Summer school for aspiring writers to be held at Keele University

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Posted on 19 May 2011

Writers of poetry and fiction are invited to take part in a writing retreat run by four established authors and poets.

The annual retreat, which will take place from Sunday, July 24, to Friday, July 29, at Keele University, will encourage writers to achieve their potential.

The five-day course offers morning master-classes delivered by high profile British poets and novelists, afternoons spent writing in the old library at Keele Hall and evenings dining together, listening to readings. The retreat is open to anyone with an interest in furthering their creative writing.

Poets Matthew Welton and James Sheard and authors Gwendoline Riley and Joe Stretch will lead workshops and mentor participants during the course, as well as reading from their own works. All have extensive experience of the teaching of creative writing, as well as being established writers in their fields.

James Sheard, who is a creative writing lecturer at Keele, said: “Keele Writing Retreat offers people the chance to immerse themselves in writing in idyllic surrounding and in the company of four acclaimed writers. The atmosphere is friendly, inclusive and there is a strong commitment to developing the writing of participants.”

Work produced during the writing retreat can also be converted into credits towards Keele’s MA in Creative Writing.

The retreat costs £525 inclusive of accommodation and meals. There will be a discount available for locally-based writers who do not require accommodation.

For information about booking, and general information about the Keele Writing Retreat, please contact Kath McKeown on

For questions about how the writers work with you, or any concerns about the suitability of the course for you, please contact James Sheard on

The retreat’s website can be found at


About the writers:

Matthew Welton is the author of two collections of poetry - The Book of Matthew and We Needed Coffee But... published by Carcanet. He received the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize for the former in 2003, and the collection was also a Guardian Book of the Year. He was a Hawthornden Fellow in 2004. Matthew collaborates regularly with the composer Larry Goves, with whom he was awarded a Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowship in 2008.

Gwendoline Riley is the author of three novels - Cold Water, Sick Notes and Joshua Spassky - and a collection of short stories. She has won the Betty Trask Award, the Somerset Maugham Prize and been shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.

Joe Stretch has published two novels with Vintage - Friction and Wildlife - and is working on his third. His stories have also appeared in a number of magazines and national newspapers. Joe is Lecturer in Creative Writing at Keele University, and also teaches the song lyric in the Music department.

James Sheard is published by Mews Press and Cape. His pamphlet Hotel Mastbosch was a PBS Choice in 2003, and his first full collection of poems - Scattering Eva - was shortlisted for a Forward Prize and the Dimplex Poetry Prize. His current collection - Dammtor - was published in September 2010, and was a Poetry Book Society recommendation. Jim is Lecturer in Creative Writing at Keele University.