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The location for our holiday is a very beautiful one, which got me thinking, perhaps we could frame the workshops around the sense of place.

The sea is only a mile from the house and is always a great source of inspiration to writers, whether poets, novelists or storywriters, so we’ll be reading some work with a maritime theme.

The area we’ll be staying in has a well-known literary tradition, the writing itself often deeply steeped in the sense of place – Daphne Du Maurier’s house is nearby and well worth a visit on an afternoon off, a huge cliff-top pile with sweeping views of an at times violent sea, the perfect setting for an imaginative work like Rebecca.

Jamaica Inn on bleak Bodmin Moor is also worth checking out if you don’t mind a bit of a drive.

But I’d like us to consider the sense of place in a broader sense too. Can the setting be a sort of character itself? What is a background and what happens when it’s brought to the fore? How is the process of writing affected by environment? And what happens when you try to describe your immediate surroundings? What about place and the sense of belonging? Is it possible to write about ‘Nature’ without sentimentalising or aggrandising it? And what about the question of scale? How do you write about a place without making it seem static or fixed? What about when it’s a moving landscape?

These are some questions we could think about in the context of our own writing and reading…

The workshops could be structured a bit like this, but we’ll see how they pan out based on what people want and the way things go in session –

Group discussion of suggested reading with theme for the session

Sharing extracts of people’s individual projects – could involve group feedback + suggestions for editing/ taking things forward

Tea and coffee break

Short in-session writing exercise and reading this out

This exercise can be expanded into a longer homework project to work on in the afternoon ready to share in the evening after dinner, or you can work on your individual projects – or you can skive off for the afternoon and just enjoy the holiday, up to you!

Please do bring along either current writing projects or the abandoned beginnings of stories or poems – the ones you’ve shelved but which somehow nag away at your conscience.


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