My imagination ran rampant: Keira Andrews’ Arvon journey

12 May 2015 / My Arvon Week

You’re so close to IT, Keira. IT! You’re bloody good, and so close.”
– Horatio Clare, my first Arvon Tutor.

At seventeen, I embarked on my first Arvon course after needing a ‘residential’ section for my Duke of Edinburgh award. At the time, I was rather lost at school and just saw the break as another academic requirement. That was, of course, until I caught sight of the large gothic manor at The Hurst; surrounded by an active woodland, open land dotted with broken statues and gargoyles, and the entire site decorated with autumn leaves – to put it simply, my imagination ran rampant.

Two wonderful tutors and a close group took me under their wing. For the first time, my stories were encouraged and I was given confidence in my work. I returned home with a new motivation, and shortly afterwards changed my university option from business to creative writing.

Within the year, I stood at the door of another Arvon centre; Lumb Bank. From the cobbled village at the top of the great hill, to the homely welcome, inspiring tutors, secret bedroom, to the great friends I made on our sing-a-long nights and book discussions from a range of cultures inspired me, at the age of eighteen, to discover how the rest of the world viewed their literary culture. Soon afterwards, I applied to move to Australia to study abroad.

Before I left, I used my savings to go on one last Arvon course (I was admittedly hooked). This time, I travelled far south to Totleigh Barton. It was like waking up in Peter Rabbit’s garden, with a thatched cottage sat amongst it all. My room looked out on the vegetable patch, and the dining table reminded me of a giant’s table – the perfect place to write for children.

Throughout all my experiences with Arvon, I’ve witnessed the exact same things; a beautiful location, a well-thought program, caring staff, yummy home cooked food, and a good mix of people from all walks of life. Arvon has definitely put me on a different path; I’m still currently in Australia where I volunteer at literary festivals, independent publishers, and as a creative writing tutor to disadvantaged children. Next year I will be graduating, and I now have the confidence to chase after every ambition. All of this, I can honestly say, would not have happened if my mother hadn’t sent me on an Arvon course three years ago.

Keira Andrews


Fred D’Aguiar – Arvon at 50

19 Mar 2019 / #Arvon50

We called them the two Johns, John Moat and John Fairfax, after the two Ronnies, but out of awe at their…

Read more

Gavin Dimmock – Finding Love at Lumb Bank

12 Feb 2019 / #Arvon50

In May 1984, my O levels were finishing and I couldn’t wait to leave school behind and start my life in…

Read more

Arvon appoints Andrew Kidd as Chief Executive and Artistic Director

11 Feb 2019 / News

Arvon is delighted to announce that  Andrew Kidd  has been appointed as its new Chief Executive and Artistic Director. Andrew Kidd…

Read more

Jean Atkin – A Shropshire Dimpsey, in Hurst Rough

29 Jan 2019 / #Arvon50

A Shropshire Dimpsey, in Hurst Rough

Lamp to our path, that dandelion globe has made
full moon above the…

Read more
Read more

This website uses cookies to give you the best experience. Agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.