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time and space to write residential creative writing courses 2013


At the beginning of the week, the students are all so quiet. At the end of the week they’re going to conquer the world. —Alison, taxi driver


Welcome What do we do? What happens on an Arvon writing week? Arvon’s work with schools and communities How you can support Arvon’s work The Hurst Campaign Arvon centres 2013 course programme Course fee and grants for writers Competition Terms and conditions

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Ruth Borthwick, Chief Executive

In our role as the country’s leading creative writing organisation, Arvon aims to work even harder for writers this year. We will be renovating The Hurst, our house in Shropshire that was once the home of seminal playwright John Osborne. We have wonderful plans to fill the house with writers for the first time in its 200-year history and to create a comfortable place to nurture writing talent. The work will take most of 2013 and so The Hurst will be closed from March, to re-open as Arvon’s flagship centre in 2014.


This year, Arvon’s programme will continue its move beyond our writing houses to a clutch of cities throughout England as we respond to those who want to write closer to home and still benefit from the unique Arvon experience. So you see, Arvon is buzzing with new ideas. We have created a stunning programme to stimulate writers at all levels, from beginners to more practised authors, which will run at our three beautiful houses: Lumb Bank in Yorkshire; Totleigh Barton in Devon; and Moniack Mhor in Inverness-shire. We’re proud to present our first ever course on writing for puppets, which will feature Handspring director Mervyn Millar and dramatist Nell Leyshon. In another first, short-story writer Tania Hershman and science writer and novelist Simon Ings suggest different ways to bring the wonderful world of science into your writing. Poet Jen Hadfield and book-maker Rachel Hazell have been inspired by the natural world to devise a week featuring landscape artist Richard Long as guest. We offer a new tutored retreat for children with writers Steve Voake and NM Browne.

As ever, top writers are tutoring for Arvon this year and you have a rare opportunity to learn from them in an intimate setting at our writing houses. Highlights to inspire you to explore the brochure further include: leading poet of her generation Alice Oswald; prizewinning memoirist Janice Galloway; legendary writer and artist Alasdair Gray; BAFTAwinning screenwriter Shawn Slovo; TV comedy supremos Lawrence Marks and Maurice Gran; and top playwrights Richard Bean and Simon Stephens. Finally, we want everyone to have the chance to explore their creativity at Arvon. We run a grants scheme to enable you to come if you can’t afford our fees. So please check out our grant scheme and apply today. Come along and be part of the Arvon experience.




Arvon is celebrated for its unique ability to discover and develop the writer in everyone. We run an annual programme of residential courses at our three beautiful rural writing houses – in Devon, Inverness-shire and Yorkshire. They cover a wide range of genres – from Fiction to Screenwriting, and Poetry to Graphic Novels. We provide grants to cover some or all of the fee, and four out of five of all people who apply receive some support. Find out how to apply on page 127.


In many ways we offer much more than a course – we have sought to develop the perfect environment for your creativity to thrive. Time and time again we hear how surprised and delighted people are by the results of their week’s writing, and that the experience has inspired their confidence and creativity long after they have left.

At the heart of Arvon is the desire to encourage anyone, regardless of their background, to find their voice through writing. About a third of our activities are with groups from schools, youth and community groups and arts organisations, many from the most disadvantaged communities in the UK. We are also packing up our special ingredients and bringing them to the city, with three-day non-residential creative writing courses. Have a look at our website in spring for news of our city locations in 2013.


WHAT HAPPENS ON AN ARVON WRITING WEEK? Our residential writing courses run from Monday afternoon to Saturday morning. Each course is tutored by two professional writers plus a guest who visits mid-week to talk about their work and answer your questions. Typically, in the mornings, the tutors lead group workshops to help you explore specific aspects of writing, while in the afternoons you are free to do your own work. You will also get the chance to have at least two invaluable one-to-one tutorials, one with each tutor, to look at your writing in depth.


During your stay, you will live in one of our historic houses, writing, eating and living together with a group of up to 15 other writers. You will cook for each other once, and immerse yourselves in the written word. This short time will seem much longer, and with no distractions you can dedicate yourself only to your writing.

To get the most out of your course, we strongly recommend that before you arrive you familiarise yourself with some of your tutors’ work – it will make the world of difference. You will also be encouraged to offer and receive feedback with your fellow students throughout the week and to share your writing with the rest of the group at the Friday night reading.


ARVON’S WORK WITH SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES We are constantly looking for ways to open up our inspiring writing experiences to all. We partner with schools, arts organisations and community groups to reach young people and adults from a diverse range of backgrounds.


Partnerships with Schools

To ensure that all schools have the opportunity to experience an Arvon course, we run dedicated weeks at our centres throughout the year. In 2013, we will work in partnership with over 30 schools from both the state and independent sectors, bringing young people to our centres for writing weeks and transforming their creativity and confidence with the written word. School courses follow the same format as our adult weeks, with the same high standard of tutors, but tailored to suit each group. We also run some longer-term schools projects, with links to our online writing platform.

This was one of the best weeks of my life. The setting was perfect and I’ve improved my writing skills so much. —student The week has had a tremendous impact, which for some of our boys will be life­-changing. —primary head teacher, London This was a group of students from one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, most of whom had not been away on a school trip before. With the encouragement of their teachers and the Arvon staff, they gained confidence to experiment with their writing. —teacher, Glasgow



Mother Tongues is a creative writing project for bilingual young people to write in their mother tongue and English side by side, exploring both languages and cultures. The project includes in-school workshops, a residential writing week, the production of an anthology of writing, and celebratory events for students to share their creative achievements. Funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the project has so far benefited 48 young people. In 2013 we plan to work with young people from many different community languages including Somali, Romany and Urdu.


I feel more confident about how I speak and how I write in English and Portuguese. I improved in my English levels. —participant This has been a groundbreaking project in terms of recognition of Yoruba culture and language and has benefited everyone concerned.—Lambeth LEA


Writing the game

Writing the Game engages young people’s love of football to inspire a life-long interest in writing and words. During a week-­long residential course at an Arvon centre, young people aged 14–16 work with professional writers to create a football newspaper, take part in a training session at a local football ground and write and perform a football musical. Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the project has already seen some remarkable results and has benefited over 100 young people from disadvantaged areas in England. “It’s changed my opinion about writing. It showed me that writing is worthwhile, it has meaning, and I recognise the importance of the work I produce.’ —participant 16

“He struggled with English all through school, and this has had a major impact on his English and his grades. It’s given him a boost in his confidence and he’s a different person.” —parent

Partnerships with Community GROUPS and Arts Organisations

Arvon also works with other arts organisations, community groups and charities to enable their members to engage with writing. For some, it is a chance to develop their skills, for others a means of empowerment and self-expression. For many it is life-changing. Recent groups have included Opportunity Youth, supporting young people at risk in Belfast; Vita Nova, supporting those in recovery from alcohol/drug addiction; Inscribe, developing Black and Asian writers in Yorkshire; and Freedom from Torture.

“Arvon gave me back my coloured pen that I once lost under the ashes of a burnt country: Afghanistan.” —participant, Freedom from Torture “The Arvon experience has had an incredible effect on the group’s writing, confidence, team building and self-belief.” —Nell Leyshon, tutor

If you want to find out more about bringing a school group to Arvon or working in partnership, please contact Emma Feasey on 020 7324 2562 or email 17


At Arvon we believe anyone can be a writer, and we recognise that there are some people who need help to get here. For people whose day-to-day lives are full of challenges – young people (especially those growing up in deprived circumstances), carers, ex-offenders, refugees and people with disabilities – an Arvon week can be truly transformative. Young people struggling with reading and writing can re-engage with learning. Adults who have not had a voice can be heard, sometimes for the first time. Our courses improve confidence, communication, motivation and, above all, creativity. We run 30 bespoke courses each year for these groups. 18

We also offer grants to ensure that people on low or no income can still attend our public courses. These grants help those who are on low income, carers, those on disability benefits and many others (see page 127). Around 20% of people on our public courses receive some support. This is only possible because of the support of people like you. If you already give to Arvon, thank you. If you don’t, please will you consider it?

Every donation helps, and every donation is appreciated. But, if you can, please consider signing up to our membership scheme. Regular donations allow us to plan ahead and make the best use of our time and resources. To say thank you, we offer special benefits for Arvon Friends (see below). ONE-OFF DONATIONS You can make a donation at or by sending a cheque payable to Arvon Foundation’ at Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA. REGULAR DONATIONS: ARVON FRIENDS Arvon Friends are the bedrock of our work with schools and communities. Membership starts at £30 a year and in return, we give our Friends priority booking for our courses, monthly e-newsletters and other extras. See arvon-friends for more information.

ARVON ANGELS Supporters who give more than £500 each year are our Arvon Angels, and they have a huge impact on Arvon’s work. In return we offer a tailored programme of benefits including invitations to events and readings. LEGACIES Including Arvon in your will is the best way to safeguard Arvon’s work and the future of our beautiful centres. COMPANIES, TRUSTS AND FOUNDATIONS Arvon is hugely grateful to the generous trusts, foundations and companies who support our work. If you would like to know more about any of the ways to support Arvon, or to discuss a donation, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Ana Horton at development@ or 020 7324 2554.



In 2013, our Shropshire centre will undergo a transformation. The Hurst, John Osborne’s former home, has been one of our writing centres since 2004. More than 4,000 people have already experienced our life-changing courses there. Until now, we have been able to use only a small part of the 26-acre site and we have worked mostly in the converted stables. The Manor House at the heart of the estate, where John and Helen Osborne lived, has been uninhabited for almost a decade.


PHASE 1 In 2013 we will be renovating the Manor House to host our creative writing courses. From 2014 Arvon’s writers will be able to cook and eat in the farmhouse kitchen (where John Osborne set his final play, Déjà Vu). The newly developed building will offer: • large spaces for workshops and tutorials, with beautiful views of the countryside • new cooking/dining spaces • single, en suite study bedrooms for all writers. The new facilities will enable us to double our work with schools and community groups at The Hurst. PHASE 2 We will transform the former stables into a writers’ retreat, allowing us to welcome established and emerging writers from around the world to The Hurst for longer periods of two weeks to two months. We will also develop the 26-acre grounds – currently overgrown and inaccessible in many areas – and provide

‘Writers’ Hides’ across the landscape. When The Hurst opens in full, nearly 1,000 young, aspiring and established writers can be welcomed every year. OUR SUPPORTERS We are deeply grateful to our supporters: our lead funder Arts Council England; trusts and foundations including The John S Cohen Foundation, The Finnis Scott Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Robert Gavron Charitable Trust, The Wolfson Foundation and the many generous individuals who have contributed. CAN YOU HELP? We still need an enormous amount of support as we move forward to Phase 2. We very much appreciate donations at all levels. If you are considering supporting us, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Ana Horton at or 21








OUR CENTRES: ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD Each of our writing houses is set in a remote and peaceful part of the British countryside, from the gentle hills of Devon, to the rugged Yorkshire Pennines or the moorland slopes of the Scottish Highlands. They are perfect places to get away from everyday distractions and concentrate on imagination and words. Please note: this means there is no internet or television, and only limited mobile signal. Previous participants talk fondly about the uniquely collective, creative spirit of our courses, and the chemistry of living and writing with people from all walks of life.


Accommodation Centre accommodation varies, but all of our writers’ houses have single bedrooms, with a few shared rooms at a slightly lower cost. Most bathrooms are shared. Each centre has a living room and well-stocked library plus many other quiet spaces and, of course, wonderful landscapes to help you escape and focus on your writing. Standards are deliberately simple but comfortable and clean; our centres feel like houses rather than hotels and you are encouraged to make them your home for the duration of the week. Courses do not rely on the use of a computer and it is worth noting that the computer facilities vary widely from centre to centre. There is no IT support available at the centres, but centre staff will do their best to fix any problems as soon as possible. You are encouraged to bring a laptop if you have one.

Food Throughout your course all your food and drink is provided, except for alcohol which you can buy locally. We do our utmost to buy seasonal and locally produced products where they are available. The Centre Directors will be your hosts and you will find they create a relaxed, friendly and informal atmosphere, where everyone helps themselves to lunch and breakfast and each night a different team of writers take their turn to cook the evening meal. Don’t worry – the recipes and ingredients are provided and there’s lots of help at hand. This is a joyous and important part of the Arvon experience – the preparing and sharing of food and much more. For details on course fees, grants, and how to book, see pages 126-128.

Centres can cater for a range of access requirements – if you have specific needs please contact the centre. 27

LUMB BANK The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, West Yorkshire

The grounds at Lumb Bank are breathtaking and I’ll never forget the stunning view.


Lumb Bank is an 18th-century mill-owner’s house which stands in 20 acres of steep woodland. The house once belonged to Ted Hughes and is set in a striking Pennine landscape of woods and rivers, fine stone houses and weavers’ cottages, packhorse trails and ruins of old mills. It is half a mile from the historic village of Heptonstall and two miles from Hebden Bridge.

There are 14 single rooms and one shared room. Lumb Bank is at the foot of a steep private lane and cars must be parked at the top of this hill, approximately ten minutes’ walk away. Hebden Bridge train station is on the Leeds to Manchester Victoria railway line (each two and a half hours from London) and ten minutes by taxi from Lumb Bank.

Centre Directors Rebecca Evans & Liz Flanagan Administrator Becky Liddell (maternity cover) / Ilona Jones Centre Assistant Rachel Connor Bookkeeper Jean Warburton Lumb Bank, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 6DF Telephone / Fax 01422 843 714 Email 29

Moniack Mhor Inverness-shire

A place of rare space and weatherwildness and beauty. Something magical and good always happens here.


Moniack Mhor is close to some of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks, lying three miles from Loch Ness and overlooking the mountains of Strathfarrar and Ben Wyvis. The house and cottage are surrounded by fields of Highland cattle and sheep, with forest walks less than a mile away.

The house, a cosy converted steading, has ten single rooms and two shared rooms. There is an induction loop and the main work/living space is wheelchair accessible. The cottage has one shared room for students. In addition to a fiction library, the cottage also boasts the northern-most branch of the Scottish Poetry Library. Moniack is 14 miles from Inverness, which has a mainline rail station, bus station, and airport with links to many British airports, including Gatwick and Luton.

Centre Director Rachel Humphries Programming Director Cynthia Rogerson Administrator Lyndy Batty Education Co-ordinator Kelsey Morse Moniack Mhor, Teavarran, Kiltarlity, Beauly, Inverness-shire IV4 7HT Telephone 01463 741 675 Email



To step over the threshold into Totleigh Barton has always been to step into a world of writing.


Totleigh Barton is a thatched, pre-Domesday manor house, nestled in the rolling hills of one of the most peaceful and beautiful parts of Devon. Surrounded by farmland, it is two miles from the village of Sheepwash, with walks along the River Torridge nearby.

Totleigh Barton has 12 single and two shared rooms. The centre has a hearing induction loop and the main work/living space is fully accessible. The centre can accommodate a personal assistant.

Centre Directors Claire Berliner & Oliver Meek Administrator Stephanie Wardle Centre Assistant Eliza Squire

The nearest railway station is Exeter St Davids, which is just over an hour’s drive from Totleigh. We can arrange for course participants to share a taxi to and from the station if you contact us in advance.

Totleigh Barton, Sheepwash, Beaworthy, Devon EX21 5NS Telephone 01409 231 338 Email



Starting to write P36 Fiction P48 Poetry P74 Creative non-fiction and life writing P86 Writing for children and young adults P94 Theatre, film, TV and radio P102 Other courses and retreats P112




Starting to Write courses encourage new writers to find their voice. Open to all, these weeks are perfect if you’ve never considered yourself a writer but have a story to tell, or just want to try out different kinds of writing to see what works for you. You can focus on poetry or develop that novel idea, or choose a course where you can experiment with all forms, from poems to fiction, non-fiction and drama.

I am really amazed at how far I have come and how much I have achieved in the week.




April 8 – 13, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Alan Bissett & Rodge Glass 2 STARTING TO WRITE

May 6 – 11, Lumb Bank Tutors: Kate Clanchy & Adam Marek 3 STARTING TO WRITE A NOVEL

June 3 – 8, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Anjali Joseph & Jonathan Lee


June 10 – 15, Moniack Mhor Tutors: William Fiennes & Mark Haddon


August 5 – 10, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Vicki Feaver & Jacob Polley


August 19 – 24, Lumb Bank Tutors: Catherine O’Flynn & Ross Raisin 7 STARTING TO WRITE

August 26 – 31, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Jenn Ashworth & Daljit Nagra 8 STARTING TO WRITE POETRY

September 16 – 21, Lumb Bank Tutors: Karen McCarthy Woolf & Cliff Yates 9 STARTING TO WRITE FICTION October 7 – 12, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Sanjida O’Connell & Christopher Wakling 10 STARTING TO WRITE October 21 – 26, Lumb Bank Tutors: Hannah Pool & Lemn Sissay 37

April 8 – 13 Moniack Mhor

1. STARTING TO WRITE Getting going painlessly Do you have plenty of stories but no idea how to go about writing them? We all have to start somewhere. This week will focus on characterisation, dialogue, structure and setting, in a supportive and friendly environment. Most importantly, we will give you the confidence to carry on with your own writing after the week is over.

Alan Bissett is a novelist, playwright, performer and Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards’ Scottish Writer of the Year. His most recent novels, Death of a Ladies’ Man and Pacmen, were shortlisted for Scottish Novel of the Year. Guest Alasdair Gray is the prizewinning author of nine novels, four short story collections, three verse books, two history books, one book of plays and one picture book.


Rodge Glass’s biography of Alasdair Gray won a Somerset Maugham Award. His most recent novel, Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs, was published in 2012. He’s a Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University.

Lumb Bank May 6 – 11

2. STARTING TO WRITE What readers want How do you hook your reader’s attention? We’ll look at practical skills for all levels: from coming up with ideas to realising, editing and fine-tuning them. And we’ll look at various forms: poetry; short stories, non-fiction and drama. For anyone who loves to read and would like to write.

Kate Clanchy has won literary prizes for her poetry, non-fiction and short stories and her first novel Meeting the English comes out in 2013. Guest Jane Rogers has written eight novels including Island and The Testament of Jessie Lamb, which won the Arthur C Clarke Award.

Adam Marek is the author of two story collections, Instruction Manual for Swallowing and The Stone Thrower. He won the 2011 Arts Foundation Short Story Fellowship and was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Short Story Award.


June 3 – 8 Totleigh Barton

3. STARTING TO WRITE A NOVEL From seed to first draft This week is for anyone ready to embark on writing a novel, whether equipped with the seed of an idea, a rough draft which needs to be shaped and polished, or simply some notes towards a possible book. We’ll discuss plot, character, structure, and the mechanics of drafting. We’ll also talk about ways of motivating yourself to continue as you journey through uncharted areas. Anjali Joseph’s first novel, Saraswati Park (2010), won the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Betty Trask Prize as well as India’s Vodafone Crossword Book Award. Her second novel Another Country appeared in 2012. Guest Francesca Segal is the author of The Innocents. For three years she wrote the Debut Fiction column in The Observer.


Jonathan Lee is the author of Who is Mr Satoshi? and Joy. The Guardian has called him ‘a major new voice in British fiction’ and his novels have been translated into several languages.

Moniack Mhor June 10 – 15

4. STARTING TO WRITE Fact and fiction For people interested in writing prose of all kinds. We will explore the link between real life and imagination. If you are willing to experiment, you should end the week better equipped to tell the truth and to make things up, and understand how closely the two things are often related.

William Fiennes is the bestselling author of The Snow Geese and The Music Room. He won the Hawthornden Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award, among others. In 2003 he was voted Young Writer of the Year by The Sunday Times.

Mark Haddon is the author of three novels, a stageplay, a collection of poetry and a number of radio and television scripts. His novels include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Red House.

Guest Sophie Cooke is the author of The Glass House and Under the Mountain. Her short stories have been anthologised and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. 41

August 5 – 10 Totleigh Barton

5. STARTING TO WRITE POETRY Waking the imagination Everyone has a unique voice, imagination, experience and way of seeing things. Everyone, in other words, has a poet inside and possesses the magic material that is the stuff of poems. This week will be about waking up the inner poet: stimulating the imagination; finding patterns and rhythms for poetry; and expressing a vision that is different for every single person. Vicki Feaver’s The Handless Maiden won a Heinemann Prize and a Cholmondeley Award. The Book of Blood was shortlisted for Forward and Costa prizes. Her poem ‘Judith’ won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Guest Sean Borodale’s work includes the topographical poem Notes for an Atlas and his collection, Bee Journal.


Jacob Polley is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently The Havocs, and a novel, Talk of the Town. He teaches at the University of St Andrews.

Lumb Bank August 19 – 24

6. STARTING TO WRITE FICTION Hone it and own it Look with fresh eyes at how to make your writing shine. From the level of the sentence to the complexities of a novel, we will explore the elements that go together to make the best fiction writing, and hopefully try to overcome a few stumbling blocks along the way.

Catherine O’Flynn’s novels are What Was Lost, which won the Costa First Novel Award, and The News Where You Are, which was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. Guest Emma Jane Unsworth’s first novel Hungry, the Stars and Everything won a Betty Trask Award in 2012.

Ross Raisin’s second novel, Waterline, was published in 2011. His first novel, God’s Own Country, came out in 2008 and won The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.


August 26 – 31 Totleigh Barton

7. STARTING TO WRITE New discoveries For new writers who wish to deepen their interest in a particular style or who simply wish to try writing in new ways. Fun, exciting exercises will ensure you are constantly surprising yourself by trying any style that suits your imagination. We will encourage you to push boundaries and make thrilling new discoveries as writers, leaving you with a refreshed enthusiasm for further writing. Jenn Ashworth is a novelist, short story writer and awardwinning blogger. Her novels are A Kind of Intimacy, which won a Betty Trask Award, Cold Light and The Friday Gospels. Guest Inua Ellams was born in Nigeria. He lives and works in London as a poet, playwright, graphic artist and designer.


Daljit Nagra has published two award winning poetry collections. His verse novel of the Indian epic Ramayana will be published in the summer of 2013.

Lumb Bank September 16 – 21

8. STARTING TO WRITE POETRY New poems, better poems Poems combine excitement with reflection, feeling with technique, and image with narrative. Experiment with ways into writing, produce fresh material and explore new ideas in a focused and supportive atmosphere. We will also look at strategies to ‘beat the block’ and ways to keep writing after the course has finished.

Karen McCarthy Woolf is a poet and editor whose work has been exhibited on London Underground, commissioned as an installation and broadcast on radio. Her chapbook The Worshipful Company of Pomegranate Slicers was a New Statesman Book of the Year.

Cliff Yates’ collections include Henry’s Clock (winner of the Aldeburgh Prize and the Poetry Business Competition) and Frank Freeman’s Dancing School. He is the author of Jumpstart Poetry in the Secondary School.

Guest Liz Berry is a poet and teacher. She won the Poetry London Competition 2012, received an Eric Gregory Award in 2009 and her pamphlet is The Patron Saint of Schoolgirls.


October 7 – 12 Totleigh Barton

9. STARTING TO WRITE FICTION Making a start at making it up This week is for anyone ready to embark on writing fiction, whether equipped with the seed of an idea, a rough draft which needs to be shaped and polished, or simply some notes towards a possible book. We’ll discuss plot, character, structure, and the mechanics of drafting. We’ll also talk about ways of motivating yourself to continue as you journey through uncharted areas. Sanjida O’Connell’s first novel, Theory of Mind, won the Betty Trask Award and was a runner-up for the Asian Literary Award. Her other novels are Angel Bird, The Naked Name of Love and Sugar Island. Guest A D Miller’s first novel, Snowdrops, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Prize and the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger.


Christopher Wakling is the author of six novels including What I Did and The Devil’s Mask. He is the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the University of the West of England and writes travel journalism for The Independent.

Lumb Bank October 21 – 26

10. STARTING TO WRITE Stepping up You’ve taken the first step and decided you want to write. This week, for novice writers, will help you develop your style, discover your voice and refine your technique. Whether you want to work on poetry, prose or journalism, come and spend focused time with supportive tutors who will assist you in pursuit of your dream.

Hannah Pool was a Guardian journalist for 14 years. Now freelance, she writes regularly for The Guardian, The Times, Grazia and others. My Fathers’ Daughter is a memoir of her journey to Eritrea to find her birth family. Guest Rosie Garland is the award-winning author of debut novel The Palace of Curiosities. Her poetry collections include Everything Must Go.

Lemn Sissay is a poet and playwright, and is Associate Artist at the Southbank Centre. He is the author of five books of poetry including Rebel Without Applause and Morning Breaks in the Elevator.



There are countless novels and short stories that were first conceived on an Arvon Fiction week. As well as the general Fiction course, we have Short Story courses and weeks that focus on specific fiction genres, such as Crime Fiction and Historical Fiction. We also have Work in Progress courses, intended for those who are working on a novel or a collection of stories.

I have never learnt so much in such a short time. I do not feel shifty or shy about my writing anymore!




April 22 – 27, Lumb Bank Tutors: Stella Duffy & Patrick Gale

12 FICTION April 29 – May 4, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Maggie Gee & Nii Ayikwei Parkes 13 FICTION June 10 – 15, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Toby Litt & Molly McGrann


September 23 – 28, Lumb Bank Tutors: Morag Joss & Kei Miller 17 FICTION November 11 – 16, Lumb Bank Tutors: Will Eaves & Kate Long 18 FICTION November 25 – 30, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Patrick Neate & Cathi Unsworth

14 FICTION July 1 – 6, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Stephen May & Rachel Seiffert 15 FICTION September 9 – 14, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Susanna Jones & Cory Taylor 49


Short Story writing

19 SHORT STORY May 20 – 25, Lumb Bank Tutors: Claire Massey & Nicholas Royle 20 SHORT STORY

October 14 – 19, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Claire Keegan & Alexander MacLeod 21 SHORT STORY

November 4 – 9, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Alison MacLeod & Robert Shearman

Work in progress


June 3 – 8, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Marilyn Bowering & Kathy Page


June 17 – 22, Lumb Bank Tutors: Ed Docx & Alice Jolly


July 29 – August 3, Totleigh Barton Tutors: James Friel & Sarah Savitt


Sept 16 – 21, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Karen Hayes & Tim Pears 50



July 8 – 13, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Suchen Christine Lim & Kevin MacNeil


July 8 – 13, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Ben Faccini & Jean McNeil


August 19 – 24, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Tania Hershman & Simon Ings 31 CRIME FICTION October 14 – 19, Lumb Bank Tutors: Frances Fyfield & Dreda Say Mitchell

28 CRIME FICTION July 22 – 27, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Val McDermid & Andrew Taylor 29 HISTORICAL FICTION

August 5 – 10, Lumb Bank Tutors: Emma Darwin & Manda (MC) Scott


April 22 – 27 Lumb Bank

11. FICTION Another part of the forest... This will be a week with a queer slant. As well as tackling the basics – character/dialogue/plotting – we will explore the challenges and opportunities that alternative sexualities bring to narrative, from how to sidestep the same-sex pronoun problem to how to avoid the dead hand of political correctness. All genders, all sexualities and all subject matters warmly welcomed. Stella Duffy writes novels, short stories, plays and, very recently, poems. She is also a theatre director. Her most recent novels include The Room of Lost Things and Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore. Guest Patricia Duncker is the award-winning author of five novels including The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge.


Patrick Gale is the author of over 12 novels, including Notes From an Exhibition, The Whole Day Through and A Perfectly Good Man. He lives on a farm at Land’s End.

Totleigh Barton April 29 – May 4

12. FICTION Making the novel work How do you structure a novel? How do you get past the tricky middle and reach the end? How do you ensure your edit strengthens the finished draft? This week will help you with the nuts and bolts of writing a novel – fine-tuning its shape, finding the right length and knowing when the story is told.

Maggie Gee is the author of 11 novels including The White Family, My Cleaner and My Driver, a collection of short stories, The Blue, and most recently a memoir, My Animal Life. Guest Hisham Matar is the author of the novels In the Country of Men and Anatomy of a Disappearance.

Nii Ayikwei Parkes’ novel, Tail of the Blue Bird, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and his latest poetry collection is The Makings of You. In 2007 he received Ghana’s national ACRAG award for poetry and literary advocacy.


June 10 – 15 Totleigh Barton

13. FICTION Making writing exciting Writing is an isolating business; sometimes you can revel in that, but sometimes you need to open yourself up to new ideas and influences. We will give you practical advice about the day-to-day discipline of writing stories, but also encourage you to go a little wild. We will focus on dialogue, structure and how to come up with fresh, exciting ideas.

Toby Litt is a Granta Best of Young British Novelist and a regular on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. He has published two collections of stories and nine novels. He teaches creative writing at Birkbeck in London. Guest Peter Salmon’s debut novel The Coffee Story was chosen by Toby Litt as his book of the year in The New Statesman.


Molly McGrann has published two novels, 360 Flip and Exurbia. She was born in the United States and now lives in England.

Moniack Mhor July 1 – 6

14. FICTION Getting going, keeping going Writing is hard work, but it shouldn’t be a slog. During this week we will help you begin, give you direction, propulsion and the important tools needed to keep going when you get becalmed. Using a mixture of stimulating exercises, readings and discussion, we’ll help you move forward with confidence. Shy beginners and the more experienced welcome.

Stephen May’s second novel Life! Death! Prizes! was shortlisted for the 2012 Costa Novel Award. His first novel, Tag, won the 2009 Media Wales Readers’ Prize.

Rachel Seiffert’s books have been nominated for the Man Booker and Orange prizes and translated into ten languages. She has taught creative writing at Goldsmiths and Glasgow University.

Guest Stephen Thompson is the author of Toy Soldiers and Under the Westway. He lives in Paris.


September 9 – 14 Moniack Mhor

15. FICTION A novel adventure Yes, writing novels can be like climbing Mount Everest, but think of the view from the summit! And yes, with the right guides all mountains are surmountable. We’ll help you in your search for the best narrative voice for this particular story, and guide you on that steep uphill journey from rough idea and draft to arriving at your destination.

Susanna Jones is the author of The Earthquake Bird, Water Lily, The Missing Person’s Guide to Love and When the Nights were Cold. She teaches on the creative writing MA at Royal Holloway University of London. Guest James Robertson’s novels include The Testament of Gideon Mack and the award-winning books Joseph Knight and And the Land Lay Still.


Cory Taylor is an award-winning screenwriter, short story writer and novelist. Her novel Me and Mr Booker was the Pacific region winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize.

Lumb Bank September 23 – 28

16. FICTION Problem solving in fiction The construction of every story should pose problems to the writer. If it doesn’t, there will be no tension, nor any breathtaking success. During this week we’ll embrace some of the common problems of fiction – pace, dialogue, description – and offer practical solutions towards solving them. We will also be looking at specific problems writers are having with their current works in progress. Morag Joss has written seven novels and several short stories. Awards and nominations include the CWA Silver Dagger, an Edgar Award, and a Heinrich Boll Residency. She teaches creative writing at Oxford University.

Kei Miller has written eight books to date across a range of genres – fiction, poetry, and essays. He is Director of the Creative Writing Programme at the University of Glasgow.

Guest Roopa Farooki’s five critically acclaimed novels have been published internationally and translated into 12 languages.


November 11 – 16 Lumb Bank

17. FICTION Gathering momentum Giving yourself that first ‘push’ as a writer can be hard. Where do you start? Which project to pursue? How can you keep the momentum going? This week is for those looking to find their writing voice, learn about structure and character, identify editing techniques and, above all, take on effective working practices that will help channel their enthusiasm into sustained progress. Will Eaves is the author of three novels, This Is Paradise, The Oversight and Nothing To Be Afraid Of, and one collection of poetry, Sound Houses. Guest Sarah Winman is a British author and actor. When God Was a Rabbit is her first novel.


Kate Long has written six novels, including bestseller The Bad Mother’s Handbook, later adapted for television. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and in various national newspapers and magazines.

Totleigh Barton November 25 – 30

18. FICTION Writing and the city For the first time more than half the world’s population live in cities. Do we need special skills to write their stories? With exercises focused on the urban experience and examining the work of our favourite cosmopolitan writers, this week will explore the fun and frustrations of writing about the city, including the multiplicity of voice, tone and, of course, location, location, location… Patrick Neate is the author of seven books of fiction and non-fiction. He has won several prizes including the Whitbread Novel Award and the NBCC Award for Criticism. His latest novel is Jerusalem.

Cathi Unsworth is the author of four pop cultural crime novels, The Not Knowing, The Singer, Bad Penny Blues and Weirdo, and the editor of the London Noir Compendium.

Guest Martyn Waites’ books include Born Under Punches, The Mercy Seat, White Riot and, as Tania Carver, The Surrogate, Cage Of Bones and Choked.


May 20 – 25 Lumb Bank

19. SHORT STORY Experience and imagination Every work of art begins with an idea. But how do you find that idea? And, when you do, what is the best way to transform it into a story, put that story into words and then polish it – turning it into the sparkling gem that a work of short fiction can be? During this week we’ll help you to get the ideas flowing and provide guidance on crafting brilliant short stories. Claire Massey’s short stories have been published in The Best British Short Stories 2011, Murmurations: An Anthology of Uncanny Stories About Birds, in numerous other anthologies and magazines, and as chapbooks. Guest M John Harrison has been writing and reviewing uncanny fiction for nearly 50 years.


Nicholas Royle is a novelist, short story writer, editor, publisher and lecturer of creative writing. He is the author of more than 100 short stories and one collection, Mortality, and has edited numerous anthologies.

Moniack Mhor October 14 – 19

20. SHORT STORY What fiction writers can learn from poets How and where do poetry and short prose intersect? We will focus on traditional poetic elements – such as image, sound, language and rhythm – and try to gain a better understanding of the ways these components function in literary short fiction. If a person wandering through a bookshop read only a paragraph of your prose, what would that tell them about your story? Make sure you are saying what you want to say. Claire Keegan won the William Trevor Prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Olive Cook Award, and the Davy Byrnes Award, among many other awards. Her short story collections include Antarctica and Walk the Blue Field. She lives in Ireland.

Alexander MacLeod’s first collection of short stories, Light Lifting, was a finalist for the Giller Prize and the Frank O’Connor International Short Fiction Award. He lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and teaches at Saint Mary’s University.

Guest Bernard MacLaverty has published four novels and five collections of stories, including Matters of Life and Death and Walking the Dog.


November 4 – 9 Totleigh Barton

21. SHORT STORY Lighting the fuse The short story has been called an ‘explosion of truth’, but how does truth come alive on the page? We’ll explore the essentials of story writing and the dynamics that give the form its power: urgency, mystery, transformation and revelation. This is a week for writers with some short story experience, who would welcome fresh starting points, new inspiration and an opportunity to deepen their story craft. Alison MacLeod has published three novels, a story collection, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction, and many short stories. She was longlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Award and shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award. Guest A L Kennedy is the multi-award winning author of five novels, five books of short stories and two books of non-fiction.


Robert Shearman’s short stories have won British and World Fantasy Awards, the Shirley Jackson Award and the Edge Hill Readers’ Prize. He also writes for theatre, radio and television, including episodes of Doctor Who.

Moniack Mhor June 3 – 8

22. FICTION: WORK IN PROGRESS Keeping your promises Need help getting through the doldrums and reaching the end? The journey from idea to finished work can be long, with choices along the way that affect access to the heart of your story. Your tutors will act as guides, helping you explore the promises you make to the reader, and how to fulfil them. You are welcome to send us a 750-word sample of a current project in order to familiarise us with your work before the course begins. Marilyn Bowering has published a number of award-winning novels and books of poetry, including Visible Worlds, What it Takes to be Human and Soul Mouth. She lives on Vancouver Island. Guest Zoe Wicomb’s fiction includes David’s Story, Playing in the Light and The One That Got Away.

Kathy Page is the author of seven novels, including Alphabet and The Story of My Face, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and currently in development as a feature film. She lives in Canada.


June 17 – 22 Lumb Bank

23. FICTION: WORK IN PROGRESS The final cut So you have rewritten your work several times but you know that it’s still not quite there. This week will look at how to edit, restructure, polish, condense and rewrite, until you have a finished piece that really shines. Come prepared to see your work in new ways. Leave with some handy tools to help you fix those final problems.

Ed Docx is the author of three novels: The Calligrapher, Self Help (winner of The Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize) and The Devil’s Garden. Guest Marina Lewycka’s first novel was published in 2005 when she was 58. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian has sold more than a million copies in the UK alone.


Alice Jolly has published two novels, What the Eye Doesn’t See and If Only You Knew. Her plays have been professionally produced and she is working on a third novel and a memoir. She teaches creative writing at Oxford University.

Totleigh Barton July 29 – August 3

24. FICTION: WORK IN PROGRESS Getting there: editing your fiction Deep into your work, but looking for new approaches to reinvigorate your writing? Prior to the week, we will ask you to submit a sample of your work, and during the week there will be fresh thoughts and clear guidance in a dynamic and inspiring series of workshops, readings and individual tutorials that will help you on your way.

James Friel’s most recent novel is A Posthumous Affair (2012). He is Programme Leader for the MA in Writing at Liverpool John Moores University. Guest Jane Feaver’s latest novel is An Inventory of Heaven. Previously she worked in the editorial department at Faber.

Sarah Savitt is an editor at Faber where her authors include Louise Doughty, Maria McCann, Chibundu Onuzo, Krys Lee and Kat Banyard. She previously worked for HarperCollins, David Godwin Associates and Abner Stein.


September 16 – 21 Moniack Mhor

25. FICTION: WORK IN PROGRESS Refresh the work Attention all despairing and disheartened fledgling novelists: do not give up! All the great writers have once felt as you do now. Jump outside yourself and see the way you write, and what you write, anew. Look at characters from new angles. Play around with story structure. Mess about with the point of view. Refresh yourself! Finish the book, then polish it until it shines. Karen Hayes has written nine popular novels, including The Girl in the Stone Circle and Still Life on Sand. She also writes under the name Karen Nelson. Guest Thomas Connolly is a writer and film-maker. His debut novel The Spider Truces was named in the top five novels of the year by The Financial Times.


Tim Pears is the author of seven novels, including In the Place of Fallen Leaves (awarded the Hawthornden Prize and the Ruth Hadden Memorial Award), Wake Up and Landed (shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the IMPAC Award).

Moniack Mhor July 8 – 13

26. TUTORED RETREAT: FICTION The write medicine Think of this week as a residential visit to the doctor’s surgery. Tell us which bits of your story sag or make you cringe, and then let us offer you remedies. If you are at the beginning of writing, we will gently guide you in finding your narrative voice and the heart of your story. If you are bringing a work in progress, let us administer more drastic surgery in order to make your story shine. Suchen Christine Lim’s novel Fistful of Colours won the Singapore Literature Prize. Other novels include Rice Bowl and A Bit of Earth. A story from The Lies That Build a Marriage was adapted for television.

Kevin MacNeil is an award-winning novelist, playwright, poet and lyricist from the Outer Hebrides. His work includes The Stornoway Way and The Method Actor’s Guide to Jekyll and Hyde.

Guest Jane Yeadon’s popular books include It Won’t Hurt a Bit and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Midwife.


July 8 – 13 Totleigh Barton

27. FICTION AND EXPERIENCE Writing what you know In this course we will explore how to develop narratives based on our personal histories. Throughout the week we will look at how our own experience – our identities, travels, family histories and relationships – can spark new ideas for fiction, whether short stories or novels, and influence fictional technique.

Ben Faccini grew up in rural France and Italy. He worked for the United Nations on education issues, particularly with street children. He writes both non-fiction and fiction. His first novel was The WaterBreather. Guest Tishani Doshi’s novel The Pleasure Seekers draws on her Welsh-Gujarati background. Everything Begins Elsewhere is her latest poetry collection.


Jean McNeil is the author of ten books, among them four novels and a collection of short fiction. She is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Moniack Mhor July 22 – 27

28. CRIME FICTION Killing people for pleasure and profit The purpose of this week is to accelerate your development as a crime writer and focus on your work in progress. We will explore some of the techniques used by crime novelists (many of which apply to other forms of fiction). We will also investigate the variety of subgenres and some of the commercial considerations relating to writing and selling crime. Val McDermid is an internationally bestselling, multiaward-winning crime writer. Born and raised in Fife, educated in Oxford, and a BBC journalist, she lives by the sea.

Andrew Taylor’s awards include the Diamond Dagger. Among his novels are the Lydmouth Series, The Roth Trilogy, The American Boy and The Scent of Death.

Guest Allan Guthrie is the prizewinning author of eight crime titles, a literary agent with JBA, and founder of digital publishing company Blasted Heath.


August 5 – 10 Lumb Bank

29. HISTORICAL FICTION Writing the past How do you root your fiction in history without getting stuck in the mud? In this practical and focused week we will draw on our varied experience to help you tackle the challenges of setting your fiction in the past. We will explore the questions of period voice and language, characterisation, research and structure to create the perfect historical novel.

Emma Darwin’s debut The Mathematics of Love was shortlisted for, among others, the Commonwealth Book Prize and Goss First Novel Award. Her PhD included her bestselling novel A Secret Alchemy, and explored the writing of historical fiction.


Manda (MC) Scott’s first novel was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and her fourth for an Edgar Award. Her bestselling Boudica: Dreaming series preceded the more recent Rome series of first-century spy thrillers. Guest Robert Low has been a journalist and writer from the age of 17. He is author of the Oathsworn Series and is currently writing the Kingdom Series, which deals with the Scottish Wars of Independence – the era of Wallace, Bruce and Edward Longshanks.

Totleigh Barton August 19 – 24

30. SCIENCE AND WRITING Seasoned with a sprinkling of science The world of science is a rich seam of inspiration only rarely mined by fiction writers and poets, with or without a scientific background. From researchers in the laboratory – with all its strange, wondrous equipment – to scientific theories, the history of science and delicious-sounding scientific words, we will be giving you different ways to sprinkle science into your writing, encouraging you to play! Tania Hershman is the author of two story collections, My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions and The White Road and Other Stories, containing science-inspired stories. Tania is fictionwriter-in-residence in Bristol University’s Science Faculty.

Simon Ings edits Arc, a literary quarterly from New Scientist. His books include The Eye, a history of vision, and novels The Weight of Numbers and Dead Water. He is writing a history of Soviet science.

Guest Heidi Williamson’s first poetry collection, Electric Shadow, was a PBS Recommendation. She was poet-in-residence at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre. 71

October 14 – 19 Lumb Bank

31. CRIME FICTION Nefarious adventures in fiction This week we invite would-be, or already published, crime novelists to experiment with new ideas. The aim of the five days is to show that there is no set format for the crime genre, except a dedication to good storytelling. Expect serious hard work, stimulation and plenty of selfdeprecating laughter.

Frances Fyfield, a one-time criminal lawyer, has written 22 novels in the crime genre and won the Crime Writers’ Association Gold and Silver Daggers. She also presents the BBC Radio 4 series Tales from the Stave. Guest Denise Mina is the prizewinning author of nine novels, including The End of the Wasp Season.


Dreda Say Mitchell has published five crime novels and a short story in the anthology Vengeance, edited by Lee Child. She was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey Dagger for best first novel in Britain, 2005, for Running Hot.



Arvon weeks create the perfect conditions to draw out the poet in everyone. We have a range of Poetry courses designed for writers at all levels – whether you are making the first tentative forays into the world of poetry, are working to a first collection, or wish to open up your writing to new directions with Poetry and Bookart.

We feel we genuinely formed a ‘community’ - it is a warm, comforting feeling to be in the company of poets.



32 POETRY April 15 – 20, Lumb Bank Tutors: David Harsent & Fiona Sampson

37 POETRY October 7 – 12, Lumb Bank Tutors: Clare Pollard & Neil Rollinson

33 POETRY April 22 – 27, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Jo Shapcott & John Hartley Williams

38 POETRY November 4 – 9, Lumb Bank Tutors: Alice Oswald & Michael Symmons Roberts

34 POETRY June 17 – 22, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Ann Sansom & Peter Sansom

Poetry –­ specialist

35 POETRY June 24 – 29, Lumb Bank Tutors: Mimi Khalvati & Tim Liardet 36 POETRY September 23 – 28, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Helena Nelson & Michael Laskey

39 POETRY AND BOOKART July 15 – 20, Lumb Bank Tutors: Jen Hadfield & Rachel Hazell 40 ADVANCED POETRY August 5 – 10, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Gillian Clarke & Carol Ann Duffy 41 POETRY IN PROGRESS November 18 – 23, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Paul Batchelor & Frances Leviston 75

April 15 – 20 Lumb Bank

32. POETRY The poetry compass Have you found your voice or are you resisting it? What is your subject? Does it match your style? First-timer or published author, all poets have an inner compass that should give them their bearings. This course uses provocative exercises and feedback to help you gain confidence and refine your poetic identity.

David Harsent’s most recent collection, Night, won the Griffin Poetry Prize. His version of Yannis Ritsos’ In Secret was published in October 2012. His collaborations with composers have been performed at major venues worldwide. Guest Ruth Padel’s latest book, The Mara Crossing, explores the theme of migration, both animal and human.


Fiona Sampson, whose awards include a Cholmondeley Award and the Newdigate Prize, has been shortlisted twice for the T S Eliot Prize. Her 19 books of poetry and criticism are widely translated.

Totleigh Barton April 22 – 27

33. POETRY Poetry as productive estrangement For writers with a few poems under their belts, this week aims to make you surprise yourself: to startle new and different poems out of you, to extend the kind of poet you are. We will look at the importance of notebooks, at looking beyond ourselves for material, at finding new forms and how to write the poems you most want to read.

Jo Shapcott’s award winning collections include Electroplating the Baby, Phrase Book and My Life Asleep. Her most recent, Of Mutability, won the Costa Book of the Year Award. In 2011 she was awarded The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

John Hartley Williams has published 12 collections of poetry, two of which have been shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. His most recent publications are Assault on the Clouds and a novel, Death Comes For the Poets.

Guest Matthew Sweeney’s new collection, Horse Music, will be published in 2013.


June 17 – 22 Totleigh Barton

34. POETRY Follow that line This demanding but hugely enjoyable week will take your writing to another level, whether you are well-published or only just starting out. Working from classic and contemporary poems, exhilarating writing sessions are the main focus in a week with ‘the best poetry teachers in the world’ (The Guardian). Ann and Peter are directors of The Poetry Business in Sheffield, where they edit The North magazine and Smith/Doorstop Books. Ann Sansom’s books include Romance and In Praise of Men and Other People. She has been Guest Poet for The Times Educational Supplement, is a tutor for the Poetry Society’s Poetry Class and visiting tutor for Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan and Oxford Universities. Guest Dean Parkin’s pamphlets are Irresistible to Women and Just Our Luck. His poems have appeared in various publications.


Peter Sansom’s books include Writing Poems and Selected Poems. He has been writerin-residence with Marks and Spencer and Prudential, & has been Fellow in Poetry at Leeds and Manchester Universities.

Lumb Bank June 24 – 29

35. POETRY Doing the difficult You will be invited to choose as excitingly risky a subject as possible, one which may well challenge a range of sensitivities, even a range of political correctnesses. Having chosen, you’ll test out a range of approaches and will be invited to tackle formal and stylistic stratagems that match your subject matter, to challenge your own aesthetic assumptions. Mimi Khalvati’s seven collections include The Meanest Flower, shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize, and Child: New and Selected Poems, a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. She teaches at The Poetry School.

Tim Liardet’s The Blood Choir was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. Madame Sasoo Goes Bathing, a pamphlet, appeared in 2012. His next full collection is expected in 2014 and his New and Selected Poems in 2015.

Guest Seni Seneviratne has published two collections, Wild Cinnamon and Winter Skin and The Heart of It.


September 23 – 28 Totleigh Barton

36. POETRY Rekindling the passion Are you running out of steam? Has your ‘first fine careless rapture’ faded? Are you wondering how to keep going? Built around close readings of inspirational contemporary poems, intensive writing sessions and individual tutorials, this week is designed to recapture the irresistible excitement of the blank page and to provide both immediate refreshment and lasting impetus for your own new poems. Helena Nelson runs HappenStance Press, which specialises in poetry pamphlets. Her first collection, Starlight on Water (Rialto, 2003), was an Aldeburgh Jerwood Prize Winner. Plot and Counter-Plot (Shoestring Press, 2010) is her most recent book. Guest David Constantine’s books include Something for the Ghosts, Collected Poems and Nine Fathom Deep.


Michael Laskey has published four collections, most recently The Man Alone: New and Selected Poems. He founded the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and edited the poetry magazine Smiths Knoll.

Lumb Bank October 7 – 12

37. POETRY Finding your subject Poets often focus on finding their voice – but finding your subject can be just as hard. In this week we ask: what can a poem be about? Where do our ideas come from? What do we have to say that’s interesting? From the confessional to the invented, the taboo to the mundane, we will address both content and ways of looking, to give you plenty of inspiration.

Clare Pollard has published four collections of poetry, most recently Changeling, a PBS recommendation. Her play The Weather premiered at the Royal Court and her new version of Ovid’s Heroides is published in 2013. Guest Michael Schmidt is a poet and literary historian, publisher. He is writer-inresidence at St John’s College, Cambridge.

Neil Rollinson has won the National Poetry Competition, received three PBS recommendations, a Cholmondeley Award, held an RLF Fellowship and has been writer-in-residence at the Wordsworth Trust and Manchester University. His third collection is Demolition.


November 4 – 9 Lumb Bank

38. POETRY Poems in and out of sequence This week, aimed at experienced writers, is led by two poets who have written short and book-length sequences. We will explore the relationship between the individual poem and the sequence, and how poems work (and why they sometimes don’t) within formal, thematic or narrative poetic sequences. You are welcome to bring work in progress, but come prepared to study examples from the past and to begin new work. Alice Oswald’s six poetry collections include Memorial, Dart, winner of the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry, and Weeds and Wildflowers which won the inaugural Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. Guest Emma Jones’ first collection The Striped World won Forward Prize for Best First Collection.


Michael Symmons Roberts has won the Whitbread Poetry Award, been shortlisted for the Griffin International Prize, the Forward Prize, and twice for the T S Eliot Prize. He is an award-winning librettist and broadcaster and Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Lumb Bank July 15 – 20

39. POETRY AND BOOK ART Landscape lines Many writers and artists find a walk takes their work to unexpected places. You’ll explore journey, place and rhythm in linked poetry and bookart workshops, guided by tutors with a love of walking and of the natural world. Simple binding structures, including stitch and origami, will help you tell the story of your journey, creating adventures in form and function for beginners. Jen Hadfield lives in Shetland. Primarily a poet, her creative life also includes tutoring, walking and foraging for wild food and materials for visual art. She won the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2008. www.rogueseeds.

Rachel Hazell is an acclaimed book artist, and she travels the world to get them out. She exhibits, accepts commissions and has taught on small islands, at lighthouses and on boats in Antarctica.

Guest Richard Long is one of the most important artists working today. Since the late 1960s he has been at the forefront of new developments in landscape art.


August 5 – 10 Moniack Mhor

40. ADVANCED POETRY Working harder Poetry is what gets lost in translation, said Robert Frost. During this week we will look at different ways of capturing those elusive poetic strands, and pinning them down with language. This is a selected course, and potential students are invited to apply by sending three poems to Moniack Mhor by June 1st. Final decision will be made by June 15th.

Gillian Clarke has been the National Poet of Wales since 2008. Awarded The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2010, her collections include A Recipe for Water and Ice. Guest Robert Minhinnick is a prizewinning novelist and poet. He won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem in 1999 and 2003. His New Selected Poems was published in 2012.


Carol Ann Duffy is the National Poet Laureate. Her collections include the prizewinning The World’s Wife, Rapture and The Bees.

Totleigh Barton November 18 – 23

41. POETRY IN PROGRESS Breaking through How does a poet take their work to the next level? Using writing exercises and lively discussions, we will explore ways you can expand your technical and imaginative reach. The focus will be on producing new work, but you will also learn skills that can unlock your poems in progress. This week is for poets with some experience, who are ready for a new challenge.

Paul Batchelor’s first book, The Sinking Road, appeared in 2008. He has won the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition and The Times Stephen Spender Prize for Translation.

Frances Leviston’s first book of poems, Public Dream, was published in 2007 and shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. She reviews new poetry for The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement.

Guest Penelope Shuttle’s collections include Redgrove’s Wife, Sandgrain and Hourglass and, most recently, Unsent: New and Collected Poems 1980–2012.


CREATIVE NON-FICTION AND LIFE WRITING Our Life Writing and Non-Fiction weeks take real life as a starting point for your writing. We help you mine original sources to create essays, travel writing, history, biography, fiction or memoir. You will learn how to dramatise events, capture dialogue, give voice to real life characters, and refine your research and editing skills. Not even while at university did I get such a detailed process of feedback in a whole three years of creative writing. The technical knowledge taken on so quickly will totally change my writing and drafting process... I am leaving with much more confidence and a renewed understanding of my capabilities as a writer.



Creative Non-Fiction Life Writing 45 LIFE WRITING 42 CREATIVE August 19 – 24, NON-FICTION Moniack Mhor June 10 – 15, Tutors: Janice Galloway & Lumb Bank Candia McWilliam Tutors: Laura Barton & Sathnam Sanghera 46 LIFE WRITING September 9 – 14, 43 CREATIVE Lumb Bank NON-FICTION Tutors: Tobias Jones & September 30 – October 5, Kapka Kassabova Totleigh Barton Tutors: Rachel Lichtenstein & 47 LIFE WRITING Sukhdev Sandhu November 18 – 23, Lumb Bank 44 HISTORY WRITING Tutors: Nick Barlay & November 4 – 9, Elise Valmorbida Moniack Mhor Tutors: Roger Hutchinson & Emma Wood


June 10 – 15 Lumb Bank

42. CREATIVE NON-FICTION Writing real life During this week we will look at the process of writing inventive and original non-fiction, from music to autobiography, food to fashion, travel, automobiles and beyond. We’ll address narrative voice, structure, how to conduct interviews and write dialogue, as well as all the other peculiar challenges of writing about real life.

Laura Barton has written features, interviews and music columns for The Guardian for over a decade, and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4, Intelligent Life and a variety of women’s magazines. Her first novel is Twenty-One Locks. Guest Leo Benedictus is an award-winning feature writer with The Guardian. His first novel The Afterparty was published in 2011.


Sathnam Sanghera works for The Times. His memoir The Boy With The Topknot was named Mind Book of the Year and shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award. His first novel, Marriage Material, is published in 2013.

Totleigh Barton September 30 – October 5

43. CREATIVE NON-FICTION A sense of place: writing on location This week is suitable for writers already working on a large project or those who would like to learn new ways of reinvigorating their practice. We will explore a variety of research methods and creative writing techniques to examine location, place and landscape, including: archival research, walking and oral history practice, alongside examining texts in the genre by contemporary British writers. Rachel Lichtenstein is an artist, writer, oral historian and lecturer. Her published works include Diamond Street: The Hidden World of Hatton Garden, On Brick Lane, Rodinsky’s Room (with Iain Sinclair), Keeping Pace and A Little Dust Whispered.

Sukhdev Sandhu is a writer and documentarian and author of London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City, I’ll Get My Coat and Night Haunts: A Journey Through the London Night.

Guest Leo Hickman’s journalism for The Guardian specialises in environmental issues. He is the author of A Life Stripped Bare and The Final Call.


November 4 – 9 Moniack Mhor

44. HISTORY WRITING Facts as enthralling as fiction We believe that true narratives can be as gripping, as literary and as appealing to the general reader as imagined stories, and we have evolved writing techniques to reflect those standards. Explaining our methods, we will help participants enhance their own capabilities in non-fiction and provide a practical toolkit for realising them.

Roger Hutchinson is a critic and author of biography and social history. The Soap Man was shortlisted for the Saltire Book of the Year 2004 and his bestselling Calum’s Road for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize in 2007. Guest Alistair Moffat has written 22 books, most of them on Scotland’s history, and is working on a history book based on new research into our genome.


Emma Wood’s acclaimed history books include Notes from the North: a Brief History of the Scots and the English, The Hydro Boys and Peatbog, Plagues and Potatoes. She lives in the Highlands.

Moniack Mhor August 19 – 24

45. LIFE WRITING Is there a me in memoir? Everyone has a story: how to tell it is the crucial question. The vital importance of voice, place, character and structure will be explored and developed to help your work ‘tell itself’. Best suited to writers with some experience and plenty of questions.

Janice Galloway won The Scottish Book of the Year 2012 Award with her memoir All Made Up. This was preceded by her shortlisted memoir This is Not About Me. She also writes novels, poetry, libretti and literary non-fiction.

Candia McWilliam’s highly acclaimed non-fiction work includes What to Look for in Winter: a Memoir in Blindness. Her other work includes A Case of Knives (Betty Trask Prize) and The Debatable Land (The Guardian Fiction Prize).

Guest Jennie Erdal has been in the book business for over 30 years – as a translator, editor and ghostwriter. She wrote about these experiences in her celebrated memoir Ghosting (2004).


September 9 – 14 Lumb Bank

46. LIFE WRITING How to tell a true story Life writing is the art of personal meditation on family, travel, history – any area of human experience that you can illuminate with your personal response to it. During this week, we will explore the potential of the real-life story you want to tell. We’ll tackle key aspects of good life writing: structure; focus; a sense of place; and how to create your own narrative persona.

Tobias Jones is the author of three works of non-fiction and three crime novels. He writes for the British and Italian press and has written and presented documentaries for the BBC and in Italy. Guest Miranda Seymour is a reviewer, biographer and novelist, and author of the acclaimed memoir, In My Father’s House.


Kapka Kassabova is the author of the childhood memoir Street Without a Name and the tango memoir Twelve Minutes of Love, shortlisted for the 2012 Scottish Book Awards. Her UK fiction debut was Villa Pacifica.

Lumb Bank November 18 – 23

47. LIFE WRITING Suitcase stories Departures, arrivals, journeys… how do we go about telling personal and family tales? What stories emerge from migration and the contrasts between different worlds? How do we go about writing these stories? On this course, we will unpack truth, memory and imagination. We’ll explore the diverse possibilities of language, character, place and plot. And we’ll help you develop compelling narratives – fiction or non-fiction. Nick Barlay is the author of four acclaimed novels and was mentioned in Granta’s ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ in 2003. Born to Hungarian Jewish refugee parents, his latest book explores his family history. Guest Haifa Zangana is an artist and the author of Dreaming of Baghdad, City of Windows and The Torturer in the Mirror.

Elise Valmorbida is the author of Matilde Waltzing, The Book of Happy Endings, The TV President and The Winding Stick. She is the script consultant and producer of award-winning indie Britfilm Saxon. www.word-design.


Writing for Children AND YOUNG ADULTS Learn to enchant younger readers with an Arvon Writing for Children or Writing for Young Adults week. If you want to create picture books for young children, work on fiction or poetry to inspire children of different ages, or write engaging work for young adults, we have the course for you.

The tutors went further than teaching and being helpful; they were interested in my writing and believed in me. That has given me so much confidence for the future.



48 WRITING FOR CHILDREN May 13 – 18, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Mei Matsuoka & Tessa Strickland 49 TUTORED RETREAT: WRITING FOR CHILDREN July 29 – August 3, Lumb Bank Tutors: N M Browne & Steve Voake

51 WRITING FOR CHILDREN September 16 – 21, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Elen Caldecott & Christopher William Hill 52 WRITING FOR YOUNG ADULTS September 30 – October 5, Lumb Bank Tutors: Lucy Christopher & Melvin Burgess

50 WRITING FOR CHILDREN August 12 – 17, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Teresa Flavin & Linda Strachan


May 13 – 18 Totleigh Barton

48. WRITING FOR CHILDREN Paper, pen, paint: creating picture books Playful, creative and inspirational, with lots of opportunity for experimentation and adventure, this week is for anyone who wants to learn about the fine art of picture books. We will share experiences of writing and illustrating, demonstrate the close relationship between the two and give an insight into the mysterious mechanisms of the publishing process. Experience of illustration is desirable but is not a requirement. Mei Matsuoka is the illustrator of Burger Boy, The Great Dog Bottom Swap, The Great Sheep Shenanigans and author of Footprints in the Snow. She was shortlisted for the Booktrust Best New Illustrator Award in 2008. Guest David Roberts is the creator of the Dirty Bertie picture book series and has illustrated works by authors such as Philip Ardagh, Julia Donaldson and Jacqueline Wilson.


Tessa Strickland is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of independent children’s publisher Barefoot Books. As Stella Blackstone, she has written many bestselling picture books. As an editor, she has worked with authors and illustrators all over the world.

Lumb Bank July 29 – August 3

49. TUTORED RETREAT: WRITING FOR CHILDREN Just write! Writing is all about getting your words on the page. Instead of workshops, this week gives you the space and time to focus exclusively on your writing with the help of two experienced children’s writers. We will offer individual tutorials in the inspirational setting of Lumb Bank. To give tutors a flavour of your work, please submit a brief synopsis and/or writing sample of no more than 1,500 words. N M Browne is an experienced teacher, currently working as a creative writing tutor at Kingston University and Manchester Metropolitan University. She has published eight books for young children and nine novels for young adults.

Steve Voake is the author of several young adult novels including The Dreamwalker’s Child, The Starlight Conspiracy and Blood Hunters. He also writes the Daisy Dawson and Hooey Higgins series for younger readers.

Guest Miriam Halahmy lives in London and runs creative writing workshops. She has published three young adult novels, Hidden, Illegal and Stuffed.


August 12 – 17 Moniack Mhor

50. WRITING FOR CHILDREN Creating the magic Writing for children is thinking about your own past, while at the same time thinking of children now, according to Michael Rosen. This week will focus on combining these two states of mind, and applying it to your own writing. We’ll cover writing for all ages and genres, from picture books to teenage novels. Bring your imagination, enthusiasm and a sample of work in progress.

Teresa Flavin illustrated children’s books before she began writing fantasy novels, including The Blackhope Enigma and The Crimson Shard. Guest Bali Rai is the author of young adult and children’s fiction, including (Un)arranged Marriage and the Soccer Squad series.


Linda Strachan is the award-winning author of over 60 books, including the picture book series Hamish McHaggis, educational books, young adult novels and a handbook for aspiring writers.

Totleigh Barton September 16 – 21

51. WRITING FOR CHILDREN Books – from concept to completion This week covers early readers to early teens and everything in-between. Whether you’re a first-time writer, or you’re finetuning your craft, you’ll discover helpful tips and tricks. With a strong emphasis on play and experimentation, we’ll look at world-building, character creation, dialogue and action. We’ll also look at how to edit and rewrite. In short, all you need to write a great book for children. Elen Caldecott has published four novels and many short stories for children. Her novels have received critical acclaim. Her first, How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant, was longlisted for Carnegie and Branford Boase awards.

\ Christopher William Hill’s plays for teenagers have been performed throughout the UK and internationally. Osbert Brinkhoff, the first in a series of Tales From Schwartzgarten, was published in 2012.

Guest Emma Kennedy is the author of the Wilma Tenderfoot books for children. She also writes non-fiction and writes extensively for television and radio.


September 30 – October 5 Lumb Bank

52. WRITING FOR YOUNG ADULTS Playing on the edge This week will get you jumping off the edge into young adult fiction writing, testing your boundaries about what is acceptable here. We’ll experiment with creating new work in this exciting, contemporary and often controversial field. We’ll create authentic teenage narrative voices, as well as explore different approaches to this vibrant fiction for the over 12s. We dare you to join us! Melvin Burgess won the Carnegie Medal in 1997 for his groundbreaking novel Junk and has built up a reputation for controversial, hard-hitting but humane and often funny books. His latest books are Hunger and The Hit. Guest Meg Rosoff is the Carnegie Award winning author of five novels, including How I Live Now and There Is No Dog.


Lucy Christopher grew up in Australia, but moved to the UK to study Creative Writing. Stolen was part of her PhD in Creative Writing, and Flyaway was part of her MA. Both books have won numerous international awards.



Our scriptwriting weeks for Theatre, Film, TV and Radio are tutored by some of the leading practitioners in the field. Through a series of workshops and one-to-one tutorials, with plenty of time to write, you will be given the tools to prepare your script for production.

I now know I can produce pages of script. Pages. And that I can approach a blank page and fill it, in hours, not months.



Theatre FILM 53 THEATRE 57 TUTORED RETREAT: June 3 – 8, Lumb Bank SCREENWRITING Tutors: Simon Stephens & May 27 – June 1, Laura Wade Totleigh Barton Tutors: Kate Leys & 54 THEATRE Shawn Slovo October 21 – 26, Totleigh Barton TV Tutors: David Eldridge & Tanika Gupta 58 WRITING FOR TV August 12 – 17, 55 THEATRE Totleigh Barton November 25 – 30, Tutors: Laurence Marks & Lumb Bank Maurice Gran Tutors: Tim Crouch & Rebecca Lenkiewicz RADIO 56 WRITING FOR 59 WRITING FOR RADIO PUPPETRY June 24 – 29, Moniack Mhor November 11 – 16, Tutors: Iain Finlay MacLeod & Totleigh Barton Sarah Wooley Tutors: Nell Leyshon & Mervyn Millar 60 WRITING FOR RADIO August 26 – 31, Lumb Bank Tutors: Dan Rebellato & Polly Thomas 103

June 3–8 Lumb Bank

53. THEATRE Making plays In an active interrogation of the art of playwriting, we will examine how plays are made and how playwrights successfully articulate their ideas. Using practical exercises to explore dramatic action, story, structure, stagecraft and character, this course is useful for beginner playwrights but invaluable for writers who have written one or two plays and are looking to take more responsibility for their craft. Simon Stephens’ plays include Three Kingdoms, Punk Rock and Wastwater, and have been produced at leading theatres throughout the world. Guest Richard Bean has written 15 stage plays and four radio plays. Notable plays include England People Very Nice, The Heretic, The Big Fellah, and One Man Two Guvnors.


Laura Wade’s plays include Posh, Breathing Corpses, Alice, Other Hands and Colder Than Here.

Totleigh Barton October 21–26

54. THEATRE The playwright’s toolkit Focusing on key elements of playwriting, we will help you develop the tools you need to craft a dramatic work. Through exercises, group work, scene study and tutorials, we will explore form, dialogue and character as action, bringing back-story to life and the problem of autobiography. Be willing to try out new ideas and we will help you write what you really want to write.

David Eldridge’s work includes In Basildon, the awardwinning The Knot of the Heart and adaptations include Festen. His work for the screen and radio includes The Picture Man, which won the Prix Europa 2008. Guest Indhu Rubasingham is Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre in London.

Tanika Gupta’s work for the theatre includes The Waiting Room, Gladiator Games, Sugar Mummies, White Boy and Wah! Wah! Girls, a musical. The Empress will be produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2013.


November 25–30 Lumb Bank

55. THEATRE Exploring and exploding ideas This week we will help you find the heart of the play you want to write. Through various exercises and lively debate we aim to help you focus on the right idea for you, whether you have not yet written a play, or have written several. Together we will explore the potential relationship between your work and the audience.

Tim Crouch’s plays include I, Malvolio, The Author, ENGLAND, My Arm, which won a Prix Italia, and An Oak Tree, which won a Herald Angel Award and a Village Voice OBIE. His plays have run in New York and London. Guest Alecky Blythe won a Time Out Award for her first play Come Out Eli. Other plays include Cruising and The Girlfriend Experience.


Rebecca Lenkiewicz has written various plays for theatre including Soho: A Tale of Table Dancers, The Night Season and Her Naked Skin. She also writes for radio, television and film.

Totleigh Barton November 11–16

56. WRITING FOR PUPPETRY Writing the impossible A week of provocation to develop fearless writing and encourage experimentation. Includes practical workshops by Mervyn Millar to demystify puppetry and explore the relationship between design, dialogue and staging, and workshops by Nell Leyshon that focus on finding secure dramatic structures to keep your wild visions in healthy shape.

Nell Leyshon writes prose and drama. Her plays include Comfort Me With Apples which won the Evening Standard Award and Bedlam, the first play written by a woman for Shakespeare’s Globe. Guest Carl Grose is an actor, writer and director, and has worked with Kneehigh Theatre for the past 17 years.

Mervyn Millar is the Artistic Director of Handspring UK. He was Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre, spent many years reading at BBC Writersroom, and directed puppetry for War Horse in London, New York, Toronto and Berlin.


May 27–June 1 Totleigh Barton


Putting your script into focus This is an opportunity to take time to work on a script, with the supervision of an experienced screenwriter and script developer. Rather than workshops, you will have one tutorial each day to focus on your work. So that the tutors can do some advance planning, please submit a two-page outline of your idea for a film, or the first 15 pages, by 10 May 2013, by post or email, to Totleigh Barton. Each student will have a single room. Kate Leys is a film script editor who works on projects at all stages of development. She has been Head of Development at several companies including Film4 where she brought in East Is East and Girl with a Pearl Earring. Guest Peter Kosminsky is a writer, director and producer. His films include White Oleander and, for television, The Government Inspector and The Promise.


Shawn Slovo’s original screenplays are the BAFTAwinning A World Apart (Chris Menges, 1987), Catch a Fire (Phillip Noyce, 2007) and Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (Stephen Frears, 2012). She also adapted Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (John Madden, 2000).

Totleigh Barton August 12–17

58. WRITING FOR TV Writing situation comedy People always ask ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ The answer is that the best ideas come from within the writer and his/her experiences and observations. In one short week we will try to show students how to tap into the ideas they didn’t know they had, structure them into a dramatic shape, and find the comedy within.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran are BAFTA-winning comedy writers, and have created over a dozen hit series, including Birds of a Feather, The New Statesman, Goodnight Sweetheart and Shine On Harvey Moon.

Guest Micheal Jacob has worked in television comedy for 21 years, successively as a script reader, script editor, producer, Head of Development at Alomo and an executive producer in BBC comedy. He now works as a consultant and is developing new projects.


June 24–29 Moniack Mhor

59. WRITING FOR RADIO Tools for the trade Radio needs writers who can work within the particular constraints of the medium. We will focus on ways of adapting novels or short stories, as well as how to write a treatment for an original idea, and, of course, how to write a radio play. All levels of experience welcome.

Iain Finlay MacLeod has written over 50 works for radio, theatre and film, including ten radio plays and series – both original and adaptations. Mr Anwar’s Farewell to Stornoway was BBC Radio 4’s Pick of the Year 2011. Guest Gaynor MacFarlane is a BBC radio drama producer. Recent work includes The Great Gatsby, Betrayal and Mary Stuart.


Sarah Wooley’s plays for BBC Radio 4 include A Nice Little Holiday, Coalition, Folie á Trois and Lifesavings. www.playwrightinpictures.

Lumb Bank August 26–31

60. WRITING FOR RADIO Significant sound This week will give participants the opportunity to develop their idea for a BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play through intensive practical work, such as writing, script editing, and listening to different radio drama styles – both as group and individual exercises. An award-winning sound designer will be recording scenes written during the week at the end of the course. Aimed at writers new to radio. Dan Rebellato’s plays for radio include Emily Rising, Calvary, Letting Go and adaptations of Dead Souls and Girlfriend in a Coma. His stage plays include Static and Theatremorphosis. He lectures at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Polly Thomas is a Sony Award-winning radio director. She received the Best Radio Drama Producer RIG Award 2011 and works in the public, independent and community sectors.

Guest Eloise Whitmore is a freelance sound designer, creating audio drama for the BBC, community projects and theatre.



I arrive on a Monday with a sense of anticipation, open to whatever might come my way – and there are always surprises. I know that by the following Saturday something will have been created that wasn’t there before.



61 FOOD WRITING September 2 – 7, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Fuchsia Dunlop & Alastair Hendy

66 WRITING FOR GAMES September 2 – 7, Lumb Bank Tutors: Naomi Alderman & David Varela

62 SONGWRITING July 15 – 20, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Christine Collister & Steve Tilston

67 RETREAT WITH YOGA April 15 – 20, Totleigh Barton

63 SONGWRITING September 9 – 14, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Boo Hewerdine & Karine Polwart 64 TEXT AND IMAGE October 14 – 19, Totleigh Barton Tutors: Dan Berry & Simone Lia

68 ARVON FRIENDS’ RETREAT May 13 – 18, Lumb Bank 69 RETREAT July 29 – August 3, Moniack Mhor

65 TRAVEL WRITING June 17 – 22, Moniack Mhor Tutors: Mairi Hedderwick & Chris Stewart 113

September 2 – 7 Totleigh Barton

61. FOOD WRITING Finding your culinary voice Find out how to craft a foolproof recipe and bring it to life on the page; how to find your way into print, armed with the tricks of the trade; how to find your own unique culinary voice; and how to write creatively and informatively about food and travel. We will guide you to where your creativity lies, and show you just how thrilling this form of writing can be.

Fuchsia Dunlop is a cook and food writer. Her books include Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper and Every Grain of Rice. She writes for various publications and is a regular guest on radio and television.

Guest Felicity Cloake

is a food columnist for The Guardian and New Statesman. Her latest book is Perfect Host.


Alastair Hendy’s cookbooks include Food & Travels Asia and the bestseller Home Cook. He contributes to many international publications and was voted Best Food Journalist and Best Food Photographer at the World Food Media Awards.

Moniack Mhor July 15 – 20

62. SONGWRITING Craft and inspiration We will bring priceless wisdom to the craft of songwriting, based on our combined experience. We’ll guide you in finding your own muse, and how to recognise the nugget of an idea and work it through into a finished song. Jump headlong into an authentic songwriting adventure!

Christine Collister’s

Guest Astrid Brook

career spans almost 30 years, with 19 albums released, including Home and Away and Into the Light. Previous co-songwriters include Richard Thompson and Clive Gregson.

Steve Tilston was awarded the Best Original Song accolade at the BBC 2012 Folk Awards for his song ‘Reckoning’. He has written classic folk songs for over 40 years, and is one of the most celebrated songsmiths in Britain.

is a folk-pop singer songwriter, and performs regularly in the UK and abroad. Her albums are Wild River and Full Circle.


September 9–14 Totleigh Barton

63. SONGWRITING The architecture of a song One of the most useful tools to a songwriter is the understanding of form. Through various exercises you will see how the architecture of a song can act as a framework to serve your inspiration. Later in the week, producer and recording engineer Mark Freegard will record your work. The tutors ask that you submit a sample of your work on application to the course. Please send two songs by post or email to Totleigh Barton. Boo Hewerdine is a popular singer/ songwriter and experienced tutor. He has written songs for Eddi Reader, k.d. lang, Chris Difford and many others. His most recent album is State Of The Union. Guest Mark Freegard has recorded many artists including Del Amitri, The Breeders, Eddi Reader and Maria McKee.


Karine Polwart has won four BBC Folk Awards including Best Album for her debut Faultlines in 2005 and Best Original Song in 2007 for ‘Daisy’ from her album Scribbled in Chalk. Her fifth studio album is Traces.

Totleigh Barton October 14–19

64. TEXT AND IMAGE Absurd truths and elaborate lies This fun and informal week will allow you to discover new depths of creativity, imagination and inspiration when working with text, image and narrative. Using paper and pens we will explore a world of possibility, where the simplest notion can transform into wonderful stories told with words and pictures.

Dan Berry is a cartoonist and educator who lectures in comics and illustration at Glyndwr University. He sits on the committee for the British Comic Awards. Guest Posy Simmonds’ graphic novels include Gemma Bovery and Tamara Drewe. Her Literary Life cartoons were serialised weekly in The Guardian.

Simone Lia created the graphic novels Fluffy and Please God, Find Me a Husband! Her image and text work has been shown at the Tate and original contributions have been published in The Guardian and The Independent.


June 17 – 22 Moniack Mhor

65. TRAVEL WRITING Travels with one or more donkeys Want to write about your adventures? Let us guide you in shaping your experiences into prose as rich as the events themselves. Expect some iconoclasm, unorthodoxy, and certainly humour. Think of the week as another adventure, and you will not be disappointed.

Mairi Hedderwick, creator of the children’s book character Katie Morag, has written and illustrated four travel books, including An Eye on the Hebrides: An Illustrated Journey, Highland Journey: A Sketching Tour of Scotland, Sea Change and Shetland Rambles: A Sketching Tour. Guest Rosemary Bailey’s travel memoirs include Life in a Postcard, The Man who Married a Mountain and Love and War in the Pyrenees.


Chris Stewart has written four travel books, including the bestselling Driving Over Lemons and The Parrot in the Pepper Tree. He lives in Spain.

Lumb Bank September 2 – 7

66. WRITING FOR GAMES Playful writing in the newest medium Games writing demands the scene-setting skills of a playwright, the characterisation of a novelist, the attention to nuance of a poet, and the flexibility to allow your audience into your work. We’ll explore the best AAA and indie games, we’ll discuss what games can become, and we’ll do lots of practical work to bring it all together. Come and play.

Naomi Alderman is an award-winning novelist, journalist and games writer. She’s made games for the BBC and Channel 4, and co-created the hit iPhone game Zombies, Run! Guest Edward Stern is a writer/designer at Splash Damage. He wrote the Enemy Territory games and the US and UK Writers’ Guild-nominated Brink.

David Varela has a background in theatre, radio and film as well as games. He’s worked with some of the UK’s top games companies including Mind Candy, nDreams, Six to Start and Sony PlayStation.


April 15 – 20 Totleigh Barton

67. RETREAT WITH YOGA Stretch your mind and your body Escape to the green pastures of Devon in springtime and find the time, space and peace you need to relax and write. Work on your project at your own pace, in the company of fellow writers and with the benefit of regular yoga sessions in Totleigh Barton’s beautifully refurbished barn.

Writer and yoga teacher Lucy Greeves will lead noncompulsory hatha yoga and meditation classes, morning (at 8am) and afternoon (at 4pm). The yoga practice is designed to support your writing retreat, adding structure to the day and bringing mind and body into balance. Suitable for all levels, including beginners. Single rooms for all writers at £620.


Lucy Greeves has been using yoga to support her own writing career since 1999. She holds a teaching diploma from the British Wheel of Yoga and is particularly interested in helping her students to access a calmer and more creative way of working by practising yoga.

Lumb Bank May 13 – 18


If you know where your writing is going, but need to step away from the demands of everyday life to pursue it, the Arvon Friends’ Retreat is ideal. Each day is your own. You can spend it putting words on the page, or you can walk through glorious countryside letting ideas untangle themselves in your head. Then, in the evening, everyone comes together for a delicious Arvon dinner and a surge of conversation. Domestic arrangements are the same as for other courses. Single rooms are available for all writers at £450. This is open to Arvon Friends only – for information about becoming an Arvon Friend, see page 19.


July 29 – August 3 Moniack Mhor

69. RETREAT Because you are worth it Yes, the time has come. Finally. Say cheerio to everyone and everything, and slip away for some self-indulgent writerly time. No need to explain, justify, or excuse. A room of your own, no interruptions and huge views of the mountains and sky. Call your own bluff and write, write, write. Staff will be on hand to ensure a stress-free pocket of that priceless commodity: time.

Domestic arrangements are the same as for other courses. Single rooms are available for all writers at £499.


“There’s something very special about the nourishment I find on an Arvon retreat. The space to be with my writing, away from distractions. The friendly welcome.The shared cooking. The communion of like-minded folk. The gentle atmosphere.” —participant







The fee for 2013 standard brochure courses and tutored retreats is £680. This includes a single room (subject to availability), all workshops, tutorials and readings, and full board accommodation (not including alcohol).

Bookings can be made online at You can also book on the phone by calling the centre where your chosen course is held. In order to secure your place you will need to pay a deposit of £150 at the time of booking. The balance of your course fee is payable no later than six weeks before the course starts. Please note we do not send reminders.

A limited number of shared rooms is also available at the reduced rate of £620. Other courses (all single rooms only) Untutored retreats: £499 Yoga Retreat: £620 Friends Retreat: £450 Grants are available if you cannot afford the full amount.


If you are aged 16 or 17 we require a parent or guardian to sign the booking form on your behalf or to send us a signed letter of consent. Please note that under-18s may only book into single rooms. Open courses are not suitable for under-16s, but we also run many courses for schools. See pages 12 – 17 for details. Please read our terms and conditions before making a booking (see pages 136 – 139).



If you cannot afford the full course fee, you are encouraged to apply for one of our grants, which are awarded on the basis of financial need and not writing ability. These are limited in number, although we offer grants to around a fifth of all writers who come on our courses. Priority is given to those visiting Arvon for the first time.

Arvon supports the professional development of practising teachers of English, who may apply for a special fixed grant of £200 towards a course fee. You will need to send evidence that you are a practising teacher of English at a UK state primary or secondary school, or further education college. A teachers’ grant can be in addition to the usual grant if you require further financial assistance. Teachers’ grants are limited in number.

You may apply for any amount up to the full course fee, although most grants are between £50 and £300, and we only offer higher amounts in exceptional cases. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a grant, and only ask for the minimum amount you need.

The Arvon grants scheme is supported by the Derek Hill Foundation, the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation and the Barbara and Philip Denny Trust.


To apply for a grant

1 Download a grant pack from our website, or ask us to send it to you. It contains full details of the application procedure and an application form. 2 Reserve a place on your chosen course, either online or by phoning the centre that is hosting your course, ensuring you indicate you wish to apply for a grant. 3 Complete the application form and send it along with your supporting documents to your chosen centre. 4 After we’ve assessed your application we’ll contact you with a decision and finalise your booking. If you have any questions, please contact the appropriate centre.

My experience of Arvon was life-changing… I certainly wouldn’t have been able to attend if I hadn’t been given some assistance with the financial side of things.



Why not buy a gift voucher for a friend or relative who has a flair for writing – and just needs that friendly push? Perfect for birthday or Christmas presents, we’ll send you a voucher to give to your lucky writer. To find out more, visit or call 0207 324 2554.


COMPETITION Made-Up Words – win a place on an Arvon week!

For this year’s brochure competition we’ve teamed up with English PEN, the charity that promotes the freedom to write and the freedom to read. We’re giving you the chance to win a fully funded place at an Arvon centre, plus travel to the Arvon house (the equivalent of a standard class train ticket within the UK). All you need to do is write a poem (maximum 14 lines) or a piece of flash fiction (maximum 100 words) with a title that is a made-up word. Femi Martin, a writer and performer of flash fiction from London, and the Dickens 2012 Young Writer in Residence, will judge the competition.

How To Enter Submit your entry in the body of an email to by 29th March 2013. It’s free to enter. Good luck! Go to www.englishpen. org/made-up-words for inspiration, and for submission details.

Made-Up Words is part of europolyglot, an English PEN festival of events, workshops, night classes and round tables that celebrates multilingualism in the UK, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom. 130


Arvon Free Word Centre 60 Farringdon Road London EC1R 3GA Twitter: arvonfoundation arvonfoundation Chief Executive: Ruth Borthwick Director of Operations: Nick Murza Learning and Participation Manager: Becky Swain Communications Manager: George Palmer Head of Development: Laura Greenfield Development Officer: Ana Horton Development Administrator: Freny Sepai Communications and Participation Administrator: Emma Feasey Finance Officer: Nick Kavanagh Administrator: Suzie Jones


Arvon is a resident at, and one of the founding organisations of, the Free Word Centre. Free Word brings together literature, literacy and free expression. Home to nine resident organisations and over 25 associates, it is a dynamic and international production house for literary culture, politics and ideas.

Arvon is a registered charity (Charity No. 306694) and a company limited by guarantee (registered in London No. 1086582).

Founders John Fairfax John Moat Patrons Simon Armitage CBE Lord (Melvyn) Bragg Alan Brownjohn Lady Caroline Chichester-Clark Dr David Cohen CBE Carol Ann Duffy CBE Jerry Hall Seamus Heaney Carol Hughes Baroness James of Holland Park OBE Professor Sir Andrew Motion David Pease MBE Salman Rushdie FRSL Wole Soyinka FRSL Pete Townshend Joint Presidents Sir Robin Chichester-Clark Terry Hands Arvon Angels Marie-Louise Burrows Kate Donaghy Peter Forbes Basil Geoghegan Marion Gibbs Rosie Gledhill Nicholas Grant Mark Haddon Elizabeth Holt Emer Hunt Alice Jolly and Stephen Kinsella Elisabeth and Conor Kehoe Conor Killeen Rajesh Kulkarni Nina Larsen Nigel Pantling Emma Smithwick Lorna and Dominic Stuttaford Susie Tinsley Betsy Tobin Simon Trewin Theodora Zemek

Council of Management Nigel Pantling (Chair) Patience Agbabi Sir Andrew Cahn KCMG Tony Cohen Kate Donaghy Marion Gibbs Robert Hingley Nii Ayikwei Parkes Michael Symmons Roberts Sophie Rochester Meriel Schindler Simon Trewin Virginia Wedgwood Development Board Kate Donaghy (Chair) Andrew Caldecott Duncan Campbell-Smith Rick Gekoski Rosie Gledhill David Graham Andrew Hill Diana Morgan-Hill Richard Morris Jo Parker Henry Raine Susie Tinsley Simon Trewin David Waller Steven Williams


THANK YOU Thank you for your continued support and generosity: Arts Council England, Sir Robin and Lady Caroline Chichester-Clark, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, John S Cohen Foundation, Barbara and Philip Denny Trust, Felix Dennis, The Finnis Scott Foundation, Kate Donaghy, The Eranda Foundation, Robert Gavron Charitable Trust, Nicholas Grant, Derek Hill Foundation, The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, The McGrath Trust, John and Antoinette Moat, Andrew Motion, David Pease and Tina Carr.

The Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Scheme is supported by:

Brochure produced by me&him + word-design If you would like this brochure in large print or another format to help you access its contents, please call 020 7324 2554.


Arvon is very grateful to all the photographers and photo agencies who kindly give us permission to reprint their author photos for the brochure. We aim to credit every photographer. Please let us know if we have been unable to credit you. Jenn Ashworth by Martin Figura Paul Batchelor by Saša Savi Richard Bean by Steve Cummisky Alan Bissett by Christopher Bowen Marilyn Bowering by Michael Elcock Melvin Burgess by Cataria Clifford Lucy Christopher by S M Read Gillian Clarke by Marian Delyth Christine Collister by Christy de Haven Emma Darwin by Roderick Field Ed Docx by Nicky Wilcock Stella Duffy by Gino Sprio Patricia Duncker by Anita Schiffer-Fuchs Fushsia Dunlop by Colin Bell Ben Faccini by Emily Faccini William Fiennes by Claire MacNamee James Friel by Derren Gilhooley Frances Fyfield by Liz Mott Patrick Gale by Adrian Lourie Janice Galloway by Michael Wolchover Rosie Garland by J Bean Rodge Glass by Ross Wood M John Harrison by Amanda Jayne Photography Rachel Hazell by Sarah Mason Simon Ings by Nic Cheetham Susanna Jones by Kate Eshelby Anjali Joseph by CJ Humphries Kapka Kassabova by Liz March A L Kennedy by Campbell Mitchell Emma Kennedy by Steve Brown Mimi Khalvati by Caroline Forbes Marina Lewycka by Gabriel Szabo Nell Leyshon by Anita Schiffer-Fuchs Simone Lia by Dan Fone Rachel Lichtenstein by James Price Such Christine Lim by Russell Wong Toby Litt by Katie Cooke

Richard Long by Haunch of Venison Alison MacLeod by Halifaz Headshots Adam Marek by Andy Hay Claire Massey by Jonathan Bean Hisham Matar by Diana Matar Karen McCarthy Woolf by Naomi Woddis A D Miller by Paul Rider Robert Minhinnick by Lucy Minhinnick Alistair Moffat by Matt Davies Daljit Nagra by Derek Adams Catherine O’Flynn by John McQueen Ruth Padel by Gwen Burnyeat Kathy Page by Driftwood Productions Nii Ayikwei Parkes by Marrianne San Miguel Dean Parkin by Katie Utting Clare Pollard by Richard Henson Karine Polwart by Eamonn McGoldrick Hannah Pool by Jackie King / I’Mpossible Jane Rogers by Laurie Harris Nicholas Royle by Julian Baker Fiona Sampson by Adrian Pope Ann Sansom by Charlie Hedley Peter Sansom by Charlie Hedley Sarah Savitt by Eleanor Crow Michael Schmidt by Benedict Schmidt Seni Seneviratne by Kai Lossgott Posy Simmonds by Jane Brown Simon Stephens by Simon Kane Matthew Sweeney by John Minihan Michael Symmons Roberts by Martin Bence Andrew Taylor by Caroline Silverwood Taylor Steve Tilston by Paul Floyd Blake Cathi Unsworth by Fenris Oswin Emma Jane Unsworth by Rebecca Lupton Laura Wade by Philip Hollis Sarah Winman by Patricia Niven Sarah Wooley by Andy Gout Elise Valmorbida by Jeff Leyshon


Terms and Conditions By making a course booking, whether by phone or online, you agree to the following terms and conditions: Bookings All bookings must be accompanied by the appropriate deposit. For standard Arvon weeks, this is £150. You should not consider your booking as definite until we have confirmed it in writing or by email. The balance of your course fee is payable by six weeks before the course starts and please note we do not send reminders. Unpaid or late balances may be treated as a cancellation. If we do not receive your balance when due, we reserve the right to offer the place to someone else. Travel insurance We cannot reimburse travel costs or other losses incurred by you in the event of cancellation by us or you. You are strongly advised to


take out travel insurance to cover potential loss arising from cancellation or other eventuality affecting your booking, including course fees and travel costs. You should check that any policy you take out meets your needs. Cancellations Cancellations will be accepted up to six weeks before the course takes place, but your deposit will be returned less a £50 cancellation charge. If a place is cancelled after this time, we will retain the full deposit of £150. If not paid already, the balance of the full fee remains payable. However, for cancellations later than six weeks, we will do our best to find someone else to take your place and, if we succeed, the balance of your full course fee (less the deposit of £150) will be returned. If we cannot re-fill your place, we will retain the full fee. Note that we do not refund deposits for cancellations later than six weeks before the course start date.

Transfers At our discretion, you may be able to transfer your booking to another course at the same or another Arvon centre, subject to availability. We will normally accept transfers up to six weeks before the course takes place, and the deposit paid will be allocated to the new course. If we receive a request to transfer a booking after this time, we will do so only if we have already received the full course fee from you and we are able to re-fill the place on the original course. If either of these conditions is not met we regret we are unable to transfer the booking and will treat it as cancelled, retaining the full fee. Please note that we can only transfer a booking to a course within the same year, and that once a booking is transferred we are unable to offer any refunds for cancellation, or further transfers. We cannot accept transfers from week courses to any other type of course.

Changes to the Programme Arvon reserves the right to make changes to the advertised programme and tutors. Due to planning the Arvon programme in advance, some changes will inevitably occur to some courses, and occasionally the original tutors are unavailable. We always endeavour to replace tutors with someone equally experienced and to give you as much notice as possible. On very rare occasions we may need to cancel a course; in this case we may offer you an alternative course or return all fees paid. Please note that where we have to change tutors you do not have additional rights of cancellation and our standard terms will still apply. We cannot pay travel or other costs, which you may however be able to reclaim from your travel insurance policy, and our liability to you in all cases is limited to the course fee you have paid.


Conduct The nature of an Arvon course relies on a level of tolerance and understanding of others and their creative work and we ask that you are thoughtful and respectful of the other students. Arvon reserves the right to refuse a place and to exclude from a course any student who, in the opinion of the Centre Directors, behaves in an abusive or disruptive manner or engages in any discriminatory conduct. No refund will be given if exclusion is made for these reasons. Grants All grant applications must follow the guidelines on our website or in our grant application pack. Please note that only UK residents are eligible for our general grants scheme and that teachers’ grants are only available to those currently employed and practising as a teacher of English in a UK state primary or secondary school, or further education college. Individuals are eligible for up to three


grants in total but no more than one in any given year; each successive grant will be smaller than the last. It is a requirement of the grant that a written report is completed within two weeks of the course. Other restrictions and conditions may apply to other grant schemes run by Arvon. Under 18s Anyone under 18 wishing to book on one of the public open courses shown in this brochure must provide signed, written consent from their parent or guardian at the time of booking. Bookings will not be accepted on our public open courses from anyone without consent or from anyone under 16. Please note that under 18s may only book into single rooms. Parents should also note that Arvon does not act in loco parentis.

Loss Arvon cannot accept responsibility for any loss, damage or expense sustained by students as a result of an event or circumstance whether arising from natural cause, human agency, or beyond its control otherwise. Where Arvon is unable to provide a course place to you for any reason, our liability is limited to return of the fees paid. Participation and Access Arvon is committed to providing a supportive and welcoming environment to all. Over the course of a week’s stay, participants on Arvon courses should normally expect to take part in daily group workshops, one-to-one sessions with tutors, and group readings and discussions. They will also be expected to share in domestic duties with their group, such as preparing a meal and washing up, for which guidance is provided. Please note that Arvon staff provide some general support to all participants

but not continuous care, and participants should be able to live independently. Depending on circumstances we may be able to accommodate a personal care assistant. While we offer some accessible facilities, our centres do vary considerably and we regret we may not be able to accommodate some requirements. If you have specific needs, it is important that you discuss these with the centre prior to booking, to establish whether your needs can be met.



The Gist: A Celebration of the Imagination, a collection of essays, poems and reflections on the act of writing, and the nature of inspiration, created in honour of Arvon’s founder John Moat. Seamus Heaney writes about the inspirational nature of haunting encounters. Alice Oswald reveals a poet’s imagination in full flight across pages from her work-book. Carol Ann Duffy contributes poems she wrote while tutoring at Arvon Centres. Jules Cashford, Linda Proud and Patrick Harpur offer mythological and philosophical insights on the book’s themes and there are freshly written pieces by novelists such as Andrew Miller, Adam Thorpe and Maggie Gee. Edited by Lindsay Clarke Available as an ebook from Amazon, and as a print book at


Arvon is celebrated for its unique ability to discover and develop the writer in everyone. Arvon runs an annual programme of residential courses at beautiful rural writing houses. The programme covers a wide range of genres – from fiction to screenwriting, and poetry to comedy. We offer grants to cover some or all of the fee, and around a fifth of all course participants receive some support. “The week exceeded my expectations, which were already high due to the glowing recommendations of friends who’d attended previous courses. The tutors and guest speaker were inspiring, encouraging and approachable. I can’t tell you how much my confidence has grown in the short time I’ve been here.” —course participant “At Arvon, everyone is a writer. Here writers teach writers... a place where no one need be embarrassed to love words or books, or by wanting very much to write better.” —Maggie Gee “Arvon is like an art gallery or a cathedral or a national park. It’s a space which is open to everyone and where everyone is welcome whoever you are. We don’t know what experience you’ll have or what you’ll take away with you. But we know that it could change your life.” —Mark Haddon


time and space to write residential creative writing courses 2013

Arvon Brochure 2013  

Time and space to write. Residential creative writing courses 2013

Arvon Brochure 2013  

Time and space to write. Residential creative writing courses 2013