Ian Duhig – Tutor
Hannah Lowe – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
11th – 16th June 2018
Course Date

‘Nothing Useless’ – As International Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin and elsewhere, Ian Duhig has helped a wide range of people make poetry from those with literacy problems to postgraduates. He is known for his supportive, positive and enjoyable tutoring approach, using a broad repertoire of materials and exercises. Whatever your age, background or life, as Johnson puts in Rasselas, “To a poet nothing can be useless”: Duhig can help you identify and get the best out of your experience so you can write to the best of your ability.

ian-duhig Tutor: Ian Duhig – Poet

Ian Duhig has written seven books of poetry, most recently ‘The Blind Roadmaker (Picador 2016), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation shortlisted for the Roehampton, Forward Best Collection and TS Eliot Prizes.

A former homelessness worker, Duhig still works with socially excluded groups but also visual artists, musicians and film-makers.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Cholmondeley Award recipient, Duhig has won the Forward Best Poem Prize once and the National Poetry Competition twice.

Photo: Paul Maddern

hannah-lowe Guest, Wednesday evening: Hannah Lowe – Poet

Hannah Lowe’s first poetry collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection and was short-listed for the Forward, Aldeburgh and Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prizes. In September 2014, she was named as one of 20 Next Generation poets.

She has also published three chapbooks:  The Hitcher (Rialto 2012); R x (sine wave peak) 2013); and Ormonde (Hercules Editions 2014). Her family memoir Long Time No See was published by Periscope in July 2015 and featured as Radio 4’s Book of the Week. Her second collection, Chan, is published by Bloodaxe. (2016).

She is the current poet in residence at Keats House

Photo: Hayley Madden

PRICES Fee includes all day and evening tutored workshop sessions, readings, accommodation and full board (not including alcohol).

Single – En-suite room £760
Single – Shared bathroom £710
Shared Room (2 Beds) £660
Non-residential (inc. lunch and evening meal) £500

TO BOOK £150 deposit payable on booking by PayPal, bank transfer or cheque, to secure place, balance due six weeks before start of course.
Please see Terms and Conditions.
Accommodation Professional Tutor
Meals Sheets & Towels
Boots/outdoor shoes/trainers suitable for walking on rough paths.
A waterproof jacket or coat.
Warm Clothes
Writing materials: your personal writing preference – laptop, paper, pens etc.
USB memory stick: for printing your work. (We do have air printing)
Musical instruments and drawing/painting materials – sketchbook, pens, pencils, watercolours etc. (optional!)
Drawing/painting materials – sketchbook, pens, pencils, watercolours etc.
Cash: for books written by the tutors, alcohol, taxis or sundries. The nearest cash machine is in Hawes, seven miles away.
START TIME Please arrive between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm on Monday 11th June 2018.
END TIME After breakfast, 10:00 am on Saturday 16th June 2018.
LOCATION The Garsdale Retreat, Clough View, Garsdale Head, Sedbergh, Cumbria LA10 5PW

Nearest station: Garsdale – direct line from Leeds.


The Garsdale Retreat provides an inspiring place to develop as a writer. Our courses offer opportunities for new, emerging and experienced writers. The tutors, all professional writers, lead workshops and also give one-to-one tutorials to help the individual student. In the remote and beautiful setting of The Yorkshire Dales, The Garsdale Retreat gives a wonderful opportunity to escape from the daily stresses of life and to draw inspiration from fellow students, tutors and the landscape itself.
All courses start on Monday afternoon, arrival time 4.00 – 6.00pm and finish after breakfast on Saturday, 10.00am

Course Structure

Although there will be slight variations, according to the type of course, students can generally expect the following outline:

Each day begins with a morning workshop at 9.30am where students explore particular aspects of the chosen genre and take part in writing exercises to further their understanding and expertise. Tutors also write alongside the students, sharing and developing work with participants. The immediacy of hearing or reading an expert’s emerging work gives invaluable insight and inspiration into the art of writing. All students have opportunities to share their work with the tutor and fellow writers in a safe, supportive and nurturing environment in which individual work is respected and confidence developed.
There is a mid-morning coffee break and the session finishes at lunchtime (1.00pm)
After lunch, participants are free to do whatever they like, such as: relax, go for walks, enjoy The Dales, draw, paint, read or work on individual writing projects.
All students have at least one individual tutorial which usually takes place in the early evening after tea and homemade cake.
Each evening there is an after-dinner event. The precise nature of this varies according to the type of course but participants can typically expect a tutor reading on Tuesday followed by a reading from a guest writer on the Wednesday evening. There is an informal activity on Thursday such as a student ‘open-mic’ night, or a tutor devised activity. On Friday, students and tutor take part in a reading of their work from the course-produced anthology.

All courses end after breakfast on Saturday.

Poetry Course Anthology

An integral part of poetry courses is the production of an anthology of writing produced in the week. It is, of course, accepted that work may not be completely polished and there is an element of work-in-progress about it. However, the aim of the anthology is to reflect a flavour of the work accomplished on the course by both tutor and participants and to provide them with an attractive record of their time at Garsdale. The Retreat stores copies of anthologies in the library, providing pleasure and inspiration for future students.

Nothing Useless - The Garsdale Retreat