Winter Writing Retreat

What a happy, creative and eventful week we had on our Winter Writing Retreat at Denman and thank you to everyone for all the writing they shared and all the constructive criticism we enjoyed. There’s certainly no such thing as an ‘ordinary’ woman and we travelled the world during our writing.

We travelled by sea and by air, ‘flying’ together through 120 word ‘blockbuster’, piloted by the remarkable JCA, thank you for landing us safely, after our first solo flights, and for an interesting exercise into the differences between first person and the third person narrations.

We experienced cold, hunger and brutality in 20th century war torn Europe in an epic novel, over 90 thousand words, meeting vivid characters, some fictional some not, woven together in a story that has to be told, inspired by a family anecdote. The extracts we shared made us hungry for more – keep working SF.

From JE we enjoyed hearing about the diverse cultures of European farming families and the ability of young children to adapt, have adventures and explore together. Thinking about the restrictions placed upon UK children we were amazed at the freedoms enjoyed, and perhaps slightly envious too? But thinking about leopards and sweet but fearsome baby crocs – perhaps not!

With JW we looked at a mountain, and the many different paths to follow, the different types of climbers, and their behaviour towards each other. This thoughtful essay instigated much serious discussion and led us to consider the use of metaphor, which later led us to characters who were likened to teabags and Prosecco. We applauded the ‘grumpy old woman’ persona who while making a serious point about the general inadequacies of ‘Ladies’ Loos’ demonstrated her ability to charm her readers into giggles as well causing them to think deeply and metaphorically.

We welcomed EP back to Denman, ‘Retreating’ to continue writing her Life Story, where she crafted a beautiful, careful, thoughtful and loving introduction to her work, destined to be given to members of her family. Thank you for also transporting us to a hill top Rogation Sunday gathering (and for teaching us about this ancient ‘rural’ Christian tradition). We enjoyed the views and the early promise of sunshine which quickly turned to rain, and ended in a comedic rush for shelter in a beautiful ancient but tiny church.

Keep writing, keep shining your lights, and let me know if you see Brenda (those who were there will know what I mean!) Wishing you all a healthy happy and productive 2020, and thank you for your company and the ‘sparkling’ gift and card.


Escape to Denman, a beautiful Georgian Mansion set in 17 acres of grounds, the perfect place for an indulgent Winter Writing Retreat. Make 2020 the year you dig out that unfinished writing project languishing in a drawer, OR come and begin something completely new.

Join tutor led inspirational classroom sessions, discuss your writing, receive constructive feedback, and work in ‘one to one’ sessions with W.I. member Chrissie, whose TV scripts, short stories, plays and articles have been broadcast produced and published in UK and abroad.

Retreat to Denman, and write in the elegant drawing-room, the bar, your own comfortable en-suite bedroom, or the hall with its cosy log fire. This course is informal and friendly and we’ll be working on memoirs, life stories, short stories, sketches, plays, articles or novels, no experience of writing is required and beginners are welcome.

Price includes comfortable single ensuite room with tea/coffee making facilities and varied menus offering a selection of delicious meals, including cooked buffet style breakfasts, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea, and three course evening dinner with coffee/tea. Denman also has a comfortable well-stocked bar.

Contact or Denman College 01865 391991 for more information and booking