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.
“Beautiful location. Idyllic, pastoral village setting in Oxfordshire. Delightful family home of the Mitfords, steeped in history and literary vibes – an inspiring place to write! I enjoyed the delicious organic and vegetarian options prepared by Fiona. Her cakes were out of this world! Emma and Sara were great hosts ”
“I loved every minute of the retreat! It was brilliantly organised and I haven’t felt so intellectually stimulated for ages. I loved meeting all the other aspiring writers and I feel we developed and special bond. I will definitely keep in touch with them all.”
“The retreat was absolutely brilliant. Emma you put together a very special package. Being able to spend time in a small group with an author was amazing. I feel I have met some delightful fellow writers too. I also want to mention the fabulous food cooked by Fi. Thank you for a wonderful week.”
“The retreat exceeded my highest expectations. Many congratulations on a most successful few days”.
“Asthall was fabulous. Very good contemplative atmosphere with lovely gardens to stroll in and muse on the next chapter! Fiona’s food was excellent. The two speakers were really well chosen…and the whole event very warm and supportive. Thank you Emma.”
here’s what our writers had to say
“Asthall was a fabulous choice of venue. Amazing rooms, a welcoming ambience and good to soak up the Mitford history. Lovely grounds too.”
“I absolutely loved everything about Asthall Manor. I thought it was a tremendous privilege to stay in such a gorgeous private home”
“Asthall was perfect with a wonderful Bohemian atmosphere”
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
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.