residential creative writing courses and retreats

About us

Since 1968, Arvon has been offering people time and space to write, with  an annual programme of residential courses and retreats  at  three rural writing houses – in Devon, Shropshire and Yorkshire. In beautiful countryside, with expert tuition from leading authors and the support of other like-minded writers, you can feed your imagination and let your stories flourish.

The courses are tutored by some of the most acclaimed authors writing today, including Mark Haddon,  Bernardine Evaristo, Jim Crace, Sinead Morrissey, Simon Armitage, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Willy Russell, Malorie Blackman and Melvin Burgess. Past tutors have included Angela Carter, Salman Rushdie and Beryl Bainbridge.

Our adult programme covers a wide range of genres, for all levels of experience, from beginners to emerging and published writers. We also run Arvon City, our three-day non-residential creative writing courses in city centres. A third of all our courses are with schools and community groups.

We offer you more than a writing course. We’ve cultivated the ideal environment for your creativity to thrive. Time and time again, we hear how surprised and delighted people are by the results of their Arvon week, and how the experience has boosted their confidence and creativity long after.

At Arvon, everyone who crosses the door of one of our writing houses is a writer – no matter what their age or writing experience – and all are welcome.  Thanks to the support of Arts Council England and generous donors, we’re able to offer grants to cover some or all of the course fee. Nine out of ten people who apply receive some support. Find out how to apply here.

There are plenty of newcomers on the scene offering short courses for writers but Arvon remains in a class of its own. An Arvon course can change your life. It’s as simple as that.
—Andrew Miller

From the outset it was the founders of Arvon’s belief that an Arvon Centre was a ‘Freehouse of the Imagination’, and as such didn’t belong to, but was owned by anyone and everyone who opened themselves to being part of its life.

-John Moat


The Arvon Week

Our writing centres have a relaxed, friendly and informal atmosphere – they’re not hotels, they are your home? for a week. Most Arvon weeks follow this structure…

IMG_6657  - Paul Floyd Blake


Our three centres are historic country houses, set in a different part of the British countryside , each remote and peaceful but with a distinct character.


Schools & Groups

Arvon offers residential creative writing weeks for schools, young people and adult groups. Groups live, write and eat together, cooking their evening meal in teams.

IMG_9651  - Paul Floyd Blake

Arvon alumni

Arvon has had a deep and lasting influence on literature in the UK –  generations of writers have…

John Moat, founder of Arvon

History of Arvon

Arvon was founded in 1968 by two poets, John Moat and John Fairfax, with the original aim of…

A film about Arvon

    A short film about Arvon’s residential creative writing courses and retreats, featuring Mark Haddon, Andrew Motion,…