Carole Bromley – Tutor
John Hegley – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
28th October – 2nd November 2024
Course Date

Welcoming new and experienced children’s poets, this course will appeal to those keen to learn more about writing for children of all ages as well as those who would benefit from a unique opportunity to share five days of exercises, an individual tutorial and manuscript workshops within a small, friendly, supportive group.

We will also discuss opportunities for publication and strategies for maximising your chances of having your work read by children and young people.

At the end of the week you will go away with a fistful of new poems and a renewed enthusiasm for the exacting but rewarding skill of getting children enthusiastic about poetry. Above all, it will be fun!

Carole Bromley - The Garsdale Retreat

Tutor: Carole Bromley – Poet

Carole Bromley has published two pamphlets, Unscheduled Halt (2004) and Skylight (2009) and three collections with Smith/Doorstop: A Guided Tour of the Ice House (2011), The Stonegate Devil (2015) and a children’s collection Blast Off (2017). Her collection with Valley Press, The Peregrine Falcons of York Minster came out in 2020 and a pamphlet with Calder Valley Poetry, Sodium 136 in 2019. As well as twice being a winner in the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet competition, Carole has won a number of prizes, including the Bridport Prize, the Hamish Canham Award, The Yorkshire Open, Torbay, Poetry Space, Bronte Society Literary Prize and Borderline competitions. She has been published in The Poetry Review, Poetry News, The North, Magma, Mslexia, The Rialto, Strix, Coast to Coast to Coast, Butcher’s Dog, Poetry Wales, Alchemy Spoon and Finished Creatures.

Carole was an Arvon/Jerwood mentee in 2010 and has an MPhil in Writing from Glamorgan. She has taught in secondary schools, a sixth form college and at York University.  She has performed at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and run workshops at Aldeburgh and at the Bridlington and York Poetry Festivals. She has performed her children’s poems at the Imagine Festival in South Bank, the Verve Festival and Ripon Festival and also in schools both locally and nationally.

Since starting to write poems for children about ten years ago she has had poems in magazines such as Northern Gravy, The Caterpillar, Tyger, Tyger, Paperbound, Little Thoughts Press, The Toy, Paper Lanterns and Dirigible Balloon as well as in her collection, Blast Off! Also in anthologies such as Let in the Stars (MMU, 2014), A Poem for every Night of the Year (MacMillan 2016), The Head that wears a Crown (Emma Press 2018), A Poem for every Summer Day (MacMillan 2021), The Best Ever Book of Funny Poems (2021), Poems for 8 Year Olds ( MacMillan 2022), Chasing Clouds (Dirigible Balloon, 2022), Gods and Monsters (MacMillan 2023) and A Whale of a Time (Nosy Crow, 2023)

In 2022 Carole won the Caterpillar Prize for Poems for Children and she has also had a poem, ‘Goldilocks’ performed at the CLiPPA Awards at the National Theatre.

Her website is

John Hegley

Guest, Wednesday evening: John Hegley – Poet

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.

John Hegley has worked in Childrens’ theatre with Interaction (Camden, London) and Soapbox Theatre (Newham, London)). He has had 3 books for children published: Stanley’s Stick, illustrated by Neal Layton for 3 to 6-year-olds, My Dog is a Carrot and I Am A Poetato for 7 to 10-year-olds.

In 2019 he was awarded Arts Council of England funding to pursue an extensive project with junior school pupils, alongside four other poets, creating work inspired by paintings in local art galleries in the town and cities in which he has lived: London, Luton, Bradford and Bristol.

Photo: Suzi Corker

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

Single – En-suite room £990
Single – Shared bathrooms £940
Shared Room (2 Beds) £890pp – single supplement £50

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.
Accommodation Professional tutor and mid-week guest
All Meals Sheets & Towels
Boots/outdoor shoes/trainers suitable for walking on rough/wet paths.
A waterproof jacket or coat.
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. We do now have a card reader!

Please arrive between 3:00pm and 4:30pm on Monday 28th October 2024

Tea, cake and housekeeping notes 4.30pm

Introductory Workshop 5.30 – 6.30pm

Dinner 7.00pm


After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 2nd November 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).

Course Structure

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

7.00pm: Dinner

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.

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 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, 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.

Poetry- Writing Poetry for Children