Starting to Write

Arrive as you. Leave as a writer.

Monday January 10th - Saturday January 15th 2022

Lumb Bank

New Year – New Start? But are you unsure how to start writing…and how to keep going? Maybe you’ve been secretly writing for a while – and now want to strengthen your work ready to share with others? Or maybe you jumped into writing once before and life got in the way, so you need a re-start? Wherever you are on your writing journey, Vanessa Gebbie and Catherine Smith, two experienced and generous tutors, will encourage and support you throughout the week.

In daily group workshops, you’ll respond to tried and tested games and exercises and you’ll soon find yourself writing fiction, poetry, non fiction. Everything! And you’ll have separate one-to-one tutorials with both tutors, to discuss your work and your plans. You’ll be inspired by our incredible guest writer, have plenty of free time to put what you learn into practice, to read, to enjoy each other’s company, and to be inspired by the woods and streams round glorious Lumb Bank.

You’ll leave the course confident in your abilities to find and develop ideas, with the knowledge that everything you try will make you a stronger writer. Arrive as you. Leave as a writer.

*We have worked hard to ensure our courses and retreats are as Covid-compliant as possible and can’t wait to welcome you to Lumb Bank. To learn more about the measures we have put in place please click here

Single room price: £815

Grants are available to help with the course fee


Lumb Bank house

Lumb Bank

The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank is an 18th-century millowners house in West Yorkshire, which once belonged to Ted Hughes. It’s set in 20 acres of steep woodland with breathtaking views to the valley below.


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 and one-to-one tutorials. You are free to spend this evening as you wish.

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


Tutors lead the final workshops in the morning. In the evening everyone gets together to share and celebrate their 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.

“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.”

—Course participant



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