I Am Back from Swanwick

Go Away I'm writing 002I was sooo tired when I got back, yesterday, that ‘Him Indoors’ (who should actually be renamed ‘Him Outdoors’, as he spends so much time on the golf course), took one look at me and said, “Hmm, you’re pale.” (not pale and interesting, just kn*ckered!)

I didn’t even trip the light fantastic or have lots of late nights (my writing buddy Sally can confirm – she was there!) but Swanwick is a ‘full on’ experience – from all the workshops, to the chatter over meals and coffee and drinks in the bar (and there were 240 people there, so there’s always someone to talk to!) and then of course, there’s all that EATING – that’s hard work, believe me! (3 cooked meals a day and cake with tea in the afternoons too).

I did enjoy it but whether I will return and whether the infamous ‘Swanwick magic’ has worked its spell on me, remains to be seen…!

A definite highlight of the holiday was listening to Shirley Blair, fiction editor of People’s Friend, who gave an after-dinner talk and then lead two workshops the following day. I even managed to introduce myself to her (not in a creepy stalker way, honestly! I happened to be coming back from my car and she’d been walking around the lake and our ‘paths met’ so it seemed a bit rude – and silly – not to say hello). Here are her ‘impressions from Swanwick.’

Why the (blurry) photo of the bag? Well, I took it to Swanwick to carry my swag around in (ie: notebook and pen!) and soooo many people commented on it and asked where I’d got it and were generally envious, that I wished I’d bought 10 to sell at Swanwick – I could have made a bit of money. But actually, if you want to buy one then you can get them here! And they’re only £4 (plus postage)! Bargain!

I met a lovely lady and writing tutor – Bead Roberts – at Swanwick (another highlight!) and I thought I would tell you about the weekend course she’s running in Leeds next month (26th – 28th September).

Unfortunately, time and money has run out for me to attend any more writing courses this year, otherwise I would be there, definitely as I’m sure it will be very good. Although the title is ‘Writing for Pleasure & Profit’ it is a short story course, with the emphasis on writing commercial women’s fiction.

In the flyer that I have it states that “[Bead’s] workshops are fun with an emphasis on hard work and a willingness to learn. Her course includes the offer of a free critique of any short story begun on the course and submitted to her within 3 months.”

There are more details on the ‘Relax & Write’ website (which is also the ‘Malaga Workshops’ website. You might end up booking yourself a holiday in Spain!) here.

And now I have to get on with my cooking and preparing for arrival of guests tomorrow…eeek!

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14 Responses to I Am Back from Swanwick

  1. Shirley Cook says:

    Hiow come we didn’t get to chat? Oh well next time.

  2. Shirley Cook says:

    well we did sort of over breakfast one day but I found it hard chatting, so much noise in there with all the discussions, good though. I have come back with lots if ideas, my best Swanwick so far.

    • Shirley, yes, I was going to say, we were at the same breakfast table one day but as you say, it was pretty noisy in there! Nice to see you though – if only briefly! And I’m glad you had a good time.

  3. Tracy Fells says:

    Envious that you got to say hello to Shirley Blair, Helen, as she always seems so friendly in her emails. I’d love to have met her. Sorry, should have warned you to diet for several weeks in advance of Swanwick: 3 meals a day (several with 2-3 courses) plus cake, plus wine … At least now you can work it off by walking Bonnie!

  4. Yes, have already been out for a good walk this morning, Tracy! (although very annoyed to see that they’ve put cows back in our favourite field AGAIN! We risked it and skirted around the edge, out of their sight but it’s not usually possible to do that as they tend to spread themselves all over the field).

  5. Yes, I agree Shirley Blair was the definite high spot of the week and I think they’ll be inundated with stories now (including by me!)

  6. rosgemmell says:

    After my one and only visit to Swanwick some years ago, I’ve never ventured back so far – partly because I take ages to recover from even a weekend writers’ conference! I know several people who go every year, however, and they love it all. Shirley was at our Scottish conference in March this year where I got the chance to chat with her for a short time – lovely lady.

  7. Glad you enjoyed the week, I went on the Sunday as a day visitor, the highlight most definitely the talk given by Shirley. I also enjoyed Novel Editing with David Hough, and Memoir with Alison Chisholm, and I thought the workshops were a lot better this year. Great buzz about the place too!

    It bust my diet though, I was stuffed when I left, two puddings, one at each meal and a cake too hard for me to resist.

  8. Wendy Clarke says:

    Welcome back, Helen. I was wondering how you got on – am I the only person never to have gone to Swanwick? I they had a writers conference for five people I might go! Glad you had a good time.

  9. Mary Gibson says:

    I visited Swanwick four years ago but have not been able to go back since, maybe one day I will return. I have attended several of Bead Roberts short story writing courses and workshops at Writing School Leicester and have found her to be an inspirational and supportive tutor.

    • Mary
      Thanks for your comment. I’ve not attended any of Bead’s courses (yet!) but a friend of mine said the same as you. I don’t think she teaches in Leicester any more but I know that she does workshops for writers’ groups and of course, she’s leading that weekend workshop in Leeds next month.

  10. Anand says:

    Applies to artists too.

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