Writing Can Bring Us Together.

Camembert and a glass of red anyone?

Combine improving your writing skills with having a great time, in France …

Sarah Tyley met Becky Slack round at a friend’s house one night in SW France.  Sarah, the author of Spaghetti Head, and Becky, an experienced journalist and communications consultant, quickly discovered they had a love of writing in common, and a beautiful friendship was born.  Some months later, over lunch and a glass of wine, they were discussing how they’d always wanted to attend a writing retreat, but had never really found one that felt ‘right’.  They discussed this in more depth and decided to have a go at creating a writers’ workshop they would want to attend, in the hope that others would too.

Their aim was to create a workshop to suit all budgets, combining professionalism and learning with having a bloody good time.   ‘Obviously we want writers to come to learn because they want to be the best writers they can be and their aim is to be published,’ Sarah says, ‘but we also want them to enjoy themselves, to explore a little piece of France and to make new friends.’

They wrote a ‘to-do list’ for turning their idea into reality. 

Becky contacted Helen Cross, who is not only a first-class writer (her novel My Summer of Lovebecame a BAFTA award-winning film), but is also an experienced teacher, having taught the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia for many years. Would Helen, by any chance, be interested in tutoring the workshop? She would! Becky and Sarah were over the moon: leaving just a venue and a chef to secure.

The two friends had fun visiting a few properties before falling in love with La Sauzade, an 18thcentury French manor house with rustic verandas, a large round sociable kitchen table, polished creaking floorboards, plenty of writing nooks, and a heated swimming pool. It has all the character you’d expect of a manor house steeped in two hundred years of history and is located a stone’s throw from Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, with its subterranean church, narrow cobbled streets and quirky artisan shops. Venue secured.

Becky and Sarah had originally met at a friend’s house and that friend just happened to be a chef, so Wendy was the obvious choice.  Offering locally sourced mouth-watering food, Wendy has wowed all of the writers who have attended the workshops since launching in September 2018.

With the combination of skills on offer – Helen Cross and her wealth of experience as both an award-winning novelist and a university and workshop tutor; Sarah’s experience as a self-published author; and Becky’s experience in PR – writers get access to both expertise, real-life lived experience and practical advice.  And they do have a bloody good time.

‘At each workshop we have had a really warm and supportive bunch of women,’ Becky says. ‘From the first moments at the airport through to our tired but happy goodbyes at the end, we laugh, we talk, we write and we share stories and life-experiences. There is something about the energy and creativity of this space that enables something powerful to happen. Magic.’

Becky and Sarah would love you to join them on one of the workshops in 2020.  For more information and prices, have a look at their website.

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