Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The only way forward is to improve

And the best way to do this is through courses. It’s a precious amount of time with like-minded, creative and driven individuals who spark ideas and listen to you rant about scenes in your current favourite novel or stanzas and imagery from your favourite poet.

Last year I spent a fantastic week in Torrox pueblo, Malaga, with the delightful Mario Petrucci and the very honest Sue Hubbard. I learnt more in that week than I’d have learnt in years trundling along alone. I’ve heard that Writer’s Inc won’t be able to continue in Spain this year due to funding being pulled – I also have it on good authority they’ve put in a good case so let’s hope they get their wish…it would be a shame if their expertise was lost in this way.

I was also lucky enough to go to the 2007 Cambridge WordFest and listen to talents such as A.L. Kennedy, Tony Harrison, and Sarah Waters read, and attend workshops by a charming bunch; Ruth Padel, Chris Hamilton-Emery and Tobias Hill. So, this year I’m determined to learn more than ever.

I’m amazed how many courses there are out there to choose from, and so I’ve been spending this month doing some in-depth homework. So how do you choose? Easy! Consider the many factors in your life that can’t be ignored and work around them. We all have commitments at work and home, health issues, limited time to travel, and a limited supply of money…these have to factor in. Then consider your interests, abilities, dedication levels and the course content. And don’t forget the tutor; if you don’t like their style, what would you learn?

In my case, I’m off to Australia for three weeks in April so I’m limited to 11 days holiday. Then there’s where I live and the cost of flights as well as the course…but there’s many out there that will suit; here’s what I’ve found…

I’m particularly excited by Arvon’s Writing and New Media course at Lumb Bank in November, with Chris Meade and Kate Pullinger. I’m booking it tomorrow before I procrastinate too much and the places disappear! I’m so internet based it would be amazing to create something new and fresh, like the course description suggests. I’m excited that I’ll learn new skills and take them away to improve upon what I do, whilst being at the cutting edge of literature. Love it or loath it, technology is here to stay and leading the way. Do we write with quills or chalk any more?

Of course, I can’t wait that long however! I’ve have fit in two weekends near where I live; In The Write Light in Tarifa. The first is an all encompassing creative writing weekend with Alan Jude Moore, and the second is with Paul Perry. These should feed the imagination, and allow me to take a step outside of where I live; Andalucia is stunning but I live here so the daily grind factors in. Again, the tutors are top notch and the experience will be rich – all within an hour of my home. All booked and paid for by Saturday. What a great feeling.


Anonymous said...

Tony Harrison has not been hyper-linked, typical!

Elizabeth Rose said...

apologies - is hyperlinked now. He´s one of my favourite poets ever. when i saw him read in Cambridge, he was just spectacular.