Hamish Wilson – Tutor
Rose Condo – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
21st – 26th October 2019
Course Date

This course is intended for those new to writing poetry or the less experienced. Using a range of stimuli – the Garsdale landscape, everyday objects, other people’s poems – the course leads students gently by the hand but with joyful trepidation through a range of poetic forms, dipping toes into haiku, cinquains, kennings, riddles, free verse and sonnets. The overall aim, is to inspire participants with the desire and confidence to continue writing poetry long after the course is over.

  Tutor: Hamish Wilson – Poet

His debut book of poetry, ‘Away from the Welsh Speaking Sea’ – a sequence inspired by the Dylan Thomas birthplace – was launched at the birthplace on ‘Dylan Day,’ May 14th, 2017 ‘Lovely moments of vision and lyricism and surprise….delicate control.’ (Jane Draycott). ‘A warm and accessible collection of sonnets….’ (Hannah Ellis, Dylan Thomas’ grand-daughter). He has also performed this at Dylan Thomas wreath laying events in London, 2016 and 2017.

In 2018, he was short-listed for the WoLF poetry competition and published in the winners’ anthology. He was also published in ‘This Place I Know’ a new anthology of Cumbrian poetry (Handstand Press) and ‘Play’ (Paper Dart Press).

Hamish Wilson has written three plays: ‘Something Rotten in the State of Denmark.’ ‘A Tale Told By An Idiot,’ and ‘Eros’.

He regularly performs his poetry at Verbalise, in Kendal and is currently working on ‘Parallel Lives’ – a sonnet cycle exploring the lives of Dylan Thomas and John Lennon.

Guest, Wednesday evening: Rose Condo – Writer/Performer/Spoken Word Poet

Rose Condo is a writer, performer and multiple slam winning spoken word poet who hails from the Canadian prairies. Longlisted for the inaugural Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship, Rose has featured at festivals and events across the UK, including Lindisfarne Festival, the Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe, the Huddersfield Literature Festival, performances for Amnesty International, and supporting Shane Koyczan (presented by Apples & Snakes and Say Owt in York) and Hollie McNish (presented by Evidently in Salford).

Rose has written and toured two solo shows – The Geography of Me & How To Starve An Artist (Runner Up Best UK Spoken Word Show – Saboteur Awards 2017). Her slam wins include Manchester’s Word War Slam Championship, SLAMalgamate in Newcastle, the Axis Slam in Crewe and the Say Owt Slam in Edinburgh. Rose has competed at the Lingo Spoken Word Slam in Dublin, the BBC Slam in Edinburgh, and at the Hammer & Tongue National Slam Final at London’s Royal Albert Hall (2016 & 2017).

Rose programmes and hosts Queenie’s Coffee House Nights at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, and runs creative writing workshops for young people and adults. www.rosecondo.net

Photo: Dominic Simpson

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 21st October 2019.
Tea and Cake 4.30pm
Introductory Workshop 5.45 – 6.45pm
END TIME After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 26th October 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.

It’s Not Just About Daffodils - Starting Poetry - The Garsdale Retreat