October 14 – 18, 2019

Five day tutored retreat for novel writers at Templeton House in Kintbury, Berkshire. Includes workshops, Q and A sessions and evening readings with award winning novelists Jill Dawson and Alice Jolly. There will also be a visit from Charlotte Ledger, editorial director at HarperCollins UK. The price includes accommodation, tuition and three tasty and healthy meals a day provided by our own chef with locally sourced produce.

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.

Jill Dawson will give an afternoon workshop on “Planning your novel” in which she shares her novel writing method. She will cover character, themes, ideas, research, writing time, narrative structure and editing.

Alice Jolly will give a workshop on the tricky subject of “Voice and Point of View”. She will also talk about her experience of being traditionally published as well as by indie publisher Unbound.

Charlotte Ledger will talk about the art of commissioning debut writers as well as opportunities for new writers with HarperCollins’ new digital publishing division, One More Chapter.

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 writers starting out with their novel if we know in advance.

Accommodation: single or double occupancy.
Stylish and comfortable rooms. Please note that we do not arrange room sharing, it’s up to writers to find someone to share with.

Kintbury is on the River Kennet between Newbury and Marlborough. An hour by train from Paddington this charming village has its own train station (and pub). Templeton House is located outside the village in a quiet and beautiful spot with far reaching views over parkland. The house has extensive gardens and a tennis court. There is a yoga studio close by for writers that might want to practice during their stay.

Cost: all rooms are priced differently
Single Occupancy with ensuite bathroom- from £1,200
Single Occupancy with shared bathroom (two rooms sharing) – from £850 to £1,200
Double Occupancy in kingsize or twin bedroom (for couples or friends) – £1,600 for two writers.

Get in touch to check room availability and to check if the retreat is right for you.

Please review our terms and conditions before booking.


Charlotte Ledger will talk to writers at Blue Pencil Agency's October retreat at Grendon Court

Editorial Director at HarperCollins UK

Editorial Director at HarperCollins UK, Charlotte acquires for the Harper Fiction list and runs the new digital publishing division, One More Chapter. She cut her teeth in commercial fiction at romance giants Mills & Boon, before moving across to set up HarperImpulse in 2013. Charlotte works on authors across commercial women’s fiction and crime and…

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Alice Jolly

Novelist and Playwright

Novelist and playwright Alice Jolly’s 2015 memoir Dead Babies and Seaside Towns won the Pen Ackerley Prize and one of her short stories won the 2014 VS Pritchett Memorial Prize, awarded by The Royal Society of Literature.  She has also published two novels with Simon & Schuster and four of her plays have been produced by…

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author Jill Dawson

Author and Mentor

Jill Dawson’s new novel The Language of Birds inspired by the nanny at the centre of the Lord Lucan case was published by Sceptre in April.  She is the author of ten novels including The Crime Writer (which won the East Anglian Book of the year) Fred & Edie (short-listed for The Whitbread and Orange Prize) and Watch Me Disappear (long-listed for the Orange Prize).…

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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. 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

£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.

Retreats Deposit 2019

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