Catherine Simpson – Tutor
Tutor
Chitra Ramaswamy – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
21st – 26th March 2022
Course Date

All lives are extraordinary if looked at in close enough detail. A course for new and more experienced writers on the art of memoir/life-writing/the writing of recollection at short or book length. Participants will learn techniques to access and shape their own stories. Come and join us to learn more about using your lived experience in your writing.

Catherine Simpson - The Garsdale Retreat

Tutor: Catherine Simpson – Writer

Catherine Simpson’s memoir ‘When I Had a Little Sister: The Story of a Farming Family who Never Spoke’ was published in 2019 by 4th Estate. Set in rural Lancashire, it tells of the suicide of Catherine’s sister and of Catherine’s search for answers as to how it happened.

It was described as ‘a superb memoir’ (Sunday Times), ‘tormented, riveting and bleakly funny’ (The Observer) ‘gripping and heart wrenching’ (Mail on Sunday).

Her new memoir ‘One Body: A retrospective’ is an exploration of growing up and growing older, and how a year of cancer made her reassess the skin she is in. It is forthcoming in February 2022.

Catherine’s debut novel Truestory (Sandstone Press, 2015) was inspired by her experiences raising her autistic daughter Nina.

Catherine received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2013. In 2016 she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship.

She runs creative writing workshops and has mentored young writers for the Scottish Book Trust.

She is on twitter @cath_simpson13

Instagram @catherinesimpsonwriter

Here is her website: https://www.catherine-simpson.co.uk/home.html

Chitra Ramaswamy - The Garsdale Retreat

Guest, Wednesday Evening: Chitra Ramaswamy – author/journalist

Chitra Ramaswamy is a journalist and author. Her first book, Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy, published by Saraband in 2016, won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Polari Prize. She has contributed essays to Antlers of Water, Nasty Women, The Freedom Papers, The Bi:ble, and Message From The Skies. She writes mainly for The Guardian, is the restaurant critic for The Times (Scottish edition), a columnist for the National Trust for Scotland, and broadcasts for BBC Radio Scotland. She lives in Edinburgh with her partner, two young children and rescue dog, and has recently completed her second book, Homelands: The History of a Friendship, which will be published by Canongate in spring 2022.

PRICES

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

Single – En-suite room £860
Single – Shared bathroom £810
Shared Room (2 Beds) £760pp
Non-residential (inc. lunch and evening meal) £620

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.
INCLUDED
Accommodation Professional tutor and mid-week guest
All Meals Sheets & Towels
WHAT TO BRING
Boots/outdoor shoes/trainers suitable for walking on rough/wet paths.
A waterproof jacket or coat.
Torch
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!
START TIME

Please arrive between 3:00pm and 4:30pm on Monday 21st March 2022

Tea, cake and housekeeping notes 4.30pm

Introductory Workshop 5.30 – 6.30pm

Dinner 7.00pm

END TIME

After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 26th March 2022

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.

Courses

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 – 4.30pm. On this first day, tea, cake and housekeeping notes are at 4.30pm followed by an introductory/ice-breaking workshop 5.30 – 6.30pm. 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 9.30 – 11.00am and participants will have a daily 30 minute 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.

Memoir:Life Writing- Writing from Life