Catherine Simpson – Tutor
Tutor
John Hegley – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
15th – 20th March 2021
Course Date

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.

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).

Catherine’s debut novel Truestory (Sandstone Press, 2015) was inspired by her experiences raising her autistic daughter Nina. Catherine and Nina have used the book as a platform to campaign for Autism Acceptance. https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/daughter-autism-found-voice-after-11550953

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 she has mentored writers for the Scottish Book Trust and New Writing North.

She is on twitter @cath_simpson13

Instagram @catherinesimpsonwriter

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

John Hegley - The Garsdale Reterat

Guest, Wednesday evening: John Hegley – Poet

Course Related Biography

John Hegley’s father was of French origin and he explores this side of his family in his writings, along with his Gallic grandmother’s Folies Bergeres dancing history. Less exotic autobiographical aspects are also covered – the Monopoly games with his sister in his childhood bungalow in Luton.  During his time as resident poet at Keats House in London, he composed songs about the great poet’s own sibling goings on, something of which he looks forward to sharing at The Garsdale Retreat.

General Biography

John Hegley was born in North London in 1953 but soon moved with his family to Luton. Before attending Bradford University to study European Literature and Sociology, he worked as a bus conductor and as a civil servant. He began his performing career at Interaction (a tiny campus in North London which specialised in playful participatory theatre out-reach and goat-care), was discovered in 1983 by John Peel as part of the band The Popticians, and now enjoys a cult following among fans of subversive comedy. His surreal poetry is often heard on BBC radio and widely performed ‘live’, often set to music that is played by the poet himself. He has published ten books, including Glad to Wear Glasses (1990) and other titles of verse, prose and drama, several of which are illustrated with his drawings. He has also published a collection of photographs of potatoes.

Photo: Travis Elborough

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.
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 5:00pm on Monday 15th March 2021

Tea and cake 4.30pm

Introductory workshop 5.45 – 6.45pm

END TIME

After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 20th March 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.

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 – 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.

Memoir:Life Writing- Telling Your Story Course Retreat