Philip Marsden will join our November 2017 writing retreat at Bosloe

philip_marsden_cr_gina_lundy2011__fullWe are delighted to announce that Philip Marsden will be our mid-week guest author for our retreat on Life Writing and Time to Write at Bosloe in early November. The retreat runs from Tuesday 31 October to Sunday 5 November and Philip will join us for dinner and an author’s talk on Wednesday, and return the next morning to run a workshop.

Philip is the award-winning author of a number of works of travel, fiction and non-fiction, including The Bronski House, The Spirit-Wrestlers, The Levelling Sea and, most recently, Rising Ground (Granta, 2014). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his work has been translated into fifteen languages. After years of travelling, he now lives on the tidal upper reaches of the River Fal in Cornwall with his wife, children and various boats.

The Levelling SeaWe’ve recently read and enjoyed The Levelling Sea, his dramatic account of the history of Falmouth, awash with pirates, sailors, politicians and maritime adventurers. This brilliant read taught us much that we didn’t know about our home town; a walk along Arwenack Street and around Pendennis headland will now be even more fascinating.

Philip brings the perfect set of writing skills to our retreat; an understanding of ‘life writing’ and its sub-genres of travel writing, memoir, and creative non-fiction, and knowledge of ways we can use real life events as a basis for fiction. You can find our more about his work and read some of his excellent reviews here.

Our retreat is booking now, and there are some lovely rooms available. Bosloe is a very special setting in the autumn, with its sweeping views across the Helford, and its own gorgeous gardens just next door to the National Trust’s spectacular Glendurgan. Don’t miss out – you can find out more and book here. We will be delighted to welcome you to The Writing Retreat.

A retreat (with optional epiphany…)

The Writing Retreat

Be prepared for things to change. Your writing will grow, your outlook will change, and you’ll be very glad you came.Sarah Fisher, March 2016 guest

Tanya 167When we look back over the past few years of running our retreats we see a pattern. On each retreat there seems to be at least one person for whom the experience turns out to be – potentially – life changing. When we started The Writing Retreat we didn’t set out to change lives, but for some people the experience of a complete week immersed in something they love – writing – seems to gives them permission to realise how central it is to them. You can read some of our guests’ comments from recent retreats here, to get a flavour of the difference a week away to write can make.

I’ll come clean and confess that I had my own…

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The Making of Her: Review

An insightful interview with the very talented Susie Nott-Bower.

the contemporary small press

I’ve been reading Susie Nott-Bower’s first novel, The Making of Her, and I’m impressed. Too often one looks at the small and independent press as a second choice for publication, but The Making of Her shows that there’s nothing second rate about working with independent publishers. The book examines being a woman in the twenty first century where looks are valued over experience. It asks questions about how we regard ourselves, how we see our flesh and skin as it changes over the years. Nott-Bower uses her experience in the world of television, the medium that puts a magnifying glass to our lives, and writes the story of Clara, a TV producer who has just reached 50 and denies her birthdays. She can’t combat other peoples’ perceptions as she wrangles with her young assistant Alix who is after her job. Clara’s best friend Josephine is married to a successful…

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The Making of a Writer

A fabulous book from a fabulous writer. If you haven’ read The Making of Her, all I can is, do.

the contemporary small press

On February 20th we’ll be at the British Library for our reading, writing and publishing event: Reading and Being Read.  To get you in the mood, we’ll be presenting a series of features throughout the month focusing on the great work of some of the writers and small presses who’ll be joining us on the day.

Here, Susie Nott-Bower, writer of The Making of Her, talks to us about the magic of writing…

Susie, you said that writing is magic, and ‘Like all creative acts, it has the potential to transform both the writer and the reader’ – can you elaborate on this a little bit?  In what ways do you see the potential for the writer and reader to be brought into a magical/transformative relationship through the text?

If creativity is the act of bringing the new into being, then fear is the ogre barring the way. …

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Passionate Publishing from Linen Press

Small presses are wonderful, and small presses like Linen Press are even more so.

the contemporary small press

On February 20th we’ll be at the British Library for our reading, writing and publishing event: Reading and Being Read.  To get you in the mood, we’ll be presenting a series of features throughout the month focusing on the great work of some of the writers and small presses who’ll be joining us on the day.

Here, Lynn Michell, founder of Linen Press, talks to us about her passion for publishing great women’s writing…

Lynn, the first book you published was Childhood’s Hilla turn of the century memoir by 93-year-old Marjorie Wilson – what did you spot in it that other publishers had missed?

I saw in Marjorie’s prose a rare lyricism and was astonished by her sensibility. Marjorie paints in poignant, vivid vignettes a portrait of Edinburgh at the turn of the century, giving back to us a time and place long gone. There is…

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Ten Things Writing a Memoir Taught Me About Writing A Memoir.

Some sound advice on writing a memoir.

hazelkatherinelarkin

As you know, I published my memoir, Gullible Travels, in November. This book is my first memoir, but not my first published work by a long shot. Memoir writing, however, is very different to the other types of writing – academic writing, screenwriting, playwriting, and writing for a variety of magazines from financial to parenting – that I had previously done.

So, while writing Gullible Travels, I learnt a few things about writing in this genre, which I am delighted to share with you here:

Do your therapy first!

I have very strong feelings on this one – it’s a complete non-negotiable, as far as I’m concerned. If you are going to write about something that’s upsetting or difficult, don’t use writing your memoir as therapy. Do your therapy first, work through your stuff, and then write your book. Your reader’s job is not to work through your…

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The First Artist’s Date: Shall I join in?

It energises me to know others are also taking up the ‘offer’ and enjoying creative play on a weekly basis. I am being very loose in my own interpretation of the challenge. I’m certainly not committing to two hours, being quite sure 15 minutes will sometimes do the job. I’m also determined to make this fun, not a job of work. Here’s hoping for lots of relaxing and enjoyable weeks ahead of aimless writing / playing.

lindateadragon

The thing about having friends who write is that they are wont to encourage you along when they have committed to doing some jolly practice to help their own creativity. ‘Do come and join me’, they cajole and do it on Twitter, so publicly, so that others can join in. I want to say, ‘no, not just now. Actually I’m beetling along quite nicely revising the second draft of the novel and I don’t think I can take two hours out to do this thing.’ But because it is Alan and I like the piece he has written in his response to the challenge I give the invitation a little more thought.
The activity comes from Julia Cameron’s well-known cheer book, The Artist’s Way. I know it is much loved as a bible of the creative spirit movement but I find her tone loud and her assumptions about me…

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Fighting it: why not writing makes no sense

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The Writing Retreat

Not everybody will share my view that for a writer, writing is not a hobby, it is almost an addiction; a compulsion that can drive us to entertain inappropriate and often criminal fantasies. I very much doubt the condition will ever be officially recognised, and I’m pretty certain there will never be any NHS funding for treatment (other than to advise us to keep doing it). But still, I would argue my case that writing can be addictive. If you can go with me on this for a moment you might understand why, given writing’s addictive qualities, I am constantly bemused by the fact that every writer I know (including myself) is so fantastically talented at avoiding doing it. Why do we find a million and one reasons not to write? Focused on voice When writers are writing, our social lives suffer. Many of us grow pale and sickly. All too often, our…

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Resting and Reviewing

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Well, we’ve been having a well-deserved rest and recuperating from an invigorating retreat, filled with warmth, laughter, shared creativity, and the odd eureka moment. Oh, and a lot of cheese…

A cheese board to die for

The feedback from participants keeps coming in, and we thought we’d share some of the comments to date that have been music to our ears. Just what we needed to re-energise us as we start preparations for the next retreat in March.

Here are some snippets of what our November 2014 retreat guests had to say:

I have made tons of progress, ideas, writing. Meeting new people on the same ‘journey’ was brilliant. It helped me get back into the swing of things. – Elaine

It was beyond superb – Joy

I have loved it. Every moment. My writing is a joy once again. I had lost my way with it and within the first day of the course I had a better storyline and character. I am excited to write again. The food was exceptional, like dining out every night. Fantastic. –  Avis

It was nice to have a long meal for the conversations that generally developed. – Helen

At the end of the retreat…I wanted to share something I had written (a major break-through!) Thank you for a wonderful experience. The food was absolutely delicious. – Liz

The house was perfect. Needless to say, you can’t improve on the food. I’d like to thank you all for everything that you have done for me this last week. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you and I would not have had so much fun and laughed so much. – Michelle

Thanks for the wonderful retreat. Must keep writing. – Candy

Wonderful memories of a house full of warm, friendly, funny people. Incredible encouragement and inspiration to really take my writing more seriously. Thank you to all of you for sharing yourselves on such a well organised and well fed retreat!! I would love to come back X – Charmaine

YES, I would go again – Elaine

Cheers everybody

Cheers everybody

Roll on March…