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lost madonna denise gow pen to print showcase

Showcase: Lost Madonna + The Sea And The City

For our first entry this week, sit back, shut your eyes and allow yourself to be transported to 15th-century Italy. Denise Gow’s The Lost Madonna follows the story of a young woman, abandoned as a child and raised by nuns, who is so beautiful she inspires the painters of the era. I am excited to share with you a sample chapter of the audiobook version of the novel. Both expertly written and performed, the chapter describes an evocative, visceral and harsh image of life in a small town just outside of Renaissance Florence. Experience the disparity between the rich and the poor, the free and the condemned, the hunters and the hunted.

I am also pleased to share a poem by Patsy Middleton: The Sea And The City. The poem examines the difference between our passions, which excite and motivate us, and our anchors, which fill us with nostalgia and a sense of belonging. She does this through the perspective of a sailor coming into port. As much as he will miss the excitement and pull of the ocean waves, he is thrilled to be back among the busy city he calls home. I wonder, can you identify which of your great loves and interests — be they people, places or things — are passions and which are anchors?

Keep on writing!

Dan (Associate Editor)


The Lost Madonna (novel extract) by Denise Gow

lost madonna denise gow pen to print showcase

(C) Denise Gow, 2020

The Lost Madonna is a haunting historical fiction with elements of romance, mystery and suspense. It is available to purchase here.




The Sea And The City by Patsy Middleton

the sea and the city patsy middleton poem showcase pen to print

Wind whistling in the rigging and waves lapping: a symphony exciting him.

The spray stings his face: it is the sea’s rough kiss.

The sea is his lover.

His ship creaks as she docks in the port. He breathes the city’s air.

The sounds, the smells and the feel of the city greet him.

The clop and jingle of the harness as wheels trundle over cobbles mingle with street sellers’ cries.

The sea was a wonder when he met her: vast, dangerous, powerful.

He was born in the city; its vibrant buzz enfolds him now. He is home.

She is his mother.

(C) Patsy Middleton, 2020


If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! ‘Showcase’, please send your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to You can read more fiction, poetry, interviews and author advice in the latest issue of Write On! Available here .