Fierce Words

Writing as if the world mattered

Monday June 17th - Saturday June 22nd 2019

The Hurst

Calling all writers, artists, activists, performers, producers, campaigners, communicators.

How do we forge a narrative of change in an era of climate emergency: one that is not afraid to communicate hard truths and helps people stay rooted in difficult times?

Rebellion and direct action are in the air.  School children ‘climate strike’ across the globe; the public response to climate breakdown and the sixth mass extinction shifts to a new state of awareness.

What tools do we need as writers to articulate these realities at both ‘inner’ and ‘outer levels’; make meaning in times of urgency and sustain a writing practice? How do we write ‘as if the world mattered’?

During this week, we explore how to work with real life material; listen to the voices that need to be heard now (human and non-human); bear witness and speak on behalf of others and catalyse new stories. We look at the role of writers and their ‘fierce words’ to help navigate ecological calamity and restore the world.

The week will be led by Lucy Neal (co-founder of London International Festival of Theatre and author of Playing for Time) and Charlotte Du Cann (writer and editor for Dark Mountain Project).

During the week, participants are invited to create a solo piece of writing in addition to a collective work, in collaboration with others.

Cost: £600 (The cost of the course is subsidised as part of Arvon’s Learning and Participation programme)

To apply: Applications now closed. Is successful your place on the course will be confirmed by Monday 13 May 2019.

Feedback from participants on previous Writing to Make Change courses:

“The Arvon course helped me find my voice. By living in a supportive community of writers, and being mentored by our tutors, I was exposed to so many new styles and felt free to express myself in ways I never could alone.”

“I feel more confident to write from my own experiences as a way in which to inform and influence others and promote social change.”

“Lucy and Charlotte created an amazing space for us to flourish, breathe, grow as writers.”

“The course was an adventure and everyone I met taught me something vital about changing the world. Now I just need to keep writing.”

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The Hurst front

The Hurst

The Hurst is a place you can write, far away from daily distractions. The house and gardens, surrounded by the forest-covered Shropshire Hills, were the former home of playwright John Osborne.


Writing course tutor delivering a workshop at Lumb Bank


Arrive late afternoon, settle in, enjoy dinner and the tutors’ introduction to the week in the evening.

one-to-one tutorial at Lumb Bank


Morning workshops led by tutors. Afternoons are your time for writing and one-to-one tutorials. Tutors read from their work in the evening.

Course participants writing at the workshop table at The Hurst


Morning workshops led by tutors. Afternoons are your time for writing and one-to-one tutorials. In the evening a guest speaker joins the group.

Course participant writing on a sofa in the barn at Lumb Bank


Morning workshops led by tutors. Afternoons are your time for writing, to work collaboratively with other participants, and one-to-one tutorials.

A woman smiling and listening to a writing tutor speak at Lumb Bank


Tutors lead final workshops. Evening get-together to share and celebrate a solo piece of writing and a collective, collaborative work.

Course participants eating at The Hurst


The week comes to a close after breakfast. Have a tissue handy to say your farewells to the group.



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