E-Newsletter 24/5/2021

Posted on 14 June 2021  |   Leave a comment

The Art of Memory

Make your mess your message – Robin Roberts

Cambridge Speechwriter Position

The team within the University of Cambridge’s Development and Alumni Relations office is looking for a Senior Leadership Communications Specialist.

The recruitment process is being managed by Rachel Gardner Dalton. You can contact her through her LinkedIn Page.

The previous occupant of this post is a member of the Guild and she’s gone on to great things…

Apply here:


Tip from John Swartzwelder

John Swartzwelder was a writer for The Simpsons. He’s know for being very reclusive. He said this in a recent interview in the New Yorker.

‘Since writing is very hard and rewriting is comparatively easy and rather fun, I always write my scripts all the way through as fast as I can, the first day, if possible, putting in crap jokes and pattern dialogue—“Homer, I don’t want you to do that.” “Then I won’t do it.” Then the next day, when I get up, the script’s been written. It’s lousy, but it’s a script. The hard part is done. It’s like a crappy little elf has snuck into my office and badly done all my work for me, and then left with a tip of his crappy hat. All I have to do from that point on is fix it. So I’ve taken a very hard job, writing, and turned it into an easy one, rewriting, overnight. I advise all writers to do their scripts and other writing this way.’

(Hat tip to the Farnam Street e-newsletter)



I’ve just finished Lynne Kelly’s book Memory CraftMemory is one of the canons of rhetoric, but one that not much attention is paid these days. Who is going to have the time to memorise a 20 minute speech? But I found Kelly’s enthusiasm for memory palaces very infectious, and the theory very useful.

Watch her TEDx talk here


Shakespeare – The Riddle of Genius

Boris Johnson’s forthcoming book on Shakespeare has been listed on Amazon. There are two rumours circulating  – one that he missed vital Covid meetings to get the text finished – the second that he got someone to ghostwrite it for him.

Whatever happens, Johnson’s work will not be a patch on the lectures of Professor Paul Cantor. Professor Cantor’s lecture series on Shakespeare and Politics is fantastic. I’ve watched at least 12.

See the Johnson listing here


Last call for the Essentials of Speechwriting

Alan Barker is running an online Essentials of Speechwriting on Thursday 10 June. 

Full details here


The Pitfalls of Pricing Seminar

I’ve had several conversations about pricing work with members in the past year. I don’t think it’s a subject on which there are any definitive answers, but it’s good to exchange ideas with fellow writers.

Someone suggested I organise a seminar about it, so I have. If you’re in full-time employment, and you’re thinking about becoming self-employed, you’re welcome to join.

The details are here


Zoom Get-Together

Our Zoom chats continue every Friday at 3.30pm. Everyone welcome.


Welcome to New Members

Dr Rachel Johnson, presently based in the UAE, has joined the UK Speechwriters’ Guild

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