Tutored Retreat: Fiction
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Tutored Retreat: Fiction

Strengthening your novel
  • Photo of Ayisha Malik
    Ayisha Malik
  • Photo of Cesca Major
    Cesca Major
Guest Tutor
  • TBC
Date Monday November 13th - Saturday November 18th 2023
Location Lumb Bank

An immersive and intensive tutored retreat for writers to work on their novel with Ayisha Malik and Cesca Major. Whether you are shaping a first draft or stuck somewhere along the way, this inspiring course will build confidence and skills and includes advice on how to develop and hone both narrative and character arcs for a satisfying story.

The course will include a workshop and two one-to-one tutorial sessions with each of the tutors, with plenty of writing time. Tutorials are tailored to meet each student’s goals, whether that is focusing on plotting, voice, style or how to take their writing to the next level.

Writers can expect to leave the course with a tangible structure to work on, a clear understanding of how to sell their work, and, most importantly, the confidence to move forward with their writing.

Whether you simply have an idea or have a work-in-progress, this retreat will provide time, space and professional guidance on how to become the writer you’ve always wanted to be.

Writers that book this retreat are invited to submit a short synopis (a paragraph), a writing sample (1000 words) and their aims and objectives for the week to rozie.kelly@arvon.org by 29 September. This will be read by the tutors ahead of the week.

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

Band A (rooms are located in the main house with a guaranteed valley view): £905

Band B (rooms are located in the barn or main house without a valley view): £855

Concessions: Band A Room £633.50

Concessions: Band B Room £598.50

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 Lumb Bank:

We do not recommend this house if you are a wheelchair user. Plans are underway to redevelop the house to provide level access. There is 1 level access en-suite bedroom – the Log shed. There is level access from outside into the workshop room and level access into the sitting room. Door widths are generally narrow, though all door handles are at an accessible height. There is no designated car park. If you have a mobility impairment, we can allocate you a space in the courtyard (1 place per course). Others are asked to park at the top of a long steep lane and make their way on foot to the house. For additional detailed information on physical access in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, dining, 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 Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank is an 18th-century millowner’s 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.

You’ll find many quiet places to write in the house and garden – and a well-stocked library. All rooms are single occupancy, and bathrooms are shared.

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.

Explore the Pennine landscape of woods and rivers, weavers’ cottages, packhorse trails and ruins of old mills. It is half a mile from the historic village of Heptonstall and two miles from Hebden Bridge.

See here for more information on Lumb Bank.

“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

Writing course tutor delivering a workshop at Lumb Bank


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


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


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


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


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


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


3.30—4.30pm: Arrival of participants. We’ll welcome you, show you to your room and offer light refreshments. 

4.30pm: Cream tea in the dining room – a chance to meet other course attendees and staff. 

5.30 – 6.00pm: The group meets in the dining room for an introductory talk from a member of our hosting team.  Please make sure you arrive in time for this session as it will include vital information about the week, a tour of the house, and the opportunity to introduce yourself to other participants. 

6.30pm: Dinner. Our hosting team will serve the evening meal.

8.00 – 9.00pm: The first group session 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 and discuss your projects as a group. 


10.00—11.30am: Everyone meets in the workshop room for the first of two Masterclasses led by your tutors.  

11.45am—12.45pm: 1-1 tutorials 

1.00pm: Lunch. Our hosting team will prepare and serve lunch – everyone must wash up and put away their own things after meals. 

3.00 – 4.30pm: 1-1 tutorials 

4.30pm: 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. 


The timing is just like yesterday… 

10.00—11.30am: Everyone meets in the workshop room for the second Masterclass.  

11.45—12.45pm: 1-1 tutorials 

1.00pm: Lunch. 

3.00 – 4.30pm: 1-1 tutorials 

4.30pm: 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. 


10.00am—12.45pm: 1-1 tutorials 

1.00pm: Lunch 

2.30 – 4.00pm: 1-1 tutorials 

4.30pm: 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. 


10.00am—12.45pm: 1-1 tutorials 

1.00pm: Lunch 

3.30 – 4.30pm: 1-1 tutorials  

4.30pm: 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. 


Breakfast, goodbyes, and departure. We ask everyone to have stripped their beds, washed up and put away breakfast things ready to vacate the building by 10.30am, but you can leave as early as you wish. 



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