Tutored Retreat: Fiction | Finding a reader | Arvon
Tutored Retreat: Fiction
Book

Tutored Retreat: Fiction

Finding a reader
Tutors
  • Jacob Ross writer, Arvon writing course tutor
    Jacob Ross
  • Maggie Gee
    Maggie Gee
Guest Tutor
  • Lisa Blower
Date Monday July 1st - Saturday July 6th 2024
Location The Hurst

All writers want readers, but how do you find them when publication is not easy? What place does the ‘inner reader’ play in energising and nourishing a writer’s work? How important is it to find a ‘first reader’ you trust? On this retreat course your work will be read by experienced and acclaimed Arvon tutors, short-story writer and novelist Jacob Ross, and novelist and memoirist Maggie Gee. You will have lots of time to write in the beautiful surroundings of The Hurst and, at the end of the week, a chance to read your work aloud to others.

The tutors will offer one-to-one tutorial meetings about your writing and masterclasses where you will explore how writers read both their own work and the books they love. You will learn how to re-read your work effectively during the editing process, and how to draw on books both good and bad to make yourself a better writer.

This course welcomes any writer with work in progress.

NOTE: Participants are required to send in a writing sample of no more than 1,500 words to thehurst@arvon.org for Jacob and Maggie to look at ahead of the week.


*Please use the expandable links below to reveal timings and further details of the course schedule.

Single room: £985

Concessions: £689.50

As part of our effort to increase participation in the arts, we offer limited concessionary places at a 30% reduction. You can select this option at checkout if available.

Physical Access at The Hurst:

The Hurst is the only house that is fully accessible to wheelchair users. There is access to every room via a lift. All communal spaces, including workshop spaces, have level access. There are no steps on the ground floor. All door frames measure the required 825mm, although the fire doors installed reduce this width slightly. All door handles are at an accessible height, with power sockets located at 500mm from the floor. There is an accessible toilet on the ground floor.

For additional detailed information on physical access in bedrooms, kitchen, shared spaces and the grounds please visit our dedicated access page.

General Access Information for Residential Writing Weeks:

Available on all courses for those who are Deaf, Partially Deaf or who have significant hearing loss

We provide BSL interpreters on some courses. If you require this please check whether the course you are interested in offers this facility. Or get in touch on our dedicated access email: access@arvon.org

Available on all courses for those who are blind, partially sighted or who have significant sight loss

Available on all courses for those who have Dyslexia

There’s no need to worry about spelling, grammar or handwriting on our courses, the focus is on creativity.

Available on all courses to those who identify as Neuro Divergent

Arvon is committed to providing a supportive and welcoming environment to all.

If you need to take some time out to rest, or be alone, you’re welcome to do so. Participation in any activity is entirely at your discretion.

Our grants scheme may be able to cover a portion of your course fees. Disability costs and additional living/support costs are taken into account when considering your grant application. You may also be entitled to concession pricing on selected courses.

For additional detailed information on how we can support people with learning difficulties, mental health issues, and those with special diets and allergies, please see our dedicated access page.

If you have any questions or concerns and want to chat to a member of staff prior to booking please contact us on access@arvon.org

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.

The 19th century building has been given a thoroughly 21st century renovation. All 16 bedrooms have a single bed, en-suite bathroom and are lift accessible. There’s plenty of space to relax and write throughout the house, including the main workshop room with a library.

All your meals are provided, locally and sustainably sourced wherever possible. Help yourself to breakfast, our team will prepare lunch, and dinner is prepared in groups each evening using the delicious recipes and ingredients provided.

The grounds boast redwoods, wild orchids, surrounded by the forest-covered Shropshire Hills, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The house sits within 26 acres of woodland, with a spring-fed lake and inspiring walks.

See here for more information on The Hurst.

Writing course tutor delivering a workshop at Lumb Bank

Monday

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

one-to-one tutorial at Lumb Bank

Tuesday

From Tuesday to Friday the focus will be on individual work and one to one time with the tutors. We guarantee an hour with both tutors spread over the four days. On Tuesday evening the tutors will give readings from, or talks about their work followed by Q&A.

Course participants writing at the workshop table at The Hurst

Wednesday

From Tuesday to Friday the focus will be on individual work and one to one time with the tutors. On Wednesday evening the guest speaker will join you for a reading and Q&A.

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

Thursday

From Tuesday to Friday in the mornings and afternoons, the focus will be on individual work and one to one time with the tutors. Tutors often lead an optional Masterclass during the week.

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

Friday

From Tuesday to Friday the focus will be on individual work and one to one time with the tutors. On Friday there will be the customary sharing of work produced – or honed – during the rest of the week.

Course participants eating at The Hurst

Saturday

The week comes to a close after breakfast. Depart by 10am. Have a tissue handy to say your farewells to the group.

Course Timetable

Times are subject to change

Monday

2.00pm—3.30pm: Arrival of participants. We’ll welcome you, show you to your room and offer light refreshments. 

4.15pm: The welcome talk from a member of our hosting team – this will cover domestic & practical arrangements for the week, but it’s also a chance to meet other participants and introduce yourself. Please be sure to arrive in time for this session. 

5.15pm: The tutors will introduce themselves and share their plans for the week in detail. You will have the chance to outline what you’d like to achieve and discuss your projects as a group. 

6.30pm: Dinner. Our hosting team will serve the evening meal and wash up after, but it would be helpful if you would help clear the dining room/stack dishes. 

The rest of the evening is free for you to relax and prepare yourself for the week ahead. 

Tuesday

Please note exact timings may change slightly but you’ll be updated at the beginning of the week. 

9.30am – 1pm: 1-1 tutorials – we will work out a schedule of these and there will be a copy displayed in the dining room at the beginning of the week.  

1.00pm: Lunch. Our hosting team will prepare and serve lunch, and wash up after. –  

2.00 – 2.30pm: 1-1 tutorials. 

2.30 – 3.30pm: The group gathers in the workshop room for the first ‘Masterclass’ session of the week. 

4.00pm: Three or four members of the group, today’s cooks, begin to prepare the evening meal and wash up for everyone afterwards. 

4.00 – 4.30pm: 1-1 tutorials 

6.30pm:  Dinner. 

8.00-9.00pm: Both tutors read from their work and take questions about their writing practice. 

Wednesday

The timing is similar to yesterday… 

9.30am—1.00pm: 1-1 tutorials 

1.00pm: Lunch. 

2.00 -2.30pm: 1-1 tutorials 

2.30 – 3.30pm: The group gathers in the workshop room for the second ‘Masterclass’ session of the week. 

4.00pm: Today’s cooks start preparing the evening meal. 

4.00 – 4.30pm: 1-1 tutorials 

6.30pm:  Dinner (today’s cooks washing up afterwards). 

8.00-9.00pm: The guest speaker for the week joins us, reads from their work, and takes questions. 

Thursday

9.30am—1.00pm: 1-1 tutorials 

1.00pm: Lunch 

2.30 – 4.30pm: 1-1 tutorials 

4.00pm: Today’s cooks start preparing the evening meal. 

6.30pm:  Dinner (today’s cooks washing up afterwards). 

Activities for Thursday evening are left flexible and will be agreed between the group and tutors during the week. It may be a ‘night off’ or even include a visit to the local pub for those who would like to. 

Friday

9.30am—1.00pm: 1-1 tutorials 

1.00pm: Lunch 

3.00 – 4.30pm: 1-1 tutorials  

4.00pm: Today’s cooks start preparing the evening meal. 

6.30pm:  Dinner (today’s cooks washing up afterwards). 

8.00-9.30pm: The culmination of the week is a celebratory reading by course participants. Everyone will have the opportunity to share work they have produced during the week. 

Saturday

Breakfast, goodbyes, and departure. We ask everyone to vacate the building by 10.00am, but you can leave as early as you wish. 

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