By Emily Coleman, Block 4
During the Easter break, I was part of a group of students who – along with Head of English David Anson and Lucy McIlwraith – visited The Hurst, playwright John Osborne’s former home in Shropshire, for a creative writing residential course with Arvon.
The trip was an enjoyable experience for us all. We spent the mornings doing writing workshops with the tutors, writers Chris Wakling and Cecilia Knapp. In the workshops we would do free writes, learn about different styles of poetry and try them, as well as working on short stories with Chris. In Cecilia’s workshops, some of the kinds of poems we tried were poems with stanzas that were haikus and golden shovel poems as well as responding to different prompts that she gave us. For our short stories with Chris, we would write parts of it in workshops, such as introductions and dialogue, with Chris giving us advice along the way. Both the tutors were really encouraging and we all felt increasing confidence during the week to share our work.
We had lots of free time in the afternoons that we spent continuing our work from the mornings and having tutorials with each of the tutors, which was a great opportunity to get feedback on what we had been doing. We all took turns cooking the dinner for everyone and getting slightly competitive about our napkin origami between the groups. For our first evening, we played a variety of games together, such as the hat game and wink murder. The next two evenings were readings from the tutors and then a guest reader, Melody Razak, read from her book Moth. On our final evening we gave a reading of work we had produced on the trip, which we were all nervous about, but we ended up having fun.
The trip gave me a chance to develop my writing skills as well as my confidence when sharing my work. It was a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere to learn and grow as writers.