Everyone has a book in them’. Do we? Perhaps it’s true when we write from our own experience. Whether it’s a single episode from your life to craft into an essay, or a whole family history that’s itching at your writing hand, this course will help you find the extraordinary in the authentic and write it to read like fiction.
You will hone your artistry in storytelling: narrative voice, shape and structure, pacing and learn how to draw a reader into your story.
Tutor: Linda Cracknell – Writer
Linda Cracknell writes in different forms (Memoir, 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/memoir 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, was published by Taproot Press, in hardback and due to popular demand has now been reprinted in paperback.
She subscribes to Susan Sontag’s advice to writers: ‘Love words, agonise over sentences and pay attention to the world.’
Guest, Wednesday evening: Sally Magnusson – Author/Broadcaster
Sally Magnusson is a writer and broadcaster based in Glasgow, where she presents the BBC news. Her 2014 memoir about her mother, Where Memories Go: Why dementia changes everything, became a Sunday Times bestseller and has been credited with helping to drive change in our treatment of this widespread brain condition. In 2013 she founded the music and dementia charity Playlist for Life.
Her 2018 fictional debut, The Sealwoman’s Gift, based on the true story of a 17th century Algerian pirate raid on Iceland, was shortlisted for six literary awards. Her second, The Ninth Child, published in 2020, blends Victorian social history with ancient folklore in the Scottish Trossachs. Her third novel is out in 2023.
Fee includes all day and evening tutored workshop sessions, readings, accommodation and full board (not including alcohol).
Single – En-suite room £860
|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.
|WHAT TO BRING||
Please arrive between 3:00pm and 4:30pm on Monday 6th June 2022
Tea, cake and housekeeping notes 4.30pm
Introductory Workshop 5.30 – 6.30pm
After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 11th June 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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.