Arvon at Home Writing Week: Poetry

Writing Back

Monday March 29th - Friday April 2nd 2021


We are the ones we have been waiting for.
― June Jordan

There is nothing new under the sun. But there are new suns.

― Octavia Butler

We are not often in a room together. And we are already a powerful, innovative collective because we are disabled and D/deaf. We welcome any disability into this room—this virtual space—and so we include D/deaf, Blind, DeafBlind people; physical or cognitive or invisible or intellectual or psychiatric disability; people who are Autistic, Mad, Sick or people who identify with neurodivergence, chronic illness. We also recognize that some of us have multiple disabilities. Into this room, we welcome you.

Often, we are around nondisabled and hearing people, which means we must consider their needs in relation to ours. But this week, we will forget about them and centre our desires as poets, namers and culture changers.

What happens when disabled and D/deaf people are in the same room? When we become the ideal audience? How does that shift charge and transform the poems? What does it mean to write for and with each other? What limits on our imagination are placed on us by nondisabled people? And how do we dismiss those limits to imagine “new suns,” as disabled writer Octavia Butler calls it? If we need not imagine work-arounds to access, exclusion, and editorial ableism, then what? What do we want?

During this, the first poetry course run by Arvon tutored by, and for, D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse poets, we will create a safe space to generate new work (lots of it!) and explore the poetics of disability. Engaging and sharing poems by disabled poets, this week is for anyone who wants to write back to the ableist culture we’ve found ourselves in.

We’ll help you to make ‘Arvon at Home’, turning your own place into a writing cocoon, capturing the transformative power of our acclaimed Arvon residential courses: two brilliant author-tutors at your service, a caring and sharing group, the time and space to devote to your writing, invaluable feedback, new writing pals, and the unique creative progress that happens in a dedicated week.

You will be offered the best of a classic Arvon residential week, with a few virtual tweaks. Spot the difference: a carefully balanced combination of tips to help you focus, daily workshops, one-to-one tutorials with both tutors, three evening get-togethers to chat about the day’s work, a mid-week guest reading offer, the celebratory Friday-evening collective reading, and lots of time and encouragement for you to write every day. You will receive a free ticket to our Wednesday evening Live Guest Reading.

All gatherings, one-to-one or group, will be delivered via our own Arvon Zoom, so you’ll need to have a reliable internet connection. Your Arvon Centre host will be on call to offer support as you need it, including any help you may need with your computer set-up.

To participate, and to get the most out of the week, you’ll need to turn up online for all planned sessions, Monday to Friday. We also urge you to read your tutors’ published work before the week starts.

Please note, this week will be timetabled so that it can be attended by poets in both the UK and the US and will include relaxed evening events (19.00 GMT). Jillian and Raymond are currently finalising the timetable and participants will be updated as soon as possible.

Dates: Monday 29th March — Friday 2nd April

Cost: £280 This course is subsidised (full cost £375) as part of our commitment to widening access to participation. Additional grants are also available for those on reduced incomes

Access: The week will be captioned via Otter:ai and workshops and evening readings will have live BSL interpretation.

This course is tutored by, and for, D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse poets.

If you have any questions about how the week works, would like to discuss further access needs or are on a low income and would like to apply for a grant to reduce the course fee please contact

This course is available half-price for Arvon 18-25 members and benefits-related concessions.
Add to waiting list Grants are available to help with the course fee


I had the chance to speak with two well respected tutors about my work. Being able to do this in one-to-one tutorials was excellent and not reduced in any way by being on Zoom. A good chance for some very good advice. I am now determined to set to work on my writing.

—Writing Week Participant

What a lovely week—worked so well. It’s not the Hurst, but something different and equally special.

—Writing Week Participant


4pm—4.30pm: Everyone gathers online in Arvon’s Zoom Writing House. The Arvon Centre Director, Eliza Squire, will welcome you, giving you an overview of the week, technology support, and some ideas for making your writing ‘cocoon’. You’ll get to meet everyone, ask questions, and settle in, then there will be a 30-minute break before your first session with your tutors.

5pm—7pm: Your tutors, Raymond Antrobus and Jillian Weise, will ask you to start thinking about your writing.

8pm—9pm: Jillian and Raymond will each share their own work, followed by a Q&A session hosted by Eliza.


11am—12pm: Meeting for coffee (optional). The group are invited to meet in the workshop room to share work and get to know each other a little better.

3pm—5.15pm: One-to-one tutorials lasting about 20 minutes each. You have one tutorial with each tutor during the week; the rest of the afternoon is your time to think and write.

6.30pm—8.30pm: Everyone meets online for Jillian’s workshop, which includes writing exercises, discussion and comfort breaks.


The timing is just like yesterday…

11am—12pm: Meeting for coffee (optional).

3.30pm—5.30pm: Workshop, led by Raymond.

6.30pm—9pm: One-to-one tutorials



11am—1pm: The Arvon Masterclass by Khairani Barokka on Writing the Body—you get a free ticket to this.

3pm—5.15pm: One-to-one tutorials

6.30pm—8.30pm: Workshop, led by Jillian.


11am—12pm: Meeting for coffee (optional).

3pm—5pm: Workshop, led by Raymond.


6.30pm—8.30pm: Friday evening culminates with a celebratory reading where you have the chance to share some of your new writing. Expect laughter, tears and a huge sense of pride for all you have learned, written and achieved this week. There’ll be plenty of virtual hugs.

And then...

The week doesn’t stop here. You now have a writing community. Stay in touch. Share your work with each other, and take it forward.



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