Arvon Centres Testimonials

Totleigh Barton

See more testimonials about Arvon here

“Totleigh feels a calm and wonderfully creative place to be – that feeling of being able to let my hair down and leave everything at home behind.”
– Carol Forbes

“To step over the threshold into Totleigh Barto has always been to step into a world of writing”
– Penelope Shuttle

“I’ve just returned from a thoroughly focused and educational week at Totleigh Barton. It’s a perfect place to write, lovely atmosphere, you feel totally at home and free to indulge yourself in your writing.”
– Lorraine Barnfield

“When we were told by Olly that we could treat Totleigh Barton as ‘home’ it was difficult to appreciate what was meant, having been here 5 days it is now obvious – the comfort, the generosity and the quality of food, accommodation and even the weather! Has made this feel as if we were family. Thank you.”
– Course participant

“The whole package – tutors, venue, staff, environment, food – totally empowering, energising and unblocking. Thank you!”
– Course participant

“I wrote more creatively within the peace of Totleigh Barton than at almost any other time”
– Course participant 

“The whole course has totally exceeded my expectations. The standard of the workshops was phenomenal and totally pushed my boundaries in terms of my learning. Both tutors were incredibly supportive and forced me to move well out of my comfort zone, which I needed. I really appreciated the amount of time we were given for one-on-one tutorials, and the midweek visitor gave a completely new perspective. Thank you all so much.”
– Course participant 

“Inspiring, supportive and brilliant fun- now motivated to finish my own novel. Tutors SO good- learnt more than on a year’s MA course. This course is SO worth it.”
– Course participant 

Lumb Bank

“I want to move in permanently to Lumb Bank. If I was very quiet they might not notice!”
– Course participant

“Lumb Bank has a literary tradition. Lumb Bank is a literary tradition. Lumb Bank promotes a literary tradition.”
– Krishna Francis

“My first Arvon course was at Lumb Bank in 1990. It was winter; daylight came late and disappeared early in the afternoon. Accommodation was limited to bunk beds in dormitories, and sixteen of us shared two bathrooms. Spaces for writing in were limited – the writing huts not being very inviting at that time of year – and there was one enormous manual typewriter in the library. And yet it was perfect. I fell in love with the place and have returned as often as I can during the last twenty years.”
– Alison Gomm

“The environment of Lumb Bank, the grounds and the area around are wonderful inspiration. The course is a good balance of tutoring, quiet time to write and socialising.”
– Course participant

“Amazing place. Amazing people. Amazing grub.”
– Course participant

“I love the way that the house is treated like our home – we can use the kitchen as we wish, make fires etc. Unusually, for a collective experience, we are actually treated as adults. The centre staff are warm, welcoming and more than hosts – it’s clear that they love literature too and that makes a difference.”
– Course participant

“The minute one enters any of the Arvon houses one is regarded as a writer and treated accordingly, whether a beginner or an established writer, published or not.”
– Course participant

“Very impressed about how special diets are catered for. Nothing was too much trouble…”
– Course participant

“As always, the course has been excellent. The tutors were fantastic – inspiring, interesting, relaxed and knowledgeable. The staff have been so friendly and helpful and Lumb Bank is beautiful. Thank you!”
– Course participant

“The social aspect of the course were also as precious in the Arvon experience. I really enjoyed cooking for everyone and got to devour some dishes that I had never eaten before! The food was a personal highlight and the availability of it!”
– Kumal Hussain

“The grounds at Lumb bank are breath taking and I’ll never forget the stunning view. It was great to be away from city life and to have a quiet tranquil place to write and process my ideas. Being shut off from my everyday life to write was very beneficial as there are no distractions like TV or radio at Lumb bank.”
– Victoria Ofovbe

“The environment of Lumb Bank, the grounds and the area around are wonderful inspiration. The course is a good balance of tutoring, quiet time to write and socialising”
– Course participant

“I found this course to be inspirational. The venue is so still and calm, the ideal place to step out of one’s ‘usual life’ into the life of a writer. The Arvon staff are unobtrusive but extremely helpful and encouraging. The tutors were a delight to listen to.”
– Course participant




The Hurst

“There is something about the natural beauty at the Hurst which supports the endeavour of writing, which makes wanderings and musings inevitable.”
– Danielle Kerris

“The Hurst as an educational centre was wonderful, by the way – I liked the way the rooms were quiet and there were lots of places in the house and outside where you could get away and think.”
– Kate Venables

“On returning as a guest speaker I was blown away by the transformation. The Hurst now houses the whole of the Arvon needs from en suite bed rooms for all, to working and relaxing spaces, kitchen, dining room and offices. Its bright, airy, inviting, warm with views from every room of the spectacular surroundings – the makeover has kept the atmosphere of creativity, inspiration and relaxation whilst bringing back the glory of its past and retaining its great history.”
– Linda Marshall Griffiths, Guest

“This group had a special atmosphere of mutual affection and good grace, in which everyone’s opinion were valued and listened to… those positive qualities created an atmosphere which was kind, even loving, and yet creatively bracing.”
– Chloe Stopa-Hunt

“I use a scooter most of the time and definitely The Hurst is beautifully accessible. I would find it hard to suggest any improvements at all. I think The Hurst is designed with the writer in mind and as such, all our needs are catered for.”
– Kathrine Dale

“The rural setting and amazing surroundings jerked me right out of my usual I-don’t-have-the-time mindset, and left me feeling totally free of pressure, stress and hurry – it was completely liberating.”
– Sadie Ryan

“I can’t even begin to say thank you for the fantastic week. The whole week from start to finish was outstanding, the venue, the support of your team, the complete and continuous involvement of Mark Haddon and Molly McGrann (they never had a moment off!), the food….I could go on and on. Still on a high from the week.”
– Course participant

“My week at The Hurst set a series of events in motion that has just seen me sign with my first choice of agent at Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh. The restorative environment Arvon offers, and the people I met there played a huge part in helping to channel my chaotic ideas and fragments of story into a coherent work of fiction. I am most grateful for the opportunity for growth that was provided by this remarkably well-designed writer’s tool.”
– Vanessa Black