Residential Writing Week: Non-Fiction | Transforming travel experience into compelling writing | Arvon
Residential Writing Week: Non-Fiction
Book

Residential Writing Week: Non-Fiction

Transforming travel experience into compelling writing
Tutors
  • Sophy Roberts Headshot
    Sophy Roberts
  • Rory MacLean Author Non-Fiction Writing Course Tutor
    Rory MacLean
Guest Tutor
  • Photo of Laura Beatty
    Laura Beatty
Date Monday August 26th - Saturday August 31st 2024
Location The Hurst

At the heart of the finest travel books, memoirs and histories is a writer’s love of their chosen subject.

This week gives you the perfect opportunity to explore your passion in the nurturing and inspiring environment of The Hurst. You will learn how to identify the essence of your story, and how to develop your work with a self-critical eye, to refine your voice so it is true to you. Join award-winning travel writers Sophy Roberts and Rory Maclean as they offer detailed advice on narrative structure, character and description of place, exploring the transformation of experience — our own and others’ — into stories and books. Through workshops, tutorials and discussions you will develop momentum with your writing that will continue to inspire you long after the week has finished.


*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.

What your course fee covers:

Tutoring: Four morning group workshops, with inspiring writing exercises to kick-start your creativity, plus two 1:1 tutorials, one with each tutor, focusing on your own work. Our tutors are some of the leading writers at work today, and in addition to formal workshops and tutorials you will share meals with them and have opportunities for more casual conversation. During evening readings, you’ll hear your tutors – and a guest speaker on Wednesday evening – share their work and answer your questions, from the secrets of their craft to the practicalities of life as a writer.

Your accommodation: A week in a grade II listed stately home set in 27 acres within an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

All meals:  We hand over our well-stocked and welcoming kitchen to you, offering a fresh, tasty seasonal menu prepared from local ingredients where possible (with dietary requests catered for), as well as a constant supply of coffees, teas, and home-baked cakes throughout your stay.

Time and space to write: an opportunity to step away from the distractions of everyday life and focus solely on your creativity.

A community of writers: our writing weeks have a relaxed and sociable atmosphere and offer the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people. Many of the writers who attend our residentials stay in touch and continue to share work and support one another’s writing journeys – sometimes even decades later.

Support for our charitable activity: Arvon is a charity, and each year over 40 of our courses are with vulnerable groups and schools, from young people who have experienced bullying to adults recovering from an addiction. Your course fee helps to support groups who would otherwise not have the opportunity to access our transformational courses.

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.

“I arrived at the beginning of the week wondering whether I might be a writer or even if I could write. But when I left, not only did I feel I could write, I knew that’s what I was going to do next.”
— Piers Torday
“It is invaluable to writers at an early stage to have this feedback on their work. Many people on my course said that they wished that they had received this type of input earlier in their career – that it might have borne fruit and improved their success. It also provides time to think – in an over complicated world it is hard to carve time for yourself against the requirements of work, family, and daily chores. Arvon was a breath of fresh creative air.”
— Penny Clark
“Both courses I attended have had a massive impact on my writing, and been part of the motivation and encouragement I needed to begin working professionally as a writer.”
— Participant, Residential Writing Week

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 first group workshop of the week. 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. There’ll be discussion, short exercises, and perhaps some ‘homework’ for Tuesday morning. 

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—1.00pm: Everyone meets in the workshop room for the first group session of the week. There will be a break mid-morning for refreshments.  

1.00pm: Lunch. Our hosting team will prepare and serve lunch. 

2.30 – 4.30pm: 1-1 tutorials 

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

6.30pm:  Dinner. 

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

Wednesday

The timing is just like yesterday… 

9.30am—1.00pm: Morning workshop. 

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). 

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

Thursday

9.30am—1.00pm: Morning workshop. 

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: Morning workshop. 

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). 

8.00-9.00pm: 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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