Linda Cracknell – Tutor
Tania Hershman – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
10th – 15th May 2021
Course Date

This course will help you find inspiration and develop skills in fiction writing, whether short or long form. Structured workshops with Linda will focus on craft skills such as writing dialogue, editing, character development and structure. There will be personal writing time as well as the opportunity to discuss works in progress, explore how we find our stories, and nurture new ideas in a supportive and stimulating environment. Whether you are just setting out or want to revitalise an existing project, you will leave with a sense of having moved forward.

Participants are invited to submit 1000 words of their writing in advance.

Linda Cracknell - The Garsdale Retreat

Tutor: Linda Cracknell – Writer

Linda Cracknell writes in different forms (fiction, non-fiction, drama), with a frequent starting point in landscape, sense of place, and characters at odds or in tune with where they are.

Her non-fiction book about walking and memory, Doubling Back: Ten paths trodden in memory was published in 2014, and was a BBC Radio Four Book of The Week. A dramatic shoreline in North East Scotland was the setting for a novel, Call of the Undertow (2013).

Her short stories and essays have been widely anthologised and broadcast, as well as stories published in two volumes: The Searching Glance and Life Drawing. In March 2021 her novella/collection of themed stories, The Other Side of Stone, is published by Taproot Press.

She subscribes to Susan Sontag’s advice to writers: ‘Love words, agonise over sentences and pay attention to the world.’

Tania Hershman - The Garsdale Retreat

Guest, Wednesday evening: Tania Hershman – Poet/Writer of short stories, flash fiction and hybrids

Tania Hershman’s poetry pamphlet, How High Did She Fly, was joint winner of Live Canon’s 2019 Poetry Pamphlet Competition and was published in Nov 2019, and her hybrid particle-physics-inspired book ‘and what if we were all allowed to disappear’ was published by Guillemot Press in March 2020.

Tania, whose poetry and stories have often been broadcast on Radio 3 and 4, is also the author of a poetry collection, a poetry chapbook and three collections of short stories and flash fiction, and co-author of Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ & Artists’ Companion (Bloomsbury, 2014).

She is co-creator of @OnThisDayShe, the Twitter account putting women back into history, curator of short story hub ShortStops ( and has a PhD in creative writing inspired by particle physics.

A Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at the University of Manchester, Tania regularly teaches writing workshops in person and online. She has been writer-in-residence in both a biochemistry lab and a cemetery, and is currently working on an anthology inspired by women in science together with fellow writer Pippa Goldschmidt, and finishing a hybrid book on Time. Hear her read her work on and find out more here:

Photo: Naomi Woddis

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

Single – En-suite room £845

Single – Shared bathroom £795

Shared Room (2 Beds) £745pp

Non-residential (inc. lunch and evening meal) £605

TO BOOK £150 deposit payable on booking by bank transfer, PayPal or cheque, to secure place. Balance due four weeks before the start of the course/tutored retreat/untutored retreat.
Please see Terms and Conditions.
Accommodation Professional tutor and mid-week guest
All Meals Sheets & Towels
Boots/outdoor shoes/trainers suitable for walking on rough/wet paths.
A waterproof jacket or coat.
Warm Clothes
Toiletries – we do have one hair dryer available
Writing materials: your personal writing preference – laptop, paper, pens etc.
USB memory stick: for printing your work. (We do have air printing so may not be necessary)
Cash: for books on sale (written by tutors, guest readers etc.), alcohol, sundries. The nearest cash machine is in Hawes, six miles away!

Please arrive between 3:00pm and 5:00pm on Monday 10th May 2021

Tea and cake 4.30pm

Introductory workshop 5.45 – 6.45pm


After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 15th May 2021

LOCATION The Garsdale Retreat, Clough View, Garsdale Head, Sedbergh, Cumbria LA10 5PW
Nearest railway station: Garsdale, on the Leeds – Carlisle line.
For directions, see Find Us section on the Contact page.


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 3.00 – 5.00pm. On this first day, tea and cake are at 4.30pm followed by an introductory/ice-breaking workshop 5.45 – 6.45pm. Dinner is at 7.00pm. All courses end after breakfast on Saturday (10.00am).

Course Structure

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

8.00 – 9.00am: Breakfast

9.30 – 11.00am: First workshop – Students explore particular aspects of the chosen genre and take part in writing exercises to further their understanding and expertise. 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.

11.00 – 11.30am: Coffee break

11.30am – 1.00pm: Second workshop

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.

4.30pm: Tea and cake

5.30 – 6.30pm: Third workshop

7.00pm: Dinner

All students have one individual tutorial of 30 minutes with the tutor in the course of the week which usually takes place at a mutually agreed time, usually in the afternoon.

Each evening, at about 8.30pm, 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 word/literary game. On Friday, there is a reading of work produced during the week.

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 the writing is essentially work-in-progress. However, the aim of the anthology is to reflect a flavour of the work accomplished on the course and to provide participants 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.

Tutored Retreats

These follow the same basic structure as above except there is only one workshop in the morning and participants will have a daily tutorial, four per week.

Untutored Retreats

The only formal structure of the week is determined by meal-times (see above), allowing participants to concentrate totally on their own writing. After dinner, participants in conjunction with the course director sometimes organise evening read-rounds of their work /open mics/music /word games. However, participation in such events is entirely voluntary and people are free to continue with their writing in the evenings if they prefer.

Fiction Writing- Making Up Truths Course Retreat