Thursday, 29 January 2009

Share the goodies

Tis the season... to turn your students on to the joys of the residential writing experience.

Arvon and Ty Newydd are the two main organisations (that I know of -- please tell me of others!) that run weekend or 5-day courses, deep in the countryside. They've recently released their 2009 programmes: inspiring reading.

Of course YOU've probably been on and/or know of these. I'm always surprised when an aspiring writer has never heard of them. But then... once it was new to me too. My first go was Arvon in Lumb Bank, near Heptonstall -- ah yes, the pilgrimage to Sylvia Plath's grave, the chill and the rain, and most of all -- the company of poets! And leadership of real published poets -- Anne Stevenson and Fred D'Aguiar it was.

What a confirmation of being 'a real writer' the residential is. I also tell students that it is an excellent way to get to know the real world of getting published, and to make contacts in that world. And I do caution them -- though you'll have an inspiring time, don't expect to get a lot of writing done. It's more for stimulation than retreat.

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