Swanwick Writers’ Summer School 2018

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Photo by Hazel Roberts: Swanwick Facebook Page

Well I promised to come back and tell you all about Swanwick. This was my third year and like last year I was an ambassador, although I think I made a better job this time round. Thankfully, when we did the tour for the white badgers, I partnered up with Lance Greenfield Mitchell. It was also his third year but he knew his way around the Swanwick buildings much better than me, I think I’d have got everyone lost. Thank you, Lance.

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Swanwick’s 70th Birthday

And we mustn’t forget that this was no ordinary year at Swanwick as it was Swanwick’s 70th birthday. The Hayes very kindly made two cakes to mark the occasion, one was gluten free.

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Online Writer Friends

I was pleased to finally meet my online writer friends Joy Wood and Anita Hunt after corresponding with them by email and Facebook over the last year. They were both as lovely in person as on the internet.


Guest Speakers

The Swanwick delegates were in for a treat with opening night speaker, author, Sue Moorcroft. Sue was full of vitality and inspiring.


Photo courtesy of Geoff Parkes


The rest of the week lived up to the same standard with great speakers and entertainment:

Sunday Evening: Amit Dhand – The Harry Virdee Novels. – Another inspiring speaker.

Monday Evening: In Conversation with Kate Bendelow, Della Galton and Jonathan Telfer joined by Simon Hall. – This was great fun listening to Simon ask Kate, Della and Jonathan all sorts of questions. It gained some laughs.

Tuesday Evening: Simon Nelson from the BBC  – Totally inspiring advising how to go about sending a TV script in to the BBC.

Wednesday Evening: Sophie Snell – A Storyteller  – Interesting as I’d not heard of these storytellers before. Made me think that I might like to try this out myself.

We finished off on Thursday evening with an Awards Evening and Swanwick Farewell which included John Lamont’s 500 words – you need to be there to appreciate it. What a fabulous evening and as always a little bit sad.

Open Mic 

For my third time at Swanwick, I stood on stage to take part in the Open Mic to perform my poems. A lot of poets put their names down but Les managed to get through them all with a smooth and timely process. This year the Open Mic was in the main conference hall rather than the main bar which has a more intimate feel.  I was concerned I’d be nervous but I was fine. Of course I put a lot of that down to the fact that I can’t see out to the audience once I take my glasses off to read. There’s always a silver lining.

Photos courtesy of Geoff Parkes


Page to Stage

Not to be missed is the Page to Stage.  If there’s one thing not to be missed at Swanwick, it’s the Page to Stage evening. Here you always come across excellent script writers and talented actors. Great fun was had by all watching the drama and comedy acts.


Photo courtesy of Swanwick Facebook Page 

Also available was Buskers Evening and Prose Open Mic. Unfortunately I missed Buskers this year, again because of the MA, but next year I’ll be free and make up for it by joining in everything.


The courses at Swanwick are divided up into Specialist Courses, Short Courses and one hour sessions. For my specialist course I took Elements of Poetry with Poet and Tutor Alison Chisholm. I always choose the poetry as my main body of Swanwick and usually come away with four poems, but unfortunately this year because my mind was on the MA dissertation, I was unable to create new material. However, I have lots of mind maps itching to find themselves into poems once the MA deadline has passed.

I also took part in The Music of Poetry, Publishing, Wild Words and Scrivener. This was a lot less than I usually participate in, but I had to ration myself this year to allow time to work on my creative writing portfolio for the MA. All excellent courses but so much more available – there’s something for everyone.

Book Room 

Swanwick offers a book room where delegates have the opportunity to sell their books. My debut novel House of Grace was no exception. Author, Elizabeth Ducie does a great job organising it all.

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Fancy Dress

As it was Swanwick’s 70th birthday delegates dressed up in forties costumes, many of them hired from the local fancy dress shop, Jolly Jesters, who not only dropped the costumes off to The Hayes but also collected them. Thank you Jolly Jesters.

Photo courtesy of Swanwick Facebook Page


Dregs Party 

A dregs party is held before dinner on the last evening. Delegates bring unused snacks and drinks and gather on the lawn to party.


Photo courtesy of Geoff Parkes

Gala Dinner

And on the last evening we were treated to a gala dinner. The tables looked lovely and we had waiter service so no queuing for food.

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The above photograph shows my lovely friends, returning Swanwickers, Corinne Lawrence, Shirley Cook and Suzy Mendes. All very photogenic and fantastic ladies.

And here are some of my new friends.

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Lakeside Views 

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And what’s not to like about waking up to this view each morning?


There is so much more that happens at Swanwick, this is just a sampler. Why not consider joining writers of all levels from beginners to those that have been publishing for numerous years. Places are offered for  young TopWrite Students and assisted places are available. See the website for more details.


All writers are equal.

It’s like a family.

A large number of delegates attend yet it still has an intimate feel.

It’s Magic.

I shall be booking my place for 2019 on the 1st February, 2019 – fancy joining me?

To find out more about Swanwick Writers’ Summer School – click here


11 thoughts on “Swanwick Writers’ Summer School 2018

  1. Lynette Creswell August 21, 2018 / 8:36 pm

    Great blog Patricia, and I’ll certainly try and visit next year.


  2. Angela Petch August 21, 2018 / 9:24 pm

    Great article. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  3. R Cawkwell August 21, 2018 / 9:39 pm

    One day I’ll manage to get to Swanwick.


    • Patricia M Osborne August 22, 2018 / 12:50 am

      You should try. It will be worth it. On Saturday evening at dinner I sat next to a gentleman that had been to Swanwick every year since 1972. I bet he has some stories to tell.

      Liked by 1 person

      • R Cawkwell August 23, 2018 / 8:56 am

        I’ll bet. If funds improve I’ll give it a try.


    • Patricia M Osborne August 22, 2018 / 10:37 pm

      I did miss you so much this year, Maureen, and truly hope we can meet up next year. x


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