Arvon at Home Writing Week: Queer Poetry

Using your own fire

Monday July 27th - Friday July 31st 2020


‘You cannot use someone else’s fire. You have to use your own’ (Audre Lorde).

What makes a poem queer, and how do you write one? We instinctively understand that poetry springs from ourselves, our own visual imaginations, so how do we shed our fears and use our own fire to write explicitly, unapologetically and joyously? During this, the first queer poetry online week run by Arvon, we will create a safe space to generate new work (lots of it!) and explore our sexualities on the page. Looking at sex, gay pride and gay shame, queer theory and ancestry, as well as how language and form themselves might be queered, this week is for anyone who identifies as queer and wants to write towards that, in hope.

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 morning 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 morning sessions, Monday to Friday. You should also set aside your afternoons for tutorials and independent writing time.  Last but not least, we urge you to read your tutors’ published work before the week starts.

Dates: Monday 27 July 5pm  — Friday 31 July 9pm
Cost: £350

If you have any questions about how the week works, or are on a low income and would like to apply for a grant to reduce the course fee please contact (grants are limited to three places).


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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—6pm: Everyone gathers online in Arvon’s Zoom Writing House. The Arvon Centre Director will welcome you and the tutors, giving you an overview of the week, support with technology if required, and sharing thoughts on how to make the most of the week. This is a chance to meet everyone, ask questions, and settle in. Your tutors will ask you to start thinking about your writing, perhaps setting an exercise.


9.30am—12.30pm: Everyone meets online for the morning workshop, which includes writing exercises, discussion and a break.

3pm—4.30pm: 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.

6pm—7pm: Readings of work by Marina Benjamin and Will Atkins followed by Q&A hosted by Arvon staff.


The timing is similar to yesterday, but not quite the same…

9.30am—12.30pm: morning workshop

3pm—4.30pm: afternoon one-to-one tutorials

5.30pm – 6pm: informal evening get-together (optional). This is a chance to discuss the day’s work, any writing issues, what you’re drinking/eating, and anything else that springs to mind.


7.15pm: The Arvon Wednesday Live Guest Reading— if you’d like to attend you get a free ticket to this.


9.30am—12.30pm: morning workshop

3pm—4.30pm: afternoon one-to-one tutorials

6pm—7pm: there’ll be a group discussion on how to continue with your writing practice, the setting up of a writing group/s and general feedback.


9.30am—12.30pm: morning workshop

3pm—4.30pm: afternoon one-to-one tutorials


7pm—9pm: 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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