1 - 8 June 2024
Novel Intensive & Writing Retreat
Camós (Catalonia), Spain
A 7-day writing retreat near the Pyrenees with workshops, tutorials and evening sessions to showcase your work.
19 - 26 October 2024
Writing Retreat in Mostar
Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina
I am considering hosting a writer’s retreat from 19 - 26 October 2024 in the Ottoman jewel of Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina. This will be a bijoux course with a maximum number of 8 students. There will be an optional field trip to an historic Sufi monastery, a Herzegovinan winery and the old town of Počitelj. Flag your interest by sending an email here.
Wondering what special gift you might give to someone who writes or wants to? Why not give a place on one of our upcoming writing courses? There are a wide variety of workshops for all levels of ability, from beginners to published authors.
Go to the Gift Certificates page to see what you need to do to delight that special writer in your life.
In September 2023 Matador Books published Pat Holden’s first novel, Paradise and Pink Plastic Shoes. A reviewer has called it "a vivid, startling and often moving depiction of Freya's struggle to come to terms with life in the heart of Africa". I’m especially proud as she told me this book had its gestation on one of my La Torre courses in Spain! Huge congratulations to her!
White Hyena is a novel by Fra von Massow about a foreign aid worker living in Addis Ababa, and a young child shepherd. Set during the 1980s famine in Ethiopia, it is a moving narrative about Ashebir and Izzie. Congratulation to Fra for revealing this intriguing tale of hope in a time of crisis.
I'm delighted to report that Sue Ruben won the Evening Standard 2022 Story Competition. Her win entitled her to be mentored for a year with Jessica Loveland, Head of New Writing at the BBC, and for her story to be published in the Evening Standard. Scroll down the competition page to listen to Sue reading her winning entry, “Dr Dandruff and Me”.
Narelle Hill was long listed for the 2022 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award for her novel, Dark Seeds. This prestigious biennial prize is presented to an emerging West Australian writer for their first full-length, unpublished work of fiction or narrative non-fiction. Big congrats to you, Narelle!
David Wilson’s second book, My World Café, is hot off the press. The distinguished food writer, Elizabeth Luard, said of it, “Lovely stuff from the author’s swag-bag: traveller’s tales and gorgeous drawings, plus liver and bacon. What more could anyone want?” Copies can be bought here.
In December 2022 Anne’s short story, "The speed of dark" was chosen as one of the 12 stories published in Best Women’s Short Fiction 2022 by Mslexia Magazine. This anthology has 24 extraordinary narratives: 12 short stories and 12 flash fictions. It recognises the amazing writing that rose to the top of the judges' 'yes' pile. This exciting anthology by writers from around the world can be purchased here.
In May 2021 Anne received news that her short story, "The House of Wild Beasts" was shortlisted for The Society of Authors' prestigious ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award. It was a great honour that, hopefully, bodes well for her novel-in-progress, The Witness from Salamanca, from which the story was excerpted. Congratulations to all writers on the shortlist!
For someone looking to write, I heartily recommend Elise Valmorbida's The Happy Writing Book. It's for all writers—established, beginners or wannabes still dreaming of picking up a pen. Great advice is to be had between its covers.
"When I am working on a book or story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day you hit it again."
"I think that your [writing toolbox] should have at least four [levels] . . . Common tools go on top. The commonest of all, the bread of writing, is vocabulary . . . You'll also want grammar on the top shelf of your toolbox . . . On the layer beneath go . . . elements of style, but as we move along, you'd do well to remember that we are also talking about magic."
Anne Aylor is a professional writer and teacher who has had short stories and poems published by the Arts Council of Great Britain, Oxford University Press, The Literary Review, London Magazine and Stand Magazine.
Her first novel, No Angel Hotel, was republished in 2012 in a revised edition. Her second novel, The Double Happiness Company, was published in 2011. She is 90,000 words into her third and is working on a fourth.
A number of her stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio. In 2008 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and in 2011 for the Fish Short Story Prize. In 2014 she was the winner of the Historical Novel Society Short Story Award.
Her stage play, Children of the Dust, won a playwrighting competition and was co-produced by the Soho Theatre and Theatre Warehouse, Croydon.
She worked in post-war Bosnia where she practised Chinese medicine and taught ballet. She taught ballet at Morley College in London and is a member of PEN and 26. In 2007 she was a shortlist judge for the story competition held by the Wimbledon Book Fest and in 2011 she was the judge in the Peter Barry Short Story Competition.
Anne received the Historical Novel Society International Short Story Award 2014. Her winning story, “The House of Wild Beasts", was adapted from her novel-in-progress about the Spanish Civil War.