Join bestselling author Kate Forsyth for a week in beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon, England at a writing retreat designed to inspire and motivate you. If you wish to draw upon history and mythology in your work, or if you dream of creating compelling tales filled with suspense and surprise, then you'll love this unique experience which melds daily writing workshops with immersive literary, historic and cultural experiences.
A literary tour
You’ll be staying in the picturesque 17th century Shakespeare Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, one of England’s most popular and diverse villages and the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Visitors are drawn to the historical and natural beauty of this quintessential medieval English market town. Over centuries it has been a creative and artistic hub that has attracted esteemed writers and artists. With more than 800 years of history, Stratford-upon-Avon also has all the shops, pubs, restaurants and modern conveniences you could hope for, without losing any of its period charm. Local produce and good restaurants make Stratford-upon-Avon a wonderful place to eat and drink.
There will be many opportunities to explore the surrounding area. The Cotswolds, Cheltenham Spa and Worcester are all within easy access. Explore Oxford, the “city of dreaming spires.” Visit the Bodleian Library, otherwise known as Hogwarts Library! Wander through some of England’s most beautiful gardens and have a restorative ale in the pub where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien first shared their enchanted worlds. Be inspired by the romantic setting of castles and yew mazes, mysterious circles of standing stones, and haunted manor halls.
In the afternoons, after your writing workshops, you will be able to write in the quiet of your own room or you can enjoy the beauty around Stratford-upon-Avon. You can participate in literary and historical cultural experiences, and you will also have plenty of time to daydream, write, read and explore on your own. On the final night you will enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow writers.
Creative writing in the Cotswolds
Stories set in the past can take your readers into another world. But what tools and techniques can you use to capture their imagination?
Each genre of fiction has its own conventions and characteristics, which can sometimes seem like unbreakable rules. By combining different elements of different genres, however, the writer can create ground-breaking novels of great freshness and originality. Many writers have leapt into the bestseller lists with their cross-genre tales of history, mystery, romance and magic. These include authors such as Philippa Gregory, Diana Gabaldon, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Joanne Harris and Kate Mosse.
On this tour, you will spend each morning with Kate Forsyth and your group of fellow writers talking, laughing, reading, listening and learning about all aspects of creative writing, from first discovering your story to finding a publisher. Over seven days, Kate will share with you all the secrets she has learned about writing stories which fire the imagination, touch the heart, and keep readers turning the pages long into the night.
This retreat is for writers at any stage of their careers, from those who have always wanted to write but never found the time, to those who are already deeply immersed in a creative project and want to take it to the next level.
- the key conventions of the world's most popular literary genres (including historical fiction, crime and mystery, romance, horror, fantasy and magic realism)
- storytelling patterns and structures
- the importance of voice, and how to find it
- how to create a strong sense of time and place
- how to build characters that are vivid and vital
- which rules you should adhere to and which rules can be broken
- what kind of research you need to do to bring life into your story
- suspense and the art of surprise
- how to connect to your creative flow, and consistently find the time and space to write the story you've always dreamed of bringing to life.
Your tour leader and writing mentor, Kate Forsyth
Kate Forsyth has written more than 40 books, for all age groups and across many genres, and has been published in almost twenty countries. Her novels include Bitter Greens, a retelling of Rapunzel which won the 2015 American Library Association Award for Best Historical Fiction, and The Wild Girl, the story of the forbidden romance behind the Grimm Brothers' famous fairy tales, which was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013. Her latest novel, Beauty in Thorns, was inspired by the passions, scandals and tragedies of the Pre-Raphaelites.
Recently voted one of Australia's Favourite 15 Novelists, Kate Forsyth has been called 'one of the finest writers of this generation'. Her books entwine history, mystery, romance and magic into spellbinding narratives. She has a BA in literature, an MA in creative writing and a doctorate in fairytale studies, and is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers. She has run writing retreats in Fiji, Greece and the Cotswolds, and given masterclasses from Aberystwyth to Alice Springs, Chicago to Chichester, Singapore to the Scottish Borders.
“All I had to do was show up with an empty notebook and an open, willing heart, and the combination of stunning scenery, fantastic hospitality, and transformative workshops filled me with inspiration, courage, and a sense of wonder. The retreat was seamlessly organised and Kate went out of her way to ensure everyone was happy and comfortable. An exciting experience that has stayed with me long after it ended.” - Holly Ringland, author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
“All I had to do was show up with an empty notebook and an open, willing heart, and the combination of stunning scenery, fantastic hospitality, and transformative workshops filled me with inspiration, courage, and a sense of wonder. The retreat was seamlessly organised and Kate went out of her way to ensure everyone was happy and comfortable. An exciting experience that has stayed with me long after it ended.”
- Holly Ringland, author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
Please note that overseas tours are operated by Better Read Literary Tours.