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Tutors and Tutoring at A Place to Write

I have been asked by several people about the tutors and the tutoring that we provide at A Place to Write. So, for this blog, I thought I would provide some answers.

Head and should image of author and tutor Emily Barroso
Emily Barroso

Firstly, there are two principal tutors who lead the tutoring at A Place to Write: myself and Emily Barroso.  To start with Emily: you can find out about her award-winning books and wide-ranging professional experience on her website at www.emilybarroso.com but for me – and all the guests who have benefitted from her one-to-ones over the past year - she is simply a fantastic tutor with a real appreciation of how different writers approach writing in different ways with different needs and different strengths and weaknesses. She is so quick to tune into each writer’s mindset and style, and adapts her communication and focus to each individual in order to provide maximum impact. She is our specialist on routes to market – whether that’s via self-publishing, an independent publisher or a traditional commercial publisher – and has particular expertise in the process of editing and developing a text for publication. Writers of all levels of experience and at very different stages of their writing journey have all found her input invaluable over the past year. We know you will too.


Head and shoulders image of tutor and PhD researcher Nic Brownlie
Nic Brownlie

Complementing Emily’s industry expertise, I specialise in the act of producing stories and other texts: a lifetime of studying and teaching literature in all its forms has taught me about both the imaginative act of creating a written work, and the physical structures and forms of storytelling in all its guises. During each tutored retreat I offer sessions developing plot sequences that engage and inspire; creating impactful dialogue that both reflects and develops character; exploring metaphor and simile through imaginative play that shapes powerful physical descriptions. Perhaps the truly unique part of my expertise, though, stems from my training – in the dim and distant past – as an actor. In particular, my in-depth practical studies of the contrasting approaches of theatre practitioners Konstantin Stanislavski and Bertolt Brecht. What have these to do with writing, you might ask? The answer is: everything. Consider, for example, how far you imagine your writing to be an expression of your personality, an extension of your personality or nothing whatsoever to do with your personality? And how accurate is your assessment?


Those questions form the start of a discussion which some writers – not all – are keen to have, and some writers – not all – need to have. Because accepting the relationship between the creative artist and their work is the most powerful and direct way to release inspiring levels of creativity. Of course, I do not expect or ask everyone I tutor at A Place to Write to consider their writing from this perspective - and the morning workshops avoid all reference to such matters. But if you want to dig a little deeper into the creative artist inside of you – at A Place to Write, in a one-to-one with me, you can.


View across bedroom with large kingsize bed on left, blue sofa on right and traditional sash bay window with a view of mountains across the Dee Valley. The bed has a blue throw across the end of it with white towels and a bathrobe neatly folded on top. The bay window has a writing desk with a chair in front of it, for a writer to be immersed in the beauty of the view while writing
One of our superior ensuite bedrooms for one

Aside from tutors and tutoring, as I recently posted on social media, A Place to Write is very different to other retreats in several significant ways: fully-furnished ensuite bedrooms for all guests, with no sharing unless you want to (and bring a friend!); all meals prepared for you, according to your own dietary requirements and desires, so that you can focus on writing throughout; our original candlelit readings which have to be experienced to be appreciated; not one, not two, but THREE 30-minute one-to-ones available for all writers on a Tutored retreat. In addition, guests over the past year have repeatedly discussed the friendly, relaxed, unstuffy atmosphere at our retreats too – apparently it’s another point of difference. Perhaps, alongside all this, it’s time the unique tutoring team of Emily and myself should be added to that growing list of USPs at A Place to Write.


We look forward to welcoming you (back?) this year.

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