What a fab time I had last week at the annual Swanwick writers’ school in Derbyshire.

This was my fourth time there. Showing off now, this was the first time I have paid to go there. I won my last three weeks there , 2008, 2009 and 2014, coming first in the poetry competitions, and also once in the children’s story writing. I also won the poetry in 2011 but that year they changed things and there was no free week but a two year’s subscription to Writing Magazine.

I didn’t win this year,obviously, but I was shortlisted. Yay!

I had a room with a lake view this time and the weather was great all week.




It was great to meet up with my writing buddies and also to forge new friendships. The dining hall was always full of loud writing chatter, which was great but didn’t help my tinnitus much!

I sat next to so many interesting people, including one Dutch lady who had travelled especially from Holland to attend. ‘How did you hear about the school?’ I asked.

I saw it on Wikipedia, she said. She likes writing Science Fiction and I enjoyed hearing all about the book she is working on.


( Making new friends)


I attended various workshops and talks, including ‘Writing Original Poetry’ with Alison Chisholm and ‘Plotting and Stratagem’ with Michael Jecks. OMG he has so many books on Amazon, and all highly rated. He says, if I remember correctly, he writes 130,000 words in 2 months. Wow!

The fancy dress disco was fun. I haven’t danced so much in ages. I dressed as Nefertiti.

Quelle surprise! Thanks, Suzy for doing my eye make up!

I also attended the ‘Researching your family tree’ course. I was surprised there was not more emphasis on all the great internet programs and resources that aid family tree research now. I remember going to record offices, did most of my research that way years ago, but now we have programs like Ancestry.com which mean you can find so many resources with just a click of your mouse. Anyway it’s one of my aims to get my family tree book published after attending this course.

The pantomime at the end of the week was so funny and I still have the words ‘I would write 500 words ‘ ( to the tune of I would walk 500 miles) going round in my head.

The highlight of the week though, for me, was meeting the Writing Magazine team, Having corresponded with them for over ten years now it was nice to finally put faces to names.


I was pleased to see that Swanwick now have coffee machines in the bar area especially as I love my lattes!  Of course there was the occasional glass of wine but sadly that was not on tap.

On my return I found a letter telling me I am long listed in the Yeovil Literary poetry competition. So my fingers are crossed!

All being well I will be back to Swanwick next year. Of course I will try and win my place there again. I am eager to learn what the theme will be for the next competitions. So bring it on!

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