May 10 – 13, 2019

Four day retreat for novel writers at Asthall Manor, a Jacobean gabled manor house in the Windrush Valley, childhood home of the literary Mitford sisters, now owned by writer and artist Rosie Pearson. Includes editorial support as well as an afternoon workshop on structure and plot with award winning author of Apple Tree Yard  Louise Doughty, In addition, Selina Walker, publishing director at Penguin Random House  will talk about trends in the publishing world and how a best seller is sold. Caroline Wood, leading literary agent at Felicity Bryan Associates will also be on hand to talk about what agents are looking for and some tips on how to get out of the slush pile.

Aimed at writers who are working on a novel and would benefit from some expert tuition and editorial help alongside time and space to write. Suitable for writers at all stages of their writing.

This is a rare opportunity to stay in a special home steeped in literary history and an inspiring place to write and meet with other like minded writers. The legacy of the Mitfords can be seen and experienced throughout the house and grounds. The gardens surrounding the house are designed by renowned garden designers Julian and Isabel Bannerman. Asthall Manor is known as the home of on form, a biennial exhibition of stone sculpture. Our chef Fiona Cullinane will be cooking wholesome and delicious food with locally sourced produce, some of it from Asthall’s kitchen garden.

Each writer will have a one-on-one session with a BPA editor to work on any problems they may be experiencing. Writers are asked to submit their synopsis and a 3,000 word extract ahead of the retreat. We may also able to offer mentoring for those writers starting out with their novel if we know in advance.

Accommodation: single or double occupancy. 

Comfortable rooms with desks and views over the gardens. The largest rooms with ensuite bathrooms are always popular so do sign up as soon as possible. Please note that we do not arrange room sharing, it’s up to writers to find someone to share with.


Single Occupancy with ensuite bathroom- £950. 

Single Occupancy with shared bathroom – £650/£850 depending on room size

Double Occupancy in kingsize or twin bedroom(for couples or friends) – £1,200 for two writers.

Please check our terms and conditions before booking.


Asthall Manor

here’s what our writers had to say

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect from a BPA retreat?

An opportunity to stay in a privately owned historic home that is stylish and comfortable with a creative and inspiring atmosphere. Stunning gardens and extensive grounds with a swimming pool and tennis court. Delicious healthy food cooked by our chef with produce from the kitchen garden. Workshops and talks from renowned authors, agents and publishers. A one on one editorial session with a BPA editor as well as help and advice as needed. Evening readings and advice on submissions and pitching to agents.

Writers are free to work on their novels for most of the day with late afternoon and evening events. You can join in as much as you want.

How many writers and editors are there on the retreat?

The group is small – generally no more than ten writers.  We try to ensure a group of like minded writers at similar stages in their writing. There are two of us from BPA and our cook. We are always available for help and advice throughout your stay.

What are the rooms like?

Writers have a choice of rooms at different prices from huge en suites to smaller characterful single rooms with shared bathrooms. Sharers can be accommodated at a discounted rate.  All the bedrooms have their own desk and chair. Most rooms have lovely views over the gardens.

What’s included in the cost?

Boutique style accommodation, three meals a day plus afternoon tea, a one on one editorial session, tuition and talks from guest tutors. Alcohol is not included.

Need more information?

If you have any other questions about our retreats please fill out the form
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£300 deposit to secure your place. Contact us to check room availability. The balance is payable 8 weeks prior to the retreat start date.
Check our terms and conditions before booking.

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