‘There are no insignificant lives, only inadequate ways of looking at them.’ Michael Cunningham
Memoir writing is the art of writing your own story in your own voice. In this course you will learn techniques to access your stories and memories, to get them on the page, and to shape and focus them for maximum impact. We will also cover bringing characters alive on the page, finding your own voice and creating a sense of time and place in your writing.
Everyone’s life experiences are unique and deserve to be told. Join us to write your own story.
Suitable for writers of any level of experience, or none.
Tutor: Catherine Simpson – Writer
Catherine Simpson has published two memoirs: When I Had a Little Sister, about the death by suicide of her sister, Tricia, and One Body about growing up and growing older in a woman’s body. One Body was shortlisted for the Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2022, in the Scottish National Book Awards. Catherine has also published a novel Truestory inspired by raising her autistic daughter Nina. In 2021 Catherine wrote and narrated a dramatic monologue on Radio 4 called ‘Driving Dad to the Old Folks Home’ which was a Radio 4 ‘Pick of the Week’. The audio version of One Body was selected for World Book Night 2023.
Guest, Wednesday evening: Adam Farrer – writer/lecturer/editor
Adam Farrar is a writer, lecturer and editor based in Manchester. He has performed at a number of festivals and events including Manchester Literature Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Ilkley Literature Festival and the Leeds Lit Fest.
His essays have been featured in numerous publications, including The Guardian, Lunate, Hinterland and Test Signal (Bloomsbury/Dead Ink, 2021), and his first book, Cold Fish Soup (Saraband, 2022), a memoir in essays about the Yorkshire coast, won the NorthBound Book Award at the 2021 Northern Writers’ Awards.
He edits the creative non-fiction journal The Real Story and has lectured in memoir and life writing at the University of Lancaster.
|PRICES||Fee includes all day and evening tutored workshop sessions, readings, accommodation and full board (not including alcohol).
Single – En-suite room £990
|TO BOOK||£150 deposit payable on booking by bank transfer, PayPal or cheque, to secure place. Balance due six 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 18th March 2024
Tea, cake and housekeeping notes 4.30pm
Introductory Workshop 5.30 – 6.30pm
After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 23rd March 2024
|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 (Tutored and Untutored Retreats – see below)
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 participants, tutors and the landscape itself.
All courses start on Monday afternoon, arrival time 3.00 – 4.30pm.
4.30pm – Housekeeping information, tea and cake
5.30 – 6.30pm – Introductory workshop
6.30pm – Complimentary welcome drink
7.00pm – Dinner
All courses end after breakfast on Saturday (10.00am).
Although there will be slight variations, according to the type of course (see below), participants can generally expect the following outline:
8.00 – 9.00am: Breakfast
9.30 – 11.00am: First workshop – Participants explore particular aspects of the chosen genre and take part in writing exercises to further their understanding and expertise. All participants 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, read or work on individual writing projects.
4.30pm: Tea and cake
5.30 – 6.30pm: Third workshop
All participants on a course have one individual tutorial of 30 minutes with the tutor in the course of the week. These will take place in the afternoons.
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 writing game or a poetry/music performance from Hamish and Rebecca. On Friday, there is a shared reading of ‘work-in-progress’ 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 participants.
These follow the same basic structure as above except there is only one workshop in the morning 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, there are optional events such as writing games and poetry/music performances from Hamish and Rebecca. Participation in such events is entirely voluntary and people are free to continue with their writing in the evenings if they prefer. However, we do like to end the week on Friday evening with a shared reading of work-in-progress as a celebration of the week’s writing.