to a small but appreciative audience.

22 April, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Writing challenges

We at Ripon Writers’ Group have creativity coming out of our ears this year with new challenges thought up by Ian Gouge, the Chair since the last AGM.
The flash fiction evening – writing inspired by character profiles he got us to compile as a group – went very well, but even that may have been surpassed by this week’s task.
The thought of writing a new poem inspired by a well known one but in the style of a completely different poet caused a lot of head scratching and yet most of us got there in the end.
Examples ranged from ‘Humpty Dumpty’ rewritten in the style of John Betjeman to a Rabbie Burns version of William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’. Much hilarity ensued and everyone agreed that it had been a worthwhile exercise.
My own contribution, an attempt at the style of Ian McMillan, was inspired by A.E.Housman’s war poem ‘Here Dead We Lie’. Written with the greatest respect, my response is dedicated to Uncle George, who fought in the trenches, and Uncle Albert who died at the Battle of Jutland.
However ultimately pointless WW1 may seem in retrospect, no one should ever underestimate the courage of those on both sides who suffered and died.


Here dead we lie because we did not choose

To live and shame the land from which we sprung.

Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose;

But young men think it is, and we were young.


In the style of Ian Macmillan

So we’ve kicked t’ bucket

And does tha want ter know why?

Cos we wasn’t conchies

And nooan were gonna ‘and us white feathers

Or call Yorksher lads shirkers

We got usselves organised

Joined t’Pals and off we set for France

Us mothers wept o’ course

But they was proud. Us fathers too.

We’d come back ‘eroes, or so we thought,

Afore we turned nineteen.

It weren’t to be.

Pity really.


10 March, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Books and Beverages

First time back at Harrogate Library since before the onslaught of Covid. As part of the regular ‘Books and Beverages’ sessions, I was invited to join a panel discussion on Women’s Writing with fellow author Julia Bell. Kate Swann on the right had plenty of questions for us to get the conversation flowing.
The topic was chosen to celebrate Women’s History Month.

3 March, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Ripon Writers’ Group in the Stray Ferret

Ripon author Maggie Cobbett


Great article today by Tim Flanagan, who always has Ripon’s interests at heart. Thank you, Tim. https://thestrayferret.co.uk/ripon-writers-group-extends-invitation-to-new-members/

5 February, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Foreshadowing ‘Shadows’?


Every now and then something comes up that may have been lingering in my subconscious when I wrote my saga ‘Shadows of the Past’. Such was the case today, when a 1959 episode from the series ‘Four Just Men’ flashed onto my screen.
Investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, the character played by Jack Hawkins found himself in a village very like the one at the heart of my own story. Not only that, but the episode’s title was even one that I’d considered using before I settled on ‘Shadows of the Past’. It was all there; a small post-war community riven by suspicion, black-clad widows, the dour locals in the café, the smooth priest, the gendarme who knew more than he was prepared to admit and the innocent girl put in danger by what she knew…

23 January, 2023 Make the first comment on this story

Check Out My eBooks
Supporting artists, or ‘extras’ as they’re more commonly known, are the unsung heroes of television and film. Maggie Cobbett recalls the ups and downs of twenty years of ‘blending into the background’.
A working holiday in France for so little? “It sounds too good to be true,” says Daisy’s mother, but her warning falls on deaf ears.
The 20th century has just dawned when David is apprenticed to a Yorkshire coal miner. But what of the younger brothers and sister he has been forced to leave behind in their London workhouse? Will he ever see them again?
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