Creative Writers Inspired by Award-Winning Novelist
Our creative writers enjoyed a fantastic week with the Arvon Foundation at Totleigh Barton, Devon. Tutors for the week were Catherine Smith, who writes both prose and poetry and has adapted material for the BBC, and Tim Liardet, who is a lecturer at Bath Spa University and has published several poetry collections. We were also joined by award-winning novelist Tim Bowler for an inspiring evening of readings; he also gave us excellent hints and tips for our own writing.
This was possibly the most challenging week of writing that some of us had ever had. Our tutors had high expectations and we think it fair to say that the girls rose to the challenges they were set with great enthusiasm and dedication.
Our first morning with Tim, our poetry tutor, was an intense writing session and concluded with some tough homework – writing two sonnets! Mrs. Thayer, as an already published writer as well as a teacher of English, was given the gruelling task of writing three sonnets!
Catherine then gave us story-writing prompts and then the task of continuing, even completing a short story. We also had a session on describing characters and places and then the chance to write a piece about magical or strange events overlapping with the modern world.
In between our workshops, we all had opportunities to continue with our own writing or to take advantage of one-to-one tutorials, in which we received constructive feedback on our poetry and prose and suggestions for improving our work.
The girls also had the chance to hone their cooking skills as every evening a different team cooked for the whole group. We enjoyed a variety of delicious fare, ranging from Thai chicken curry to baked salmon and bread and butter pudding.
The weather, sadly, was less than glorious; but, in between the showers, the girls had some time to play with Huxley, the centre directors’ dog, or to have a walk in search of a mobile phone signal as well as some fresh air.
On Friday evening, our girls had the chance to seize the spotlight and sparkle, as each of them took to the Reading Chair in the beautifully refurbished barn to share a poem or some prose with the rest of the group. It was a wonderful evening of celebration and it made us both extremely proud to hear the results of so much hard work during the week.
The anthology of work from our trip is entitled: “I heard a [fullstop] fly”, and is available in the library for those who would like the chance to browse.
Mrs. Thayer and Mrs. Borzoni