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


Maitreyabandhu – Full Circle at The Hurst

13 Nov 2018 / #Arvon50

On May 21st this year I will catch a train to The Hurst in the company of the wonderful Mimi Khalvati,…

Read more
Nick Grant Arvon

Remembering Nick Grant

12 Nov 2018 / News

It is with a heavy heart that we share this sad news. Our dear friend Nick Grant passed away peacefully on…

Read more

Ruth Borthwick announces her departure

08 Nov 2018 / Chief Executive

Arvon today announces that Ruth Borthwick will step down in April 2019, after a decade as Artistic Director and Chief Executive….

Read more
Lois Pryce Arvon Creative Writing Course

Lois Pryce – Arvon at 50

06 Nov 2018 / #Arvon50

In the mid-90s, aged 22, I landed my dream job at an indie record label. This was mainly due to a…

Read more
Read more

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