The Bath Spa M.A. in Creative Writing was held at Corsham Court, a beautiful Elizabethan building owned by the Methuen family. Tutors included Mimi Thebo, Lucy English, Samantha Harvey and Celia Brayfield.
During the academic year we had two workshops a week. One of these was a context module, where we read and discussed a selection of recent fiction from a writer’s viewpoint, then wrote our own creative pieces in response.
In the prose fiction workshop we submitted extracts from our own novel in progress and critiqued one another’s writing. With the guidance of our talented tutors, all of them published authors, this process helped us to be objective about editing our drafts. The novel that I worked on was ‘Between Two Shores’.
The main aim of the Bath Spa course is to bring a novel to publishable standard and there is a very good track record of past students achieving success. To help us in the process we had regular visits from agents and publishers throughout the year, and an anthology of extracts from our work was launched in May 2013 at Foyle’s bookshop in London.
In August 2010, I travelled up to Inverness in Scotland for a week’s residential course with the Arvon Foundation in their beautiful house at Moniack Mhor.
The theme of the week was revising and polishing the first chapter of a novel in progress. In my case, that novel was ‘Fragments of a Dream‘.
The tutors were the wonderful Alice Jolly and Colette Paul, and the standard of work and support was amazingly high. In a short time, we all learned a huge amount.
In between 1:1 tutorials and group sessions where we learned key techniques, and evening sessions where we read and appraised one another’s work, we were free to write, to socialise or to walk in the beautiful countryside surrounding the house.
We were divided into teams to prepare meals, which we took communally in the lovely dining room. Afterwards we sat round the log fire to read aloud what we’d written. A truly wonderful experience!
I’m seated to the left of the table. Alice Jolly and Colette Paul are standing (2nd and 3rd from right).