Linda Cracknell – Tutor
Carol Farrelly – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
22nd – 27th July 2019
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.

  Tutor: Linda Cracknell – Writer

Linda Cracknell has published two collections of short stories, Life Drawing (Neil Wilson Publishing, 2000) and The Searching Glance (Salt, 2008), and a novel, Call of the Undertow (Freight, 2013). She writes regularly for BBC Radio Four and the ‘walkhighlands’ online magazine.

Her non-fiction narrative, Doubling Back: Ten paths trodden in memory (Freight, 2014) was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. She teaches creative writing in workshops across Scotland and internationally and lives in Highland Perthshire.

Guest, Wednesday evening: Carol Farrelly – Writer

Carol Farrelly is a fiction writer. She is currently working on a short-story collection and a first novel, set in Emergency Ireland and WWII Cornwall. This novel was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2018.

Her short stories have been widely published in journals such as The Irish Times and New Writing Scotland, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her story ‘The Telephone Man’ won the international Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize. Her stories have also been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, Fish Prize and the RA & Pin Drop Short Story Award.

In a previous life, she completed a DPhil on Thomas Hardy’s novels. He remains her desert-island writer. / @CarolMFarrelly

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

Single – En-suite room £790
Single – Shared bathroom £740
Shared Room (2 Beds) £690
Non-residential (inc. lunch and evening meal) £550

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 and mid-week guests
All 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 3:00pm and 5:00pm on Monday 22nd July 2019.
Tea and Cake 4.30pm
Introductory Workshop 5.45 – 6.45pm
END TIME After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 27th July 2019.
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
5.00 – 6.00pm: 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 student ‘open-mic’ night or 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, depending on the size of the group, participants will have between two and four tutorials 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 - The Garsdale Retreat