Nine writers joined Sara and Emma for our Autumn retreat. We returned to beautiful Asthall Manor, childhood home of the Mitford sisters, where the sun shone and it felt more like summer than Autumn. We were wonderfully looked after by our cook Fiona Cullinane.
Writers worked on their novels during the week with one on one sessions with Sara and Emma. On Tuesday afternoon author Claire Fuller (Bitter Orange, Swimming Lessons, My Endless Numbered Days) talked to the group about getting published and marketing yourself as a writer. She answered questions and gave suggestions for improving writing technique. In particular, how to handle multi POVs, timelines and ways to up narrative tension. After dinner she read a very atmospheric extract from Bitter Orange.
On Wednesday afternoon Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and award winning author Tessa Hadley (Bad Dreams, The Past, Clever Girl, The Master Bedroom, Everything Will Be Alright, Accidents in the Home ) gave a creative writing workshop in the stunning ballroom with bits and pieces from the garden stimulating our writers to come up with a beautifully descriptive short story. After dinner Tessa read her latest short story Cecilia Awakened in the September issue of New Yorker magazine. She has had 25 short stories published in the magazine!