Masterclass: Writing with Chronic Illness

Masterclass: Writing with Chronic Illness

Delight is eternal energy
  • Photo by Gwyneth Lewis
    Gwyneth Lewis
Date Friday January 26th 2024, 11:00-13:00 GMT
Location Online

‘Energy is eternal delight’ is a wonderful maxim if you’re not bed- or housebound, suffering from a chronic condition that leaves you unable to shower or even walk to the fridge on some days.

For Gwyneth Lewis, one of the most prominent Welsh poets of her generation, and the first writer to take up the Welsh Laureateship, being severely ill for the last decade has meant giving up her former idea of what being a poet is and adapting to new ways of working. In this workshop, you will look at how you can think creatively within chronic pain and brain fog, preparing your mind for those times when the internal weather lifts and lets you see a broader view for a while. You will read some poems by writers in their illness and other constraining circumstances. Gwyneth will lead you through some in-class exercises to get your mind ranging as widely as possible, but without depleting your precious energy. Gwyneth says: ‘This is terrain that everybody has to face from time to time and eventually, so we’re experts in how to batten down the hatches in bad weather while making the most of every day.

If we don’t have boundless energy, then we can hone our capacity for its equivalent, delight. We’ll discuss practical strategies but also consider how we can make our situation a creative asset for ourselves and others. This is difficult but, in company, can and is being achieved.’ Gwyneth Lewis is an award-winning freelance poet and non-fiction writer. She wrote the words on the front of the Wales Millennium Centre and was the first National Poet of Wales. She teaches in the UK and America. There are extra fully funded places available on this masterclass for those unable to afford the concession rate. For more information, please email

The Masterclass will be delivered via Zoom webinar, so you can take the session at your own pace, without the pressure of having your video or camera on. Sessions are also recorded so if you are unable to attend live, you will have access to the recording for a month afterwards.

Online: £40

Concessions: £20

As part of our 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.

We are committed to making our Arvon at Home programme accessible to as many people as possible.

Across all of Arvon at Home


Online Writing Day

How I Write

Online Writing Weeks / Weekends

Subject to funding/permissions (please contact for more details)

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"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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