Malika Booker – Tutor
Kate Fox – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
29th Oct. – 3rd Nov. 2018
Course Date

This course is for poets committed to exploring how inter-textual relationships open up possibilities for the development of their own writing. We will be using exercises and literary texts to explore the ways in which contemporary, historical and / or mythological literature can influence writing in terms of: form, voice, character, lyric and the narrative. The aim is to produce a considerable amount of drafts and ignite unusual sources of inspiration.

Malika Booker - The Garsdale Retreat

Tutor: Malika Booker – Poet / Multi-disciplinary Artist

Malika Booker is a British poet and multi-disciplinary artist of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage. In 2001 she and Roger Robinson co-founded the writer’s collective – Malika’s Poetry Kitchen.

Breadfruit (pamphlet), (flippedeye, 2007) was recommended by the Poetry Society and her poetry collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was longlisted for the OCM Bocas prize and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre prize for first full collection (2014). She is published with the Poets Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire in The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3:Your Family: Your Body (2017).

Booker has been the recipient of residencies from Millay Colony, Cove Park, The India International Centre and Kocevje through The Centre for Slovenian Literature.  She is a Fellow of both The Complete Works and Cave Canem and was inaugural Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Chair of Judges for The Forward Prize in 2016, her poem Nine nights was shortlisted on the Forward Prize for Best Single poem in 2017.

Booker has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths University, was the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Creative Writing at University of Leeds and is now an LHRI Fellow at that same university.

Photo: Siro Micheroli

Guest, Wednesday evening: Kate Fox – Stand-up Poet

Kate Fox is a poet, comedian and writing and performance facilitator. She has been a Poet in Residence on Radio 4’s Saturday Live, Glastonbury Festival and the Great North Run. Her solo shows include “Poet in Residence”, “The Starting Line”,  “Kate Fox News” and “Good Breeding”, performed at venues including the Southbank Centre, Ilkley Literature Festival the Edinburgh Book Festival, and Edinburgh Fringe. “Good Breeding” was made into a Radio 4 show.

She has been commissioned to write and perform poems for BBC1 (Including 2014’s “Great North Passion” in South Shields and the Great North Run, 2011 and 2015), BBC2’s Daily Politics, Radio 3’s “The Verb”, 6Music and many Radio 4 shows and has performed at venues from Latitude to the Stand Comedy Club, the Soho Theatre to Oakland University, USA and Turku Literature Festival in Finland.

She trained as a radio journalist in 1998 with a Post Grad Diploma from Trinity and All Saints in Leeds and worked as a newsreader and reporter for stations including Galaxy and Metro.

She’s won the Andrew Waterhouse Award from New Writing North, an Arts Council Time to Write an award and a K Blundell Trust grant from the Society of Authors. She has taught and facilitated numerous creative writing. performance and comedy workshops for the Arvon Foundation, First Story, Creative Partnerships and New Writing North. In 2009 she was the only writer ever to do a Cultural Leadership placement and researched writers’ work with young people. Publications include “Fox Populi” from Smokestack Books (2013),  pieces in Bloodaxes’s “Funny Peculiar, Funny Ha Ha” and the “Iron Book of Humorous Verse” and she has edited several anthologies of young writers work.

She has been Poet in Residence for ACE’s “Creative Case North” conversations since 2014 and written plenary conference poems for organisations from the NHS and Bridge North East, to schools, B.T,  BALTIC and Coloplast as well as commissioned pieces for many organisations including Amnesty International, Manchester Literature Festival, Durham Literature Festival, Humber Mouth Festival, the Yorkshire Festival, the Portico Library, Billingham Library and South Shields Library. She runs her own Live Literature gigs and projects including, currently, the ACE funded “Bloomin Words” in Northallerton and Thirsk where she lives.

Radio 4 broadcast her two half hour comedy shows “The Price of Happiness” in June 2015 and another two have been commissioned to air in 2017.

She is currently two thirds of the way through a studentship-funded full time PhD in solo stand up performance and Northernness at Leeds University.

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 29th October 2018.
END TIME After breakfast, 10:00 am on Saturday 3rd November 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.

Reading to write: How does other text inspire us? - The Garsdale Retreat