Ruth Borthwick, Chief Executive
It’s amazing to think that it is 40 years since Arvon started running courses at Lumb Bank, our centre in Yorkshire, formerly Ted Hughes’ home. Although it is a lot more comfortable now than in those early days, the emphasis hasn’t changed. Arvon prioritises the conditions that writers need to be creative: distraction-free time away, glorious locations, support from an experienced team and, above all, successful and talented writers as tutors who give their time generously.
What supremely talented writers have taught at Lumb over those 40 years! The roll-call includes Angela Carter, Will Self and Hilary Mantel. In its 40th year, we celebrate that history with fine writers returning, such as Mark Haddon, Michael Longley, Colette Bryce, Roger McGough and, in a blaze of glory, Paul Muldoon.
Arvon is constantly renewing its offering so that we engage with new forms of writing, the lifeblood of literary invention. At The Hurst we have a raft of innovative courses on writing for the screen featuring Short Film, Continuing TV Drama, and Film Adaptation. At Totleigh Barton, courses include Writing Theatre for Young Audiences and Experimental Fiction. At Lumb Bank we are premiering courses in Experimental Poetry and Improvisation for writers. And we’re bringing back great courses because they’re, well, great: Food Writing, Comedy Writing and Picture Books at Totleigh; Historical Novel at The Hurst, and Nature Writing at Lumb.
We are proud to have several extraordinary writers making their debuts at Arvon this year. Monica Ali, James Lasdun, Neel Mukherjee, Helen Macdonald and Brian Turner lead the
If you’re new to writing, Arvon’s signature Starting to Write strand runs throughout the year. As well as opportunities to start writing a novel, short story, poetry and non-fiction, you may also enjoy our new course for first-time playwrights.
Don’t be put off if the costs are beyond you. Each centre has a grant fund to help you. In 2014 we were able to help nine out of ten writers who applied for support. You may notice that our Scottish affiliate, Moniack Mhor, is no longer part of the Arvon family. They have decided to fulfil their mission to be Scotland’s creative writing centre. We wish them well on their journey.
Finally, this programme is dedicated to John Moat (1936–2014). Without his vision, Arvon would have remained a kingdom of the bards in a Welsh romance. Vale John Moat.