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17 Aug 2011

Here I Am, Back from Swanwick

And it has to be said that I packed a lot in. I ran a workshop, a two-part ‘short course’ and seven one-to-one sessions, all in the space of not much more than 24 hours. Walking into a room where I was expecting to address 25 people and finding something nearer 70 was a bit of a shock, but apart from that it was great fun.

Of all the places at which I’ve spoken, it is probably the best organised, so as a newcomer you are never left wondering where you should be when. It’s also a gorgeous setting – I went for a walk round the ‘lake’ (a slightly grandiose name for it) first thing in the morning and on my way back across the lawn I spotted a hare, which doesn’t happen often in my part of London, however early you get up. A number of the ‘delegates’ (as Swanwick respectfully calls the punters) remarked on what a wonderful atmosphere it was in which to write – you can go to classes if you want, or not, and even if you do go to most things there is plenty of scheduled down time when you can just write. There are even guided relaxation sessions for those who want them or, if you are more energetic than that, the chance to party half the night away.

This year there were classes on everything from a beginner’s guide to poetry to writing horror fiction, from non-fiction research to MS Office for writers, so you can have a go at something you’ve never tried before, polish your skills in something you have tried or – if you choose to come and listen to me – edit your own work and improve your chances of getting an agent to read it.

Details of next year’s bash will be up on the website shortly: www.swanwickwritersschool.co.uk and I can thoroughly recommend it, whether I am invited back or not.

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