Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Greg Freeman. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Greg Freeman. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

New poetry collection by Woking poet, Greg Freeman

Greg Freeman's latest poetry collection, The Fall of Singapore, marks the 80th anniversary of the Allied surrender at Singapore to numerically inferior Japanese forces, which led to thousands of deaths of prisoners of war and local workers forced to build the infamous Burma-Thailand ‘Death Railway’. The poet’s father was a railway survivor, and his words can be heard in this book.

(Click on image to read 'blurb')

About the book...

February 15 2022 marked the 80th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, the surrender of numerically superior Allied forces to a Japanese army - a moment that has gone down in history as Britain’s biggest military capitulation.

Woking poet Greg Freeman’s father Ted Freeman was one of the huge number of Allied soldiers taken prisoner. With many others, he was later forced to work on the infamous Burma-Siam ‘Death Railway’. Many thousands did not survive its hardships and brutality.

Greg Freeman

Greg’s father died in 1989, and since then he has been trying to find a way to tell his father’s story. This month he has published a pamphlet collection of poems, The Fall of Singapore, that includes a sequence about the railway. As he says, it has been a long journey and writes... 

“Soon after my father died I went to the Imperial War Museum and asked to see war veterans’ accounts of the Death Railway. I was brought a couple of shoeboxes full of individual memoirs, maybe a few typed sheets, the odd published book. I spent several sessions at the museum going through these, making notes, assembling a picture of what it had been like.

My father had given me some information. In the late 1970s and early 80s we would sometimes talk late at night, and before I slept I would always transcribe what he had said. His words are interspersed with poems in The Fall of Singapore.

Beginning in the 1990s, I was always trying to find a way of telling his story. I tried writing a novel – I had tried writing a few novels over the years – but that didn’t work. Then I attempted to encapsulate the whole thing in a little story which made the shortlist at a Guildford literary festival competition. In 2008 during a brief stop in Thailand, we made a day trip – by train – to Kanchanaburi and the bridge over the River Kwai. After I turned to poetry I wrote a sestina about the Death Railway called ‘Learning By Heart’ which was commended in a Wilfred Owen Association competition. In 2020, around the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, a poet friend suggested I publish a sequence. I thought no more about it until late last year when I realised the 80th anniversary of Singapore was fast approaching. Could this finally be the moment?   

It’s thanks in great measure to Guildford publishers Dempsey & Windle, who have turned it all around with remarkable sympathy and speed, that it has finally happened. Like so many others, my father never expected to find himself in the jungle in Thailand. A line in one of the poems says: “The call of the empire? He had no dreams.”

Dad worked in a succession of Southern railway ticket offices before the war. As it turned out, he worked on the railway before, during, and after the war. I’m not sure that he ever particularly appreciated the irony.

This collection also includes other poems with wartime settings. Thus there is one about the Islamic peace garden outside Woking – formerly a burial ground for Muslim soldiers from both wars – called ‘A Foreign Wood’. But the heart of the collection is the experience of those prisoners of war in Thailand. My book is intended as a tribute to them all – to those who survived, and to those who sacrificed their lives.”     -  Greg Freeman 

ISBN 9781--913329-69-3

Copyright, Greg Freeman, 2022

​Paperback, 210x148mm

50 pages

RRP £8.00



"...written with reverence and candour and without a judgmental eye, which allows the experiences of everyday civilians to shine clearly through the darkness of war." - ​Antony Owen, Peace poet

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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Special Guest : Greg Freeman and his poetry collection, 'Marples Must Go!'

Anyone for poetry? I am absolutely delighted to welcome poet, Greg Freeman and his collection of poems, ‘Marples Must Go!’ to Writers at the Gate.

Read on to find out more…

About the book… 

A mysterious slogan on a bridge across the M1 that remained there for decades denounced a 1960s transport minister who had a finger in the pie of motorway building, and oversaw Beeching’s vandalism of Britain’s railways. Ernest Marples was a politician on the make who also liked to be chastised while wearing women’s clothing. Greg Freeman’s wry and bemused poems meander around this and other subjects such as free school milk, Juke Box Jury, Space Patrol, and the curious appeal of Andy Williams, as well as the first proper sentence of a two-year-old child: ‘Jack see Mrs Thatcher.’ As the years go by, the poet finds himself remembering the cartoon comic heroes of Beano and Dandy, picturing what might have happened to them in later life, and wondering plaintively: ‘Why can’t life still be hilarious?’  

About the author… 

Greg Freeman is a former newspaper sub-editor, and now the news and reviews editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud. His debut pamphlet collection, Trainspotters, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2015. He co-runs a monthly open mic poetry night in Woking, Surrey. He watched the second half of England's World Cup drubbing against Germany in a pub in Ludlow with the-then poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy; and with hundreds of others, contributed vocals on Chuck Berry's no 1 hit, My Ding-A-Ling.


(Publisher's Website)


Brief Interview…

When did you start writing your new book? 

Some of the poems were written several years ago, and some much more recently. I started assembling the collection around the back end of last year, and it was accepted for publication early in 2021. Many of the poems were 'road-tested' at Woking Writers Circle and at Write Out Loud Woking open-mic poetry night, which used to meet at the Lightbox gallery in Woking, and has been sharing poems on Zoom since May 2020. (We hope to return to the Lightbox at the end of September, but to carry on with Zoom as well)  

What was the inspiration behind the book? 

The title poem refers to a dodgy Tory politician from the 1960s. It's not for me to comment if anyone thinks there are any parallels today. There are other political poems in the book - politics is one of my interests - but the subject matter stretches far beyond that to encompass 60s pop music, football, newspapers, the Sean Henry sculptures in Woking town centre - and, of course, Covid. 

What ideas do you have for any future books? 

I hope this doesn't sound too morbid, but I recently had to have two surgical procedures to treat my angina. I've already written quite a long poem about that process and would hope to include it in a future collection.  

Which publishing services (if any) would you recommend? 

My first poetry publisher was Indigo Dreams, which produced my debut pamphlet Trainspotters in 2015. Guildford-based poetry publishers Dempsey & Windle have produced my first full collection Marples Must Go! Both publishers work very hard, publish lots of books, run competitions as well, and in my case have come up with two smashing covers that I have been delighted with. Janice and Donall and D&W even run their own monthly poetry open-mic night in Guildford - and have been doing so since 2010, I believe.  


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Four Poems by Write Out Loud's Greg Freeman

Greg Freeman lives in Byfleet, and is a former newspaper sub-editor, and now the news and reviews editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud. His debut pamphlet collection, Trainspotters, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2015.

He co-runs a monthly open mic poetry night in Woking, Surrey. He watched the second half of England's World Cup drubbing against Germany in a pub in Ludlow with the-then poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy; and with hundreds of others, contributed vocals on Chuck Berry's no 1 hit, My Ding-A-Ling.

He has recently published two pamphlet collections of his poems, Marples Must Go and The Fall of Singapore.

Greg Freeman - Poet



A suburb of Cleveland, Ohio,
of four thousand souls
that takes its name from the river
that runs through its heart.

The town and its waterfalls
are referenced in a song
by Canadian rock band
The Tragically Hip. 

I’ve never been there,
and I guess I never will,
which is a matter
of some regret.  

Give half a chance
I’m sure I would have loitered
in the Fireside Book Shop,
with its three floors of books.


It wasn’t exactly a coincidence:
we were heading in the same direction.
Slightly stooped figure, rucksack
on his shoulder, just ahead of me.
I thought at once: That’s him.

The future laureate was startled
to be accosted by this looming stranger
on a traffic island in the centre
of Winchester, but after clarifying
that he didn’t mind his picture 

being taken at the festival, we fell into step
and conversation, and I mentioned
– and this was a coincidence –
that I’d be in Marsden
the following morning, at an open-mic 

at the Railway inn. One of my regular
drinking haunts, he reminisced. 
The ice was well and truly broken.
Just at that moment we reached
the festival steps, and he was whisked 

away by the director, where he spoke later
of his poems engraved into Pennine
rocks, and how they might last there
for a thousand years, if there was
still people there to see them … 

Time, gentlemen, please.
The kind of bloke you’d share
a beer with down the pub.
Sadly I never got to ask:
What are you having, Simon?


I sing of a castle (and so has
Ed Sheeran, as it happens).
Built by one of William’s
Normans, King John’s knights

lay siege, capturing it
In just two days, the year
after he caved in
and signed Magna Carta. 

Bloody Mary sought refuge there,
rallying troops and her confidence,
before heading to London
to claim the throne, and seal
the fate of a teenage girl.
The people cheering the rightful heir
didn’t foresee the martyrs.
Perhaps they did, and didn’t care. 

Next century a benefactor
purchased the thirteen towers,
flint curtain wall and Tudor chimneys;
ordered in his will that the buildings
within be levelled, a workhouse
constructed in their place.
These days the ‘Fairtrade town’
is known locally as ‘Fram’. 

The mere has shrunk
since the Middle Ages.
Jackdaws patrol the jagged stones,
a patchwork of history
stitched together once more
by English Heritage; jigsaw puzzle
of ascendancies, misfortunes,
triumphs, fatal falls from grace.

after Philip Larkin

The beckoning floodlights
still work their magic,
early October’s comforting chill,
scarf snug round the neck.
Blood pulses through arteries,
moving as it should. Heart lifts
with every step towards the stadium. 

An old pal texts me from
another game up north.
The name rings a bell.
He’s at a club where my job
was to phone over a few pars
for the Saturday Pink
from a kiosk outside the ground. 

Games that I didn’t give a toss about,
dictated to a bored copy taker,
wishing I was somewhere else,
roaring my own team on to promotion.
But then, I remember Larkin’s sigh:
it wasn’t the place’s fault I didn’t care.
A goalless draw can happen anywhere. 

The cover of Greg's latest poetry collection,
The Fall of Singapore

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Meet Woking's fabulous independent authors...

Many thanks for supporting the 2nd Woking Writers’ Week. You will have seen, Woking has a wealth of writing talent and these authors, I am sure, are all grateful for your support. 

The authors’ books are mostly available on Amazon or via their independent websites. Many of the books are also available in the Lionsheart Bookshop, at Commercial Way in Woking. 

I would like to thank all the authors for their participation and support and would urge any local writers, who have not been included on the blog  to get in touch. 

The Woking Writers' Collective is here to support the work of all local authors! 

Best Wishes, Mal Foster (Blog Admin)

Sunny Angel author 
of 'Wings'

Sunny Angel Bio: My name is Sunny Angel, I changed my name via deed poll so I could share my story to safeguard others. I now have a new life as well as a new name. I’m 42, I was born in England and I live in Woking, Surrey, the outskirts of London. 

Ever since I was diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect (Hole in the Heart) my mission was to tell my story before I die, to help inspire others to heal. I didn't want my pain to be wasted. I'm thankful my experiences have helped safeguard many others. I believe Life is for living, not just surviving or existing.

I was sexually abused as a child. At 17, I had a stalker who groomed me through fear of hurting my Family. He raped and tortured me in a locked house for 6 months. Following my escape, my Parents allowed me back only to get rid of me via a Forced Marriage. I wasn’t ready for marriage, so I left to go to a homeless shelter where I did an overdose and attempted suicide. I woke up in the hospital realising death had rejected me too. My Parents then coerced and forced my marriage to a man with disabilities. The Groom’s family wanted ‘Dowry’ and gave me and my family abuse. My Parents collected me after 4 months of marriage and it ended in divorce.

Now, I am a Speaker, Campaigner, Author and Survivor Ambassador. I wrote my Book ‘Wings’ with my friend Paul King. I have had the honour of doing speeches with Nazir Afzal OBE, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, Family Division Judges of the High Court, Lord and Lady Justices of Appeal, Barristers, Multi-Agency, Social Workers, Drs, Hospital staff, Teachers, University Students, School Parents, Major Crime Unit, Several police forces, Multi-Faith, Inter-Faith and Charities. 

I have worked with seven Universities.

I am a Finalist for the Heroine of the Year Award (Domestic Violence) 2017, Nominated for Author of the Year WLA 2017, Finalist for the British Indian Awards 2018 (Arts & Cultural Awareness), Winner for the Beautiful Survivors World of Honours – Ladies of All Nations International 2018, Winner of the She Inspires Award 2018 and True Honour Award 2019.

‘Wings’ has featured in various Newspapers, National and International. TV, Radios and Documentaries.

Lelita Baldock author of 'Where the Gulls Fall Silent'

Lelita Baldock Bio: Woking-based Lelita Baldock is an author of historical fiction and crime fiction. She has a passion for dark stories, with an unexpected twist.

It was during her years studying English Literature at University that Lelita discovered her love of all things reading and writing. But it would be another 15 years before she took up the challenge and wrote her own novel.

Her debut novel, the historical fiction Widow's Lace, is an Amazon best-seller.

Her follow up, The Unsound Sister, saw her take a different direction in her writing, trying her hand at crime fiction and has been warmly received globally.

Her third novel, Where the Gulls Fall Silent, a return to historical fiction is available to pre-order now.

Lelita also runs a blog and newsletter featuring fellow authors and other creatives.

JRC Cox Bio. I work in the video games industry by day and write for fun in my spare time. Kings of the Land is my first full novel and is the beginning of an action-adventure series I have planned out. Before that, I warmed up with writing three children's books with my daughter, set in our Farland Valley universe.

Alan Dale author of 'Theta Double Dot'

Alan Dale Bio: Alan Dale is a graduate mechanical engineer, with project management experience in the petrochemical industry. He began writing a few years ago, in his fifties, by enrolling on the Writers Bureau Comprehensive Writing Course. Alan has since had short stories, articles and features published in magazines and online. He lives in Surrey and is a member of the Woking Writers’ Circle.

Mal Foster Bio: Very much a self-proclaimed “writer of the ordinary man,” Mal Foster was born in 1956 and grew up in Camberley, Surrey before moving to nearby Knaphill in the late 1980s. He had left school just before his sixteenth birthday in 1972 to help support his single mother and younger brother. Around this time he began writing poetry, and indeed, his first poems were published soon after.

Now semi-retired, Mal counts his time as a local journalist as a career highlight. 

Since 2015, Mal has gone on to publish five novels, from which he has enjoyed some great feedback and exposure. His latest, 'Fluke's Cradle', a psychological thriller, was published in April 2022.

Greg Freeman Bio: Greg Freeman is a former newspaper sub-editor, and now the news and reviews editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud. His debut pamphlet collection, Trainspotters, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2015. He co-runs a monthly open mic poetry night in Woking, Surrey. He watched the second half of England's World Cup drubbing against Germany in a pub in Ludlow with the-then poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy; and with hundreds of others, contributed vocals on Chuck Berry's no 1 hit, My Ding-A-Ling. Greg's latest poetry collection, The Fall of Singapore is now also available (See website)

Jacquelynn Luben author of 'Lost Innocents'

Jacquelynn Luben Bio: Jacquelynn Luben has been writing for more than thirty years, and has brought out six books - two non-fiction, one children’s book and three novels, her most recent being a crime thriller, Lost Innocents.  It was the death of her second child, a baby daughter, that made writing imperative at that time, and important ever since.

Although originally a Londoner, she now lives in Surrey in the house which she and her husband built and, in which they lived for six months without laid on gas or electricity, as described in her autobiographical book, The Fruit of the Tree 

Jackie always wanted to write, and had imagined herself sitting with her notepad, her children frolicking around her feet as she scribbled, but instead, she was seduced into office work by three weeks’ paid holiday and luncheon vouchers (who remembers them?), failing to find the magical job which would lead her to a writing career.

Jackie left London for married life in Surrey, and for many years, was her husband’s reluctant secretary/bookkeeper. She dealt with all the administration from home, but she occasionally managed to escape to attend creative writing courses, and eventually, gained a BA (Combined Studies) from Surrey University as a mature student, with a dissertation on the Harry Potter series and other children's books. She now belongs to a reading circle made up of fellow graduates. She strongly believes that writers need to read the work of others, and she sometimes reviews her current choice of book on Amazon (under the penname Minijax) and Goodreads.

Apart from writing, she has also occasionally participated in writing workshops and used to give talks to various organisations on writing topics, prior to the pandemic.

With her children, having fled the nest, she now quite enjoys cooking for two. She also loves her garden, particularly planning what new plants should be tried out, whilst leaving the labour to others, more energetic.

In addition to her published books, Jackie Luben has written many articles and short stories. More than twenty of her short stories are available as Kindle books - some of which are published by Untreed Reads

Sue Mackender author of  'Girl on the Hill'

Sue Mackender Bio: Sue Mackender sold her successful recruitment business after 29 years to follow her lifelong passion for books and begin a new career as a writer. Sue is often termed as a Grit-Lit writer of Commercial Fiction. She places her heroines in impossible situations where they need to fight their corner to survive.

Her first two novels, Accident of Fate and Accident of Birth have been firm favourites with Book Club readers. She has also been published in America in the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. The Girl on the Hill is Sue’s third novel. In 2019 Sue was awarded the coveted Katie Fforde bursary. 

Sue lives with her husband in Surrey United Kingdom.

Harriet Steel author of 'Cold Case in Nuala'

Harriet Steel Bio: Educated in the New Forest and London and subsequently graduating from Cambridge with a BA in Law. I practised for many years as a solicitor before becoming a writer. I published several historical novels and a collection of short stories before turning to crime with The Inspector de Silva Mysteries. I live in Surrey with my husband and when I’m not writing, I like to visit art galleries and read about history, activities that inspire my writing. I’m also a keen traveller (although of course, that has to be of the armchair variety at the moment) and an enthusiastic gardener.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

A Book Signing Event - New Books and more from our authors

With the festive season and the new year almost upon us, it’s probably time to reflect on 2022, the year we finally came out of the pandemic, although that pesky Covid-19 thing is still very much with us. 

Marisa Noelle and Carla Scarano D'Antonio

Two new writers joined our ranks in 2022: Marisa Noelle, whose latest book is 'The Unraveling of Luna Forester', and Carla Scarano D’Antonio, author of the poetry collection 'Workwear'. You can check them out on the Woking Authors page HERE 

Mal Foster published his ‘Fluke’s Cradle’, and Harriet Steel produced two new titles, namely ‘Break from Nuala' in May and ‘Stardust in Nuala' in November. 

Two books already in the pipeline for 2023 are ‘A Machine of Fingers’ from Lelita Baldock, with Mal Foster expecting to publish his sixth novel, ‘The Story of Virna Babineaux’, in the Spring. Lelita also secured a traditional publishing contract with Cahill Publishing

Greg Freeman, Mal Foster, Woking mayor, Saj Hussein, Lelita Baldock and JRC Cox

Many of our authors now have their books stocked at the Lionsheart Bookshop in Commercial Way, Woking. The shop hosted a well-attended book signing event on 23 July. Greg Freeman, Lelita Baldock, Mal Foster, and JRC Cox were all on hand to sign copies of their latest titles in the presence of Woking Mayor Saj Hussein. 

Lionsheart Bookshop in Woking

All in all, 2022 has been a good year for Woking’s indie authors. Remember, it is essential that we all support each other. After all, that’s what this blog and the Collective is all about.


New local writers are always welcome!


Monday, July 25, 2022

Woking Mayor Supports Our Joint Book Signing Event

Four of our authors joined forces to sign copies of their latest books at the Lionsheart Bookshop in Woking’s Commercial Way on Saturday 23rd July. 

Many thanks to everyone who came along and said “Hello!” on the day… 

Greg Freeman, Mal Foster, Mayor Saj Hussein, Lelita Baldock, JRC Cox

Supporting the event was Woking’s mayor, Saj Hussein who congratulated all the writers on their publications as well as the shop staff who helped organise the event. He also purchased a book by each of the authors present. 

“Arranging the event was something of an unknown quantity,” confessed Fluke’s Cradle author Mal Foster, “I don’t think a multiple signing event had been attempted before, but with the help of the shop’s manager, Patrick Jones we managed to pull it off with each of us selling a reasonable number of copies. I’ve heard people were still turning up long after we had finished to buy our books.” 

Lelita Baldock, was signing copies of her latest novel, Where the Gulls Fall Silent and her best seller Widow’s Lace 

Also present was fantasy author JRC Cox who has recently published his debut, Kings of the Land and the ‘Write Out Loud’ poet Greg Freeman who was signing copies of his recent publications, Marples Must Go, and The Fall of Singapore. 

If you would like to buy any of the authors' books, signed copies are now on sale at 10% off their normal retail price at Lionsheart while stocks last.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The 'impact' of sculptor, Sean Henry on Woking

The Woking Writers’ Collective has enhanced many of its posts here on the blog and on Twitter with photographs of the sculptures by Woking-born Sean Henry that are situated around the town. These are now on permanent display.  Sean Henry is married with three children and now lives in Winchester, Hants.

Sean Henry with two of his works which are now on display in Henry Plaza at Victoria Place, Woking
Pic: Courtesy Sean Henry 


It’s time for The Woking Writers' Collective to fully acknowledge Sean Henry’s impact on Woking and his fine sculptures, which are crafted in the human form...


Sean Henry's, The Wanderer

One of the sculptures is ‘The Wanderer’, which many would have seen outside the town-side of Woking railway station. In 2013 he was originally on display in Bad Homburg, Germany. A couple of years later, the statue popped up in Sydney, Australia, before being transported to its current location here in Woking.

Sleeping Man, Woking

The addition of Sean Henry’s statues to Woking town centre has given the whole place a cultural feel, complimenting the already popular The War of the Worlds Martian tripod as depicted in the famous H.G. Wells’ novel, and of course The Lightbox museum along Victoria Way.  


Greg Freeman and Henry's The Standing Man
Pic: Courtesy Woking News & Mail

The statues have also inspired West Byfleet poet Greg Freeman to put pen to paper, writing a series of back-stories which were published in his 2021 collection, Marples Must Go, under the subtitle, All the Lonely People

Above, Walking Woman, Commercial Way, Standing Man, Jubilee Square, 
Seated Man, Woking Railway Station,
and Standing Woman, Peacocks Centre, Woking

You can find out much, much more about Sean and his work on his website @

Original photographs by Mal Foster

Friday, March 24, 2023

Two years and going strong...

The Woking Writers’ Collective blog is now two years old. Thanks to everyone who has got themselves involved and shown their continued support.

Originally launched by Mal Foster as Writers at the Gate in 2021, the intention has always been to help promote recently released books by locally based independent authors from the Woking area.

Joint book signing with Woking Mayor, Saj Hussein

CLICK HERE to explore the latest books by Sunny Angel, Lelita Baldock, JRC Cox, Alan Dale, Mal Foster, Greg Freeman, Jacquelynn Luben, Sue Mackender, Marisa Noelle, Carla Scarano D’Antonio, Harriet Steel, and more. 

Promoting books outside a local bookshop

Monday, October 4, 2021

Woking Authors Meet

Woking authors who participated in the first online Woking Writers Week were able to meet in the flesh for the first time on Sunday 3 October for a special gathering to promote their latest titles. All had previously showcased their work here at ‘Writers at the Gate’ back in May. 

Since its recent opening, The Lionsheart book and coffee shop in Commercial Way, Woking has been stocking copies of their titles in its dedicated ‘Local Author’ section and the writers were out in force to show their appreciation. 

Lelita Baldock, who arranged the meeting said, ‘It was great to bring such talent together and share our experiences as authors.’ Her new novel, Where the Gulls Fall Silent is out soon with her other titles, Widow’s Lace and The Unsound Sister currently available through Amazon. 

The Asylum Soul author, Mal Foster, said, ‘The meeting proved there is a wealth of talent in the town. Here, we have the nucleus to kick things forward with a view to arranging further events that will enable us to promote our books.' Mal’s new novel, Fluke’s Cradle is due out in the Spring. 

Pictured are Sunny Angel, author of Wings. Lelita Baldock, Mal Foster, Sue Mackender, author of Girl on the Hill, and poet, Greg Freeman, whose latest collection, Marples Must Go! is out now.  

Note: This item also appeared in The Woking News & Mail, 07 October 2021