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Reading to write: How does other text inspire us?

When you’re juggling a number of part-time jobs (it’s better not to count), and a couple of projects whilst keeping your writing going – time is precious. But we both know that if you’re not working at improving your skills, you’re going nowhere and you’re bound to get there pretty fast. That is why I promised myself that this year I would go on a writing retreat. I searched high and low for one that suited my career/passion path and that also coincided with a time when I could afford to get away for a short while. The Garsdale Retreat, and in particular the course I chose titled Reading to write: How does other text inspire us? hit all the right spots. Here’s why:

The Garsdale Retreat is a creative writing centre in the remote and beautiful setting of The Yorkshire Dales.

“This course is for poets committed to exploring how intertextual relationships open up possibilities for the development of their own writing. We will be using exercises and literary texts to explore the ways in which contemporary, historical and / or mythological literature can influence writing in terms of: form, voice, character, lyric and the narrative. The aim is to produce a considerable amount of drafts and ignite unusual sources of inspiration.”

The course is intense and focused. It is tutored by Malika Booker (more about Malika below), whose work and initiatives I admire. There will also be a guest comedy poet Kate Fox. One of the cherries on the cake (that include an open mic night!) is the production of an anthology of writing produced in the week by writers attending this course.

I await this retreat with excitement and trepidation – it’s going to be an intense time with no excuses but to write, learn, write, focus, and write!

Malika Booker is an international writer whose work is steeped in anthropological research methodology and rooted in storytelling. Her writing spans poetry, theatre, monologue, installation, and education. Clients and organisations she has worked with include Arts Council England, BBC, British Council, Wellcome Trust, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Arvon, and Hampton Court Palace.

This project is supported by Arts Council Malta – Professional Development Grant

Miriam Calleja

Author Miriam Calleja

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