Meet the Competition Committee

The SXB Write A Story Competition Committee was originally put together with representatives from the major Anglophone associations in the Strasbourg area who shared the English Speaking Community’s vision of providing an activity encouraging the creative use of the English language.

Below, in alphabetical order, are the current Organising Committee members.

Hal D’Arpini

Hal is from the Detroit area and lived in Strasbourg for seven years with his wife, Brigitte, before moving to Munich in 2017.  He has a degree in French and theater and has a legal and IT background. While in Strasbourg, Hal founded a writers group, worked as an English teacher at various schools in Strasbourg, and was Membership Coordinator with Americans in Alsace. Hal’s hobbies include traveling, chess, video games, and learning German.  Hal is honored to have been a part of the Organizing Committee from the start, serving as its webmaster (a labor of love). For the past several years, Hal has likewise conducted writing workshops on behalf of the competition for adults in Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, and Freiburg, where he has helped potential entrants to develop their creative ardor in order to free the writer within.

denise-donnioDenise Donnio

Originally from the UK, Denise Donnio grew up in North-West England and spent many years studying, then working in Sheffield, a city where today she still feels very much at home, with a deep love for the surrounding Peak District, local folk music scenes and people. Her love for travel and languages has led her to enjoy life in Germany, France and the USA. Today she lives in Strasbourg with her husband and two wonderful children. A trained English-language educator and childrens’ yoga teacher, she brings a lifelong interest in story, music and self-development to her passion for helping others get in touch with their creative sides. On behalf of the competition Denise will be delivering creative writing courses to both adults and children, free of charge thanks to the generous sponsorship of the American Embassy in Paris and Strasbourg.

Jodi Lehner

Jodi moved to Strasbourg with her husband Rick in 2016 from Washington, DC. She is retired from the World Bank Group, where she was a senior Board Operations Officer in the Corporate Secretariat, supporting the Boards of Governors and the Executive Directors in executing their fiduciary and governance responsibilities. Jodi has a MA in Public Administration from George Mason University. Since 2019, she has been responsible for taking the Organising Committee Minutes, as well as contributing to the organising committee in making the competition a reality. Jodi has been Secretary for Americans In Alsace since 2017.

Ann Lynch

Ann Lynch worked in strategic planning in the global technology, media and telecom industries in the UK and the USA for 20 years. It was her German husband who took her to France! With a primary degree in Spanish and Italian followed by an MBA, Ann has a deep love of languages and literature. Now passionate about Strasbourg and the surrounding regions she is active in several associations. Ann helps organize, fund and run the competition and has been around since the start. She was committee chair for two years and will manage the finances and fundraising for the 2020 cycle.

sue-moller-2Sue Moller

Originally from West London, Sue trained as a teacher and studied English Literature, working in various countries and with multiple nationalities before moving into administration. She was personal assistant to the CEO of a major UK charity, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation, for seven years, in addition to being an effective community organiser spearheading initiatives to revitalise local shopping. In her spare time, she created several regeneration projects in her London borough, fund-raising extensively to fit out what is now the Rose Theatre in Kingston upon Thames. Having always enjoyed writing, since arriving in Strasbourg she has finally begun writing stories herself, finding it hugely rewarding. Sue has been around since the start and as committee chair for two years, she drives many aspects of the competition, including forging new partnerships with the US Consulate and the schools’ Rectorat in 2018.

Sue Norman-Flecksue-normanfleck

Born in Glasgow in 1958, Sue moved around central and southern England with her family, before finally settling in Hampshire. A combined honours degree in French and German from the University of London in 1981 led her to a thirty-year career in local newspapers, moving through journalism, features writing, copy writing for the advertising department then finally moving into the general management of local newspapers and a local radio station. Sue now lives with her second husband in Strasbourg and works at the European Audiovisual Observatory of the Council of Europe. She is currently also researching and writing a historical fiction novel based in Alsace during the turbulent years of the Second World War. Sue is the current committee chair. She brings her considerable management and press experience to the competition, in addition to playing a very important role in the entry process, ensuring that the judges only get anonymized entries!

Julia Weston

Originally from the UK, Julia has a degree in English and French and worked for several years in London in television production. She became a script editor on long running tv drama series before becoming a drama script writer for the BBC and Channel 5. She moved to Paris to join her Swiss husband and they now live in Strasbourg with their two active children! Julia continues to script write and also works as a reader for tv and film companies analyzing the suitability of pre and published material for adaptation. Apart from organising the writing workshops provided by the competition, Julia is joining Denise delivering creative writing courses to both adults and children. She hopes she might also be inspired to finally complete a novel!

And introducing our Muse… Lynette Kerridge

Lynette is proud to be the founder of and inspiration behind the Strasbourg Write a Story Competition. As an amateur writer, new to Strasbourg, she found it hard to find like-minded creative people so started a writing group which attracted many members. Soon Lynette began to dream of something bigger – a writing competition open to everyone in Strasbourg and the wider area in a spirit of international co-operation. But, like stories, dreams mean nothing if they merely remain in your head. In 2013 Lynette approached the ESC, the ESU and the AIA among others who agreed to fund the project. The rest (as they say) is history. Lynette has since moved back to the UK but continues to be involved in the competition. She is delighted that it is entering its fifth year.

Lynette has written short stories and one novel, The Towers of London, which explores themes relating to diaspora. She is currently working on a second novel, The Chronicle of V, set in 1970’s Britain. She says, ‘creative writing is a powerful and transformative process. Give it a go!’