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Swanwick
  • Hello all

    I was wondering if any of the TB crew have experience of the Swanwick summer writing programme. I am pondering signing up for it but, although it does not appear to be the most expensive writing retreat/course available, I am somewhat uncomfortable to spend £500-£600 on it without good reason as that sum would allow me to take my wife away for a few days somewhere nice. (And it's our 30th in September, too)
    .
    Wife is happy for me to go but, it seems a lot just for me, although she has suggest it could be a 50th present for me.
    Any views/reports/experiences on Swanwick welcomed.

    G
  • A couple of the TB's who attend will be able to reassure you.

    I went 15 years ago and it is worth it.
  • LizLiz
    I'd go for an Arvon, which I've heard amazing reports about. But I don't know how much they are!
  • Arvon are I think more expensive at £700-800.

    I haven't been to either, but my feeling is that Arvon is more a writing course and Swanwick is more a conference, though with learning elements. So it depends what you want to get out of them.

    My mum went on an Arvon poetry course with Roger McGough many years ago and adored it.
  • LizLiz
    You get contacts and all sorts from Arvon, and they are held usually in lovely places.
  • heather said:

    Arvon are I think more expensive at £700-800.

    I haven't been to either, but my feeling is that Arvon is more a writing course and Swanwick is more a conference, though with learning elements. So it depends what you want to get out of them.

    My mum went on an Arvon poetry course with Roger McGough many years ago and adored it.



    Funnily enough, in 1984, in my final year at school, my English master put me down for an Arvon course.

    I attended it and came away with a girlfriend. Four years later, to the exact day, we wed. And it is our 30th anniversary this September.
  • LizLiz
    It's a sign!
  • Heather that sounds like the one a poet friend of mine also went to at Arvon.

  • LizLiz
    Roger McGough does Arvon every year I think. I saw him in France at a retreat just after he'd done one last year.
  • I think montholon goes to Swanwick quite regularly. Also mutley, ceka and nefertari have all been. Trouble is - none of them are regular talkback contributors these days, so I don't know if they'll see this thread and respond to your question, Kramer.
  • Hello I do still drop in now and then!
    Yes been to Swanwick 5 times, 3 of which I won my way to! Two poetry firsts ( 2008, 2011and a children's story first 2009 ( I also won poetry in 2014 but that year they changed the prizes so no free week there but a free years subs to WM and a WM course) So I would say try and win your way there! Have a look at the comps section on their site.
    I paid to go last time I went 2 years ago and I still love it. I have made so many friends there and the courses, talks, work shops, have really improved over the years and once you have been you will be hooked! They also do one-to-ones now, again look at the site for details. I'm hoping to go again this year but money is tight so waiting to see how much I get from ALCS this year! That will help. So all in all I say a very worthwhile experience. And I will be trying to win my way there again but hope to go either way. Theme is Bonding this year, so get writing! Closes April.
  • Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

    As yet, I am still undecided about Swanwick and Arvon (I requested a brochure from them and they have not replied to my email almost one week later, so that does not bode well).

    I am currently investigating, through the power of the www-worldwide-interwebnet, other courses and events. No decision yet, though.

    Thanks again.
  • If you're looking further afield, Kramer, you might want to consider a workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival. I did one a couple of years ago. The workshops run in the mornings and there are lots of other events to attend. It was really enjoyable.

    http://westcorkmusic.ie/literaryfestival/