Arvon at Home Masterclass: Listening To Things

Zoom masterclass with Marina Warner and Sophie Herxheimer

Thursday February 10th 2022, 11:00 GMT


In this two hour masterclass Sophie Herxheimer and Marina Warner will reflect on the vagaries of memory, the role of imagination and yes, invention, in meeting the past and re-animating it. We shall explore different keys to the doors of experience and tune into the surprising power of objects. We will watch as seeming trifles: Desdemona’s handkerchief, Aladdin’s lamp, Widow Wadham’s eyeglass in Tristram Shandy – act as pivots, moving story and characters into unforeseen worlds, pressing changes in the fates of all who touch them. And we will discover how the things around us too, whether ordinary or rare, seem to hold their own dialogue with us, despite their ostensible silence. We will write to find out what keys objects hold, to writing, to imagination, to the past and the future. In the pages of her poetry collection Velkom to Inklandt, Sophie Herxheimer conjures a half remembered, half invented London, in which she snips and intones the voices and objects of her grandmother’s house, not seen or heard since childhood. Marina Warner, in her recent ‘unreliable memoir’, Inventory of a Life Mislaid also draws on talismanic belongings, such as her father’s cigarette box, her mother’s brogues, and an envelope stuffed with defunct cash, to revisit a vanished world and the mysterious destinies of two people. Bring some object that matters to you, and that might, if rubbed, yield a story.

The masterclass will be delivered via Zoom and will last two hours (11:00 – 13:00) including time for you to write. You will need to have a computer or smart device and a reliable internet connection in order to participate. Bookers unable to join the live session will be able to view this Arvon Masterclass for up to two weeks after the event. You must book your place before the event starts in order to access this facility.

As part of our wider effort to increase participation in the arts, half-price concessions are available for this course at checkout. There are a limited number of free subsidised places for those who cannot afford the concession price. 

Cost: £35 (concession: £17.50)


"These zoom opportunities are really helping to open my world and keep me inspired to write."

—Masterclass participant

"Arvon at Home creates a model to participate in inspirational tutoring for writers, at a distance. The feeling of attending to my writing life in an excellent fashion, and still having a half-day for my work and caring responsibilities at home, felt like a good balance."

—Masterclass participant

"It was an absolutely brilliant session and very very useful. And it made me realise how much I’ve missed this kind of workshop because of having children and family that I can’t leave. Now we’re all in the same boat the online stuff is truly transformative."

—Masterclass participant



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