The Write Start
Creative writing retreat
If you were to visit just one city in Spain, it should be Granada.
– Ernest Hemingway
Run by writers in a luxurious setting, The Write Start is a customised and tutored writing retreat to invigorate and inspire. Suitable for amateur writers of all levels – from those curious about writing to those stuck in a writing rut – the retreat kickstarts creativity, hones key skills and provides the headspace you need to indulge your imagination.
With an immersive week of writing, tutored sessions, customised coaching, a literary agent Q&A session, Guest Author evening, and cultural experiences in Granada, the retreat will give you all the time and support you need to focus on your writing.
The Write Start
27 June – 4 July 2020
10 – 17 October 2020
Trips, Tours & Treats
The last outpost of Moorish Spain, Granada boasts breath-taking Islamic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, a rich cultural heritage, and the spirit of one of Spain’s greatest literary legends, making this city the perfect place for writers to feel inspired.
As novelty contributes to the creative process, we take your writing somewhere new with visits to places of cultural and literary significance in the city.
Every experience will cultivate curiosity and you’ll start to see the familiar in unfamiliar ways, a vital skill in writing fiction. Observations will come together in writing tasks inspired by the places we visit, sparking fresh ideas and generating material.
Literature & Lorca
Customised coaching & creative guidance
To give your writing the time and attention it deserves, we give you the time and attention you deserve. With three hours of individually tailored coaching and thirteen hours of customised group sessions, and a literary agent Q&A, The Write Start helps you find creativity in your own way.
At R&R we understand that writing works from the inside out. That there are no formulae we can teach you. No short cuts we can take. Instead we encourage you to work with the most powerful resource you have – yourself.
Starting with what’s already within you, we first draw out your creative voice in innovative exercises that help you get in flow, then, with that voice singing, we explore techniques of the craft of writing, giving you time to practise each skill so it becomes a part of you.
By the end of the retreat you’ll be creating fiction in ways you didn’t think possible.
The Write Start includes ten group sessions covering key concepts in the craft of fiction, tailored to the needs of the group in a blend of coaching and individual tasks.
As soon as you book your place on the retreat, we send a questionnaire about you and your writing, as well as a short writing task to identify your voice and existing awareness of the craft.
The information you provide will highlight strengths and areas of confidence, whilst also bringing to the fore those that require further practice. Our session tutor will use this data to inform the preparation and specific content of the group sessions on the retreat.
With everybody’s needs in mind, our groups sessions become the driving force behind The Write Start and draw on a variety of sources and activities. Together in a creative bubble, we explore imagination, observe fictional techniques in action, and practise key skills of the craft. We collaborate creatively and learn from each other in an ever-emerging process.
Over the course of the retreat, you’ll benefit from two individual 90-minutes coaching sessions to help you focus on your writing, your way.
Sarah-Jane and Joanne will tailor their coaching sessions to bring out the best in your writing –
whether that’s helping you find the courage to express yourself, or helping you find the characters to express themselves, we’ll focus on whatever you need to move your writing in a new direction.
The Write Start retreat makes it easy to do what can be hard to do at home – find quiet time to write.
To put into practice what you learn in our sessions, it’s crucial to have you-time, which is why we include silent sessions in the itinerary.
Nearly every day we make room for quiet reflection and independent writing practice. For an authentic retreat-like atmosphere, we ask all guests to maintain silence in the house and grounds during these periods.
These sessions are not compulsory, but once you see the benefits, they will quickly become compulsive for you and your writing.
All writers want to hear how other writers made it to publication, which is why we invite a Guest Author along to our retreats.
Joining us for a couple of days is Natalie Hart, whose novel, Pieces of Me, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award in 2018. Natalie will treat us to a reading from that novel and will talk about her inspirational writing journey.
Literary Agent Q&A
Literary agent, Ella Kahn, of DKW Literary Agency, will be joining us for a Q&A session, an opportunity for you to quiz a successful agent about the realities of getting published today.
Every writer has a question that Google can’t answer. Our session with Ella gives you the unique chance to ask everything you’ve always wanted to know about the industry, from sending out queries to agents, to signing a publishing deal, and beyond.
With candour and insight, Ella will answer your questions and help you see the world of writing through the eyes of an agent.
Our coaching doesn’t stop when your retreat ends.
Once you’re home again, we’ll set you a follow-up writing task with a deadline for submission. Your work will receive a positive and detailed audio-visual critique in video file format (mp4) so you know what to work on as you move forwards in your independent practice.
What we coach
Point of view
Telling and Showing
Setting and description
Dealing with dialogue
Speaking with silence
Beginnings, middles and ends
Editing and redrafting
The R&R Team
Our writing tutor – Sarah-Jane
Represented by Ella Kahn of DKW Literary Agency, and a member of The Society of Authors, Sarah-Jane is a writer of fiction whose short stories have appeared in Mslexia and other publications. She was awarded a place on the Arts’ Council Escalator Literature Scheme with author Katharine McMahon as her mentor, and her unfinished novel was shortlisted for the International Mslexia Novel Competition. Now working on her next novel, Sarah-Jane, loves sharing what she’s learnt about writing to help others understand the craft.
An experienced teacher and writing coach, Sarah-Jane has run many successful writing retreats in Suffolk, as well as coaching adults in creative writing for eastuition. The Write Start retreats bring together her passions for coaching, writing, and all things Spanish. She believes that the teaching of creative writing happens in coaching the writing and coaxing the creative, and through tailored group sessions and one-to-one coaching she’ll help you find your writing voice.
Our writing coach – Joanne
We’re honoured to have published author and writing coach, Joanne Burn, with us throughout the retreat. A member of The Society of Authors also represented by Ella Kahn of DKW Literary Agency, Joanne’s fabulous first novel, Petals and Stones, was published by Legend Press in 2018, and she is currently working on her second novel.
A qualified life coach, Joanne knows exactly how to bring out the best in those she works with, encouraging bravery and authenticity to unlock creative potential. Her nurturing and perceptive approach to coaching will help you discover the writer within, sending you off brimming with ideas.
Over the course of the retreat, Joanne will also share her own writing story, letting us in to the joys and frustrations she experienced on her journey to publication, along with advice on how to balance writing and life once you’re home.
Our guest author – Natalie
We’re delighted that Natalie Hart is joining R&R’s The Write Start retreats in 2020. Natalie’s writing career rocketed when she won The Write Stuff Competition at the London Book Fair and subsequently became represented by Ella Kahn of DKW Literary Agency. Her heart-wrenching debut novel Pieces of Me, published by Legend Press, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award in 2018, and also featured as Prima Magazine’s Top Book of the Year and The Reading Agency’s Top Debuts of 2019.
Along an earlier writing path, Natalie completed a distance-learning MA in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster, online fiction courses with Faber Academy and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop, and she attended multiple residential writing retreats in Mexico.
Outside of writing, Natalie started her career as a bookseller before she became a counter-extremism specialist living in the Middle East and North Africa. Now a Strategic Communications Consultant for ocean protection, Natalie draws on the variety of her experiences when writing fiction.
As Natalie has a degree in Arabic and Spanish from the University of Cambridge, our Granada retreats not only bring all her passions together, but also give you the chance to hear from an author whose writing journey has been innovative and inspirational.
Our literary agent – Ella Kahn
In 2012, Ella co-founded DKW Literary Agency, now a leading independent agency that receives over 100 submissions a week. Winner of the London Book Fair Trailblazer Awards in 2016, Ella represents commercial and upmarket contemporary and historical fiction, as well as some crime and speculative fiction; children’s and YA; and narrative non-fiction, and she currently champions the careers of eighteen writers.
We’re therefore thrilled that Ella is joining The Write Start to present the world of writing from an agent’s perspective. It’s not often writers have the chance to quiz literary agents directly, which is why we’re especially excited about Ella’s contribution to R&R’s writing retreats. With invaluable insight and candid advice, Ella will cover everything you need to know about dealing with agents and the process of getting published, from submitting a manuscript to signing a deal and beyond.
The Write Start is a luxury writing retreat that provides the following:
- Quality accommodation in single, twin or shared bedrooms.
- Bathroom towels, swimming towels and linen are included.
- All breakfasts, lunches in (including one lunch out), and two suppers (one in, one out); mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.
- 13 hours’ tailored group sessions to cover all skills in the craft of fiction.
- An individual coaching session each with Sarah-Jane and Joanne, personalised to your needs.
- Literary evening with Guest Author, Natalie Hart.
- Q&A session with literary agent, Ella Kahn, of DKW Literary Agency.
- All tours, entrance tickets, cultural experiences and transport between, to include the Alhambra and gardens, Lorca tour and museum, Sacramento cave museum, flamenco.
- Group airport transfer on day of arrival and departure (only one transfer is included for flights arriving on the Saturday evening and leaving on the Saturday evening – see our Terms for details).
What’s not included
- Flights to and from Granada.
- Airport transfer to and from Granada or any other airport, beyond the one included.
- Travel insurance.
- Food, drinks or snacks beyond those already included.
£1289 per writer
£1289 per writer inclusive of accommodation; breakfast, lunch and two suppers; tailored tours, trips and tuition; materials; one-to-one coaching and airport transfers.
Standard double room FOR ONE
no additional charge
Standard single room FOR ONE
no additional charge
Superior double room FOR ONE
Standard twin room FOR TWO
no additional charge
XL partitioned room FOR FOUR
no additional charge
*Room 5 can be used exclusively for two or three friends with an extra surcharge on request.
How to book
To make a booking or to receive further information, please complete the enquiry form. Once we have received your details, we will get in touch with specific details and booking instructions.
Covid-19 / Coronavirus
10 March 2020
R&R prioritises health and wellbeing.
As things currently stand, all of our trips are continuing as normal.
Should the UK Foreign Office advise against travel in and out of Spain, the situation will be deemed an "Unavoidable and Extraordinary Circumstance" (UEC).
If travel in and out of Spain is considered an UEC at the time of the scheduled revision trip or retreat, under the Package Travel Regulations, all R&R customers will be entitled to a full refund, or a place on another revision trip or retreat at a different time.
If there is no such change in FCO advice and travel restrictions, R&R trips will run as scheduled and no full refunds or alternatives will apply if you choose to cancel. Please refer to R&R’s Terms and Booking Conditions for details of cancellations and charges.
If you have any concerns or require further clarification, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Residential AAP for the
Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award
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