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Another retreat, another step forward: developing our writing retreats in 2024

Trees and gate in foreground, looking out over the chimneys on the rooftops of A Place to Write, with hills and the sun setting in the distance
A Place to Write at Sunset

Last week at A Place to Write we held yet another retreat and took another step forward! Our latest gathering was for our first tutored event. To start us off with a zing, the wonderful Emily Barroso provided an extended question and answer session, focused on getting published and associated issues, followed by one-to-ones with our writers. Emily's work was supported and developed by structured writing workshops from the in-house team each morning, alongside other feedback and general support for our brilliant writers. In return, the feedback on our retreat that we received from those writers was better than ever, with David - a published author from Brighton, working on his third novel - declaring 'I have been on a number of other writing retreats and this surpassed those'. Meanwhile Caroline, from Cornwall, was delighted with her time invested in exploring initial ideas for a memoir combining fact and fiction: '[The retreat] surpassed my (high!) expectations in every way'.

But while it is always satisfying to see writer's embracing our hospitality and making excellent use of our places and spaces to write, it is also exciting to explore ways in which developing our writing retreats can make our unique offer even more rewarding for all involved. With that in mind, we have today re-branded our late March retreat as a retreat specifically for Beginners: whether someone is thinking about writing, has just started writing, or has no idea where to begin writing... this retreat will provide them with the resources, tutoring, support and hospitality they need to get writing successfully - along with those all important inspiring places in which to write.

Shakespeare seated in the middle of the image, facing front. He is writing in a book and is surrounded by candles in candlesticks, which illuminate the scene.
Poster Image for Nic's Talks on Candlelight

And there's more! I am personally taking another step forward as I approach the time when I will be writing up and submitting my doctoral thesis for examination. As part of the final phase of research I am undertaking a series of talks and presentations on the topic of candlelight, with demonstrations and experiments to accompany each event. The first of these - 'Shakespeare and the Magic of Candlelight' - takes place at St Leonard's Church in Flamstead (Hertfordshire) on 31st January 2024. This open talk will be the first step in developing our writing retreats in a novel direction: a programme of unique Shakespeare gatherings, for enthusiasts from all backgrounds, throughout 2024. These retreats will explore a specific play text over 3 days and will incorporate a varied and entertaining programme: play-readings with discussions and debates around the set-text; talks and workshops on a variety of related subjects (from verse-speaking to theatre history to, of course, candlelight!); and opportunities to re-write, direct, rehearse and even perform extracts or speeches from the set play in particular or Shakespeare's canon in general. No academic knowledge of Shakespeare will be required - no knowledge of the play itself is even necessary - so if you know anyone who might be interested in this unique offering, tell them to watch this space.

And, in this way, the excitement here at a Place to Write continues. We're immensely looking forward to 2024 and the developments it will bring, and we hope many more writers, including you, will be able to join us for an inspiring retreat or two in the stunning Dee Valley. A very warm welcome awaits you!

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