COURSES AND RETREATS 2020 - Arvon
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About Arvon 5 Courses & Retreats Welcome 6 Starting to Write 30 The Arvon week 8 Fiction 37 Short courses 10 Poetry 63 Choosing a course 12 Non-Fiction 80 Writing house 14 facilities Writing for Children/YA 92 Writing houses 18–23 Playwriting/TV/ Course fees 24 Film/Radio 98 How to book 26 Other 109 Grants 26–27 Retreats 115 Concessions 28 Course Index 140–143 More about 142–153 Arvon Terms and 154–161 conditions
ARVON Something magical happens at an Arvon writing house. You arrive, perhaps feeling a little shy, uncertain and hopeful. You leave, amazed “These are at the progress you’ve made, encouraged by a sense of fellowship, the buzz of inspiration life-enhancing weeks. and the determination to keep writing. I’ve witnessed the most astonishing evolution Arvon has been inspiring generations of writers for over 50 years as the UK’s home of creative writing. We in students’ writing have three writing houses, in Devon, Shropshire and and confidence over Yorkshire. Our residential courses and retreats, led by highly acclaimed writers, span poetry to theatre, the period of just song to screenplay, fact to fiction, starting to finishing – 4 5 a handful of days, and we offer grants to help with course fees. and as a tutor it’s Each year, over 40 of our courses are with vulnerable a privilege to see groups and schools, from young people who have experienced bullying to adults recovering from an people grow and addiction. We also work closely with teachers to support flourish during their professional development. the course.” We offer a home for the imagination, where anyone, regardless of writing experience, can step away from —Poet Laureate Simon Armitage their normal routine, immerse themselves in the creative process, be inspired by experienced writers and release their imaginative potential.
WELCOME TO ARVON’S 2020 COURSE PROGRAMME Andrew Kidd, Arvon’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director As Arvon’s new Chief Executive and Artistic Director, While nothing can replicate the power of an Arvon I am delighted to introduce our 2020 programme. residential course, we are always looking for ways to Whether you’re just starting out on your writing journey enable more people to experience Arvon. Last year we or you’re somewhere further down the road, Arvon launched Arvon 1–1: online tutorials in which you can offers an unparalleled range of opportunities for get personal, one-to-one feedback from an Arvon developing your craft. tutor (see p.121). We plan to significantly expand the 1–1 offering in 2020. In this brochure, there are over 70 courses and retreats 6 to choose from. As ever, fiction, poetry and writing for Finally, if you’d like unmediated time to work on your 7 the stage and screen are well represented, as are our writing, the splendid Clockhouse retreat at The Hurst celebrated Starting to Write weeks. And for those who offers expansive space for up to four writers to follow need a little push getting to the next stage we offer their own schedules. You can book a place at the work-in-progress, finishing a collection and preparing Clockhouse for as many weeks as you like. for publication courses. We also remain committed to breaking new ground, engaging with practically every The particular blend of encouragement, creativity, form of creative expression the written word can take. connection, rigour and play that constitutes the ‘Arvon From Hybrid Writing to Life Writing with Coaching, from magic’ can neither be bottled nor wholly explained. Essays to a Digital Detox retreat, you are sure to find the It truly is something you need to experience for right course for you. yourself, and we look forward to welcoming you soon to the home of creative writing. If spring is too long to wait, our Winter Season in January, February and March offers the chance to kickstart your creativity without delay. You can find these courses on our website. And for those pressed for time, there are Short Course options throughout the year.
THE ARVON WEEK On five-day courses you’ll be with a group of up to 15 other writers, working with two tutors, from Monday to Saturday. Most Arvon courses follow this structure (although short courses, retreats and tutored retreats are a little different): • Each morning the tutors • On Tuesday evening lead workshops to help the tutors read from you explore ideas, forms their own work. and techniques. • On Wednesday evening • Afternoons are your the guest speaker joins time for writing and the group. 8 9 one-to-one tutorials to consider your writing in • On Friday evening depth. You’ll have two everyone gets together tutorials (at least 20 to share and celebrate minutes long), one with their work. each tutor. • The week comes to •O n Monday you arrive a close on Saturday between 4.30pm and morning, after breakfast. 6pm, settle in, enjoy Have a tissue handy – dinner and attend the you may shed a farewell tutors’ introduction to tear or two! the week.
SHORT RESIDENTIAL GIFT VOUCHERS WRITING COURSES We have captured all the essential elements that make the Arvon week unique and distilled them into a short course. These ARVO GIF T N courses are ideal for writers who are keen to come to Arvon but can’t manage a full week. VOUC HE R We offer two types of short courses – three-day (Friday to Sunday) and four-day (Monday to Thursday), which include most aspects of an Arvon week. You will be one of 14 writers, each with a single room. There will be two tutors running the course. Significant departures from our classic Arvon week include no cooking and no mid-course guest. 10 Cost: from £530 for three-day courses / from £560 for four-day 11 courses. See courses 10, 12, 15, 31, 44, 47, 50 and 74. FOUR-DAY COURSE THREE-DAY COURSE Monday to Thursday Friday to Sunday Four-day courses run The long weekend from Monday lunchtime course begins on with a departure after Friday lunchtime with breakfast on Thursday. a departure after lunch on Sunday. Do you have a friend with a flair for The course includes ten fiction? Or a relative who is harbouring hours of workshop-based The three days include a desire to pen poetry? An Arvon Gift group tuition; each six hours of workshop- based tuition; each Voucher is an inspirational present. student gets two one-to- one tutorials and there student gets two one-to- Arvon Gift Vouchers can be made up to is a celebratory reading one tutorials and there any amount – perfect for a friendly nudge night on Wednesday. is a short reading to end or a grand gesture. Find out more at the course. www.arvon.org/gift-voucher or call 020 7324 2554.
CHOOSING A COURSE Most of our courses are for all levels of experience. Tutored Retreats However, we offer the following courses and These are like our Work-in-Progress courses above, retreats for beginner or experienced writers: but without morning workshops. Instead you will have four tutorials, two with each tutor, as opposed to two on regular courses. Tutored Retreats are suitable for Starting to Write experienced writers, not beginners. We have Tutored If you have a burning desire to write but no idea where Retreats in several different genres. to begin, or perhaps you are returning to writing after a long time away, or maybe you have writing experience Centre Retreats in one field but are keen to explore a new genre – then Retreats offer you the time and space to write with a a Starting to Write course would be ideal. Starting to group of up to 15 other writers. There are no workshops Write courses are designed to build your confidence and no tutorials. We also offer a range of retreats with within a supportive environment, providing you with activities, including walking and Pilates. the tools to inspire and develop your writing. We offer 12 13 Starting to Write courses in specific genres, and more Writers Retreat at The Clockhouse general Starting to Write courses that include fiction and Choose between four or six days in your own apartment poetry writing. at The Clockhouse, tucked away in the peaceful grounds of The Hurst. Write, plan, walk, think, dream, edit, Work-in-Progress in solitude, away from it all with no distractions. The These are for writers who already have significant Clockhouse has four apartments in total. Writers Retreats experience and would like to receive project-specific are untutored. See p.122 for more information. feedback as well as the space and time to write. We have Work-in-Progress courses in several different If you’re unsure which course is right for you, genres. These courses include workshops and one-to- feel free to call our team on 020 7324 2554 to one tutorials. discuss possibilities.
WRITING HOUSE FACILITIES Accommodation Everything in an Arvon writing house has been set up to help you write and to help you feel at home for the week. The accommodation is deliberately simple, comfortable and clean. The Arvon staff will be your hosts, ensuring a relaxed, friendly and informal atmosphere. Each writing house has a living room, a well-stocked library and many other quiet spaces, as well as an inspirational landscape to explore beyond the house. See pages 18–23 for details of bedrooms and bathrooms at each writing house. You do not need a computer on our courses, but you 14 are welcome to bring your own laptop. We have a few 15 computers and a printer at each writing house, which you can use for writing or printing out your own work (a donation for printing is requested). Mobile phone reception is poor at some of the houses. We do not provide an internet connection or Wi-Fi – so you can immerse yourself in your writing.
Accessibility Food Arvon welcomes writers with disabilities. If you have Throughout the week, all your food and drink is any specific access requirements, please discuss them provided, except for alcohol, which can be purchased with us prior to booking and we will do our utmost from a local wine merchant on arrival and delivered to accommodate your needs. All communal spaces, early in the week. We’re firmly committed to buying including workshop spaces, are accessible to people seasonal and locally produced goods. with mobility issues. Each writing house can accommodate an assistance dog, and a personal carer You’ll help yourself to breakfast, and a tasty lunch is if required, provided there are spaces available. prepared for you every day by your hosts. Each Accessibility to bedrooms and bathrooms varies evening you will take turns cooking dinner in teams. depending on the house – The Hurst is the most The recipes and ingredients are supplied and there’s accessible of our houses, with a lift to all floors and 16 lots of help at hand. Cooking teams also take turns to en-suite rooms – see pages 18–19. All of our houses do the washing-up. have a portable loop system available on request. On short courses and Clockhouse retreats, all food is provided, including dinner. 16 17 If you have dietary needs, for ethical, religious or medical reasons, we’re happy to cater for you – when you book, it’s important that you let us know. Travel All our writing houses can be reached by train. On booking your course you will be sent a full booking confirmation by email, including details of local cab companies who can collect you from the station. Check our website for detailed information on how to reach our houses.
THE HURST The John Osborne Arvon Centre, Shropshire The Hurst is the ideal place to find your voice. Formerly the home of the playwright John Osborne, the 19th- century manor house is set in the Shropshire Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Explore the 26 acres of inspiring woodland, unwind by the spring-fed lake, or simply sit and enjoy the view while you write. The house is fully accessible, with a lift to all floors and 16 single, en-suite bedrooms. 18 Situated in the grounds of The Hurst is Arvon’s 19 dedicated Writers Retreat at The Clockhouse. It consists “There is something about the natural beauty at The of four apartments, each with a bedroom, study and Hurst which supports the endeavour of writing, which en-suite bathroom, and all food provided, for six-day makes wanderings and musings inevitable.” and four-day writing retreats. For more details please see page 122. —Grant recipient The Hurst, Clunton, Craven Arms, Shropshire SY7 0JA Telephone: 01588 640 658 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @hurstonthescene
LUMB BANK The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, West Yorkshire Lumb Bank is an 18th-century millowner’s house set in 20 acres of steep woodland. The house once belonged to Ted Hughes and has a breathtaking view to the valley below – a Pennine landscape of woods and rivers, weavers’ cottages, packhorse trails and ruins of old mills. It is half a mile from the historic village of Heptonstall and two miles from Hebden Bridge. There are 14 standard single rooms and one smaller 20 single room. One bedroom has a specially adapted 21 bathroom for people with mobility issues and can also “I think I speak for all my writer companions when accommodate a personal carer. I say that you do not leave Lumb Bank the same person as when you arrived.” Lumb Bank, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire —Louisa Rhodes HX7 6DF Telephone: 01422 843 714 Email: email@example.com Twitter: @Lumb_Bank
TOTLEIGH BARTON The first Arvon writing house, Devon Totleigh Barton is a 16th-century thatched manor house in one of the most peaceful and idyllic parts of Devon, two miles from the village of Sheepwash. There is a beautiful garden and orchard, with access to walks along the River Torridge nearby. The renovated barn offers a comfortable space for evening readings. Totleigh Barton has 14 single rooms. One wheelchair- accessible bedroom has an en-suite bathroom. It can also accommodate a carer. 22 23 Totleigh Barton, Sheepwash, Beaworthy, Devon “To step over the threshold into Totleigh Barton has EX21 5NS always been to step into a world of writing.” Telephone: 01409 231 338 —Penelope Shuttle Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @TotleighBarton
2020 FEES Writers Retreat at The Clockhouse 6-day retreats (Tues – Mon) January – April and 5-day courses September – December (inclusive) The Hurst (en-suite room) £850 1st Floor Apartment £765* Totleigh Barton and Lumb Bank £815 2nd Floor Apartment £725* 5-day Tutored Retreat 4-day retreats (Thurs – Mon) January – April and September – December (inclusive) The Hurst (en-suite room) £850 Totleigh Barton and Lumb Bank £815 1st Floor Apartment £510* 2nd Floor Apartment £480* 5-day Retreat (untutored) 6-day retreats (Tues – Mon) May – August Totleigh Barton £678* (inclusive) 24 25 5-day Retreat with activity 1st Floor Apartment £795* 2nd Floor Apartment £755* The Hurst (en-suite room) £850 Lumb Bank £815 4-day retreats (Thurs – Mon) May – August Totleigh Barton £710 (inclusive) 4-day courses Monday – Thursday 1st Floor Apartment £530* 2nd Floor Apartment £500* The Hurst (en-suite room) £570 *Price includes VAT @ 20% Lumb Bank £560 Course and retreat fees cover 3-day courses Friday – Sunday – full-board accommodation (not including alcohol) – all tuition (where applicable) The Hurst (en-suite room) £540 – a writing desk Lumb Bank £530 You can apply for a grant towards a course if you cannot afford the full fee (please see page 26).
HOW TO BOOK A GRANTS FOR WRITERS COURSE/RETREAT 1. Download a grant pack from our website, or ask us to send it to you. It contains full details of the application Bookings can be made online at www.arvon.org procedure and an application form. You can also book by calling the writing house where 2. Reserve a place on your chosen course, either online your chosen course/retreat is held. To secure your place, or by phoning the writing house hosting your course, you will need to pay a deposit of £200 at the time of and make sure you indicate that you wish to apply for a booking (unless you’re applying for a grant). You are grant. You do not need to pay a deposit at this stage. welcome to pay in instalments via our online booking system. The remainder of your fee must be paid no later 3. Complete the application form and send it along with than six weeks before the course or retreat starts. your supporting documents to your chosen writing house within a week. HOW TO APPLY FOR A GRANT 26 4. Within seven days we will assess your application, 27 If you are a UK resident and cannot afford the full contact you with a decision, and finalise your booking. course fee, we encourage you to apply for one of our If you have any questions, please contact the grants, which are awarded on the basis of financial appropriate writing house. need and not writing ability. See page 29 for how to support the grant fund. We encourage you to apply for a grant early in the year as the grant fund is limited. Priority is given to those GRANTS FOR TEACHERS coming to Arvon for the first time. You may apply for any amount up to the full course fee. The average grant we awarded in 2019 was £450. We offer higher amounts Arvon supports the professional development of only in exceptional cases. To help us support as many practising teachers, who may apply for a special fixed people as possible, please apply only if you’d be unable grant of £200 towards a course fee. You will need to to attend the course without a grant, and ask for the send evidence that you are a practising teacher at a minimum amount you need. Grants are only available UK primary or secondary school, or further education for those booking a course, not a retreat. college. Teachers’ grants are limited in number and can be applied for in addition to the usual grant if further financial assistance is needed.
CONCESSIONS #OPENTOALL We offer half-price concessions for selected Arvon A donation to Arvon’s Grant Fund gives the courses with late availability. The following three groups opportunity for those on low incomes to attend are eligible for concession pricing. Arvon’s courses. Arvon 18–25: Writers aged between 18 and 25 can join our young writers group at arvon.org/18-25. You’ll be notified Arvon has played a formative role in the careers and about upcoming half-price courses. identities of thousands of writers for over 50 years. Currently we can only support the equivalent of one Last year’s grant recipients: If you received a grant in 2019, person on a low income to attend each of Arvon’s you are eligible for concession pricing. We will check on our courses. You can help us double our support by making system that you received a grant in 2019. a donation to Arvon’s Grant Fund. Those in receipt of UK state benefits: Only those in receipt of the following benefits can apply: 28 • Means-tested state benefits (such as housing benefit, 29 council tax benefit, Universal Credit, Income Support, pension credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Working Tax Credit or other similar benefits) • Disability Living Allowance • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) “I’ve been a student on two Arvon courses and I’ve taught nine. I know how life-changing they can be We will make it clear on the course web page if half-price for aspiring writers. It is absolutely vital that they are concessions are available. If the course details page does not equally accessible to everyone who might benefit.” state late availability pricing is available then concession pricing is not available for that course. However, when we have grant —Mark Haddon, Arvon tutor, author of The Curious funds available you are welcome to apply for a grant for all of Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time our courses, except for retreats. Please note that late availability concession bookings must be Mark has made a donation to help keep made over the phone. Arvon open to everyone. Join him by visiting www.arvon.org/opentoall or contact For more info and to see courses currently on offer, visit arvon.org/writing-courses/concession-pricing/ email@example.com, 020 7324 8906.
STARTING 08 12 STARTING TO WRITE STARTING TO WRITE 20–25 April SHORT COURSE Lumb Bank, Yorkshire Fri to Sun 30 October TO WRITE Tutors: Tiffany Murray & –1 November Raymond Antrobus p.32 The Hurst, Shropshire Tutors: Louise Wallwein & 09 Mark Illis p.36 STARTING TO WRITE 1–6 June The Hurst, Shropshire Tutors: Christopher Wakling & Jen Hadfield 14 p.33 STARTING TO WRITE FICTION p.42 10 STARTING TO WRITE 16 30 SHORT COURSE STARTING TO WRITE 31 Mon to Thu 10–13 A NOVEL p.44 August Lumb Bank, Yorkshire 59 Tutors: John McCullough STARTING TO WRITE & Irenosen Okojie p.34 YOUNG ADULT AND CHILDREN’S FICTION 11 p.94 STARTING TO WRITE 28 September–3 October Totleigh Barton, Devon Tutors: Jess Richards & Cliff Yates p.35
20–25 April, Lumb Bank The Hurst, 1–6 June 08 STARTING TO WRITE 09 STARTING TO WRITE Leaping into poetry and prose First words If you have the urge to write but don’t know where to begin, If you want to write creatively, but aren’t sure where to start, or have made a start but need fresh impetus to push on this course will give you the tools and confidence to get you through, this week is for you. In one-to-one tutorials we will past that challenging blank page. We’ll begin at the source – discover new ways to sift and structure your thoughts and inspiration – and travel through the alchemical life of an idea material. In practical poetry and fiction workshops we will to the moment it reaches its readers. We’ll ask what makes spark your imagination and allow you to experiment with a poem a poem and a story a story, exploring voice, structure, form and story. This week will be supportive, productive, plot and poetic form in an accessible and intuitive way. creative and fun. You will be given the space to fall in love Together we’ll talk you through the theory and show you, using with your writing again, and the tools to carry on. inspiring and provocative examples, how good writing works. We’ll offer structured prompts and tailored feedback Tiffany Murray is a Hay Festival fiction to help you realise the poetry and stories you’ve been fellow and Director of Hay’s Writers at Work. dreaming of writing. 32 Her novels Diamond Star Halo and Happy 33 Accidents were shortlisted for the Bollinger Christopher Wakling’s seven novels include Everyman Wodehouse Prize. Her latest novel is Escape and Evasion and What I Did. As well as Sugar Hall. writing fiction, Christopher is a travel writer for the Independent. Raymond Antrobus is a poet and teacher. He is the author of To Sweeten Bitter and The Jen Hadfield is a Creative Writing Teaching Perseverance, winner of the 2018 Ted Hughes Fellow at Glasgow University. Her poetry Award and 2019 Rathbone Folio Prize. collection, Nigh-No-Place, won the 2008 TS Eliot Prize. Her fourth, The Stone Age, explores Guest Lara Williams is the author of the short neurodiversity. story collection Treats (2016) and the novel Supper Club (2019). Guest Jonathan Davidson is a poet and radio dramatist. His most recent book is the poetry memoir On Poetry. His radio plays have been broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and 4.
xxxxxx Monday 10–Thursday 13 August, Lumb Bank xxxxxx Totleigh Barton, 28 September–3 October 10 STARTING TO WRITE 11 STARTING TO WRITE SHORT COURSE Setting out and carrying on Tips and tricks to unlock Whether you're new to poetry, or to prose, or writing in your imagination any form, this week will offer you tools and techniques in order to make a start. With enjoyable and challenging Deciding to learn new skills as a writer can be both exciting exercises alongside feedback on your work, this is a chance and a little daunting. This course is ideal for those who are to experiment with different forms and styles; to play either relatively new to writing or who are feeling slightly with ideas. In a supportive and nourishing atmosphere, rusty. We’ll awaken your creative side by encouraging you we'll explore the ways to begin and provide you with the to begin short pieces of fiction and poetry from a range of momentum you need to carry on when you get home. surprising angles. We’ll discuss techniques like freewriting, how to tackle writer’s block, keeping notebooks, learning to read as a writer and how you might draw on observations, Jess Richards is the author of Snake Ropes, memories and research. Beginning your journey as a writer Cooking with Bones and City of Circles. She involves daring explorations, both into the self and into the has also published poetry and short fiction in 34 35 world, and this course aims to equip you for both. several anthologies. Cliff Yates’s poetry collections include John McCullough’s first collection of poems, Henry’s Clock, winner of the Aldeburgh First The Frost Fairs, won the Polari First Book Prize. Collection Prize, Frank Freeman’s Dancing His latest collection, Reckless Paper Birds, was School and Jam. He wrote Jumpstart Poetry in published by Penned in the Margins in 2019. the Secondary School during his time as Poetry Society poet-in-residence. Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Her debut novel Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask Guest Romalyn Ante is a poet and Award and was shortlisted for an Edinburgh co-founding editor of harana poetry. Her debut International First Book Award. Her short collection, Antiemetic for Homesickness, will stories have been published internationally come out with Chatto & Windus in 2020. She is including in Salt’s Best British Short Stories 2017 the winner of the Poetry London Prize 2018. and the Year’s Best Weird Fiction.
xxxxxx Friday 30 Oct–Sunday 1 Nov, The Hurst 12 STARTING TO WRITE SHORT COURSE Getting started and keeping going FICTION A short, intense burst of support and creativity to get you started on your writing. How do you begin? And once you’ve begun how do you keep going? The weekend will be focused and enjoyable, helping you to find your voice and your confidence in a supportive, encouraging environment. We’ll use fun and inventive exercises covering character and structure and using the surrounding landscape to stimulate and kick-start that book, poem or play that’s been burning a hole in your pocket. This is a weekend to help you play, discover and develop, and, above all, get writing. 36 37 Louise Wallwein MBE is a poet, playwright and educator. Her one-woman show Glue has also been published as a book. Her work has been performed on shorelines, the sea, the streets and in theatres across the UK and the world. Her work has featured on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and BBC One. Mark Illis has written novels for adults and for young adults. He has written extensively for TV, including Peak Practice, Emmerdale and Jamie Johnson. He has also written short stories, radio plays and a prize-winning screenplay.
13 17 21 25 EDITING FICTION FICTION SHORT STORY WRITING A NOVEL 20–25 April 11–16 May 22–27 June 10–15 August The Hurst, Shropshire Totleigh Barton, Devon The Hurst, Shropshire The Hurst, Shropshire Tutors: Nikesh Shukla & Tutors: Gregory Tutors: Adam Marek & Tutors: Stephen May & Angelique Tran Van Sang Norminton & Liz Jensen Zoe Gilbert p.49 Samantha Harvey p.53 p.41 p.45 22 26 14 18 EDITING FICTION FICTION STARTING TO WRITE FICTION 6–11 July 17–22 August FICTION 25–30 May Lumb Bank, Yorkshire Lumb Bank, Yorkshire 27 April–2 May The Hurst, Shropshire Tutors: Anne Meadows & Tutors: Kirsty Logan & Totleigh Barton, Devon Tutors: Marcel Theroux Cynan Jones p.50 Tim Pears p.54 Tutors: Mark Haddon & & Jenny Parrott p.46 Jane Feaver p.42 23 27 19 EXPERIMENTAL FICTION TUTORED 15 EDITING A NOVEL FICTION RETREAT 38 FICTION SHORT 8–13 June 13–18 July 31 August–5 39 COURSE Totleigh Barton, Devon Totleigh Barton, Devon September Fri to Sun 8–10 May Tutors: Patricia Duncker Tutors: Toby Litt & Sophie Totleigh Barton, Devon Lumb Bank, Yorkshire & Richard Beswick p.47 Mackintosh p.51 Tutors: Diana Evans & Tutors: Emma Jane Chris Cleave p.55 Unsworth & Mark Watson 20 24 p.43 CRIME FICTION FICTION: WORK-IN- 28 15–20 June PROGRESS HISTORICAL FICTION 16 Lumb Bank, Yorkshire 27 July–1 August 31 August–5 STARTING TO WRITE Tutors: Cathi Unsworth Totleigh Barton, Devon September A NOVEL & Alex Reeve p.48 Tutors: Amanda Smyth & The Hurst, Shropshire 11–16 May Richard Skinner p.52 Tutors: Diane Setterfield The Hurst, Shropshire & Andrew Taylor p.56 Tutors: Kerry Young & Tyler Keevil p.44
The Hurst, 20–25 April 29 SCI-FI AND FANTASY 33 EDITING FICTION 13 EDITING FICTION 14–19 September 19–24 October Shape, refine and polish your writing Lumb Bank, Yorkshire Totleigh Barton, Devon Tutors: Emma Newman & Tutors: Ailah Ahmed & An early draft of a novel or a collection of short stories is Gareth Powell p.57 Ayisha Malik p.61 inevitably a work-in-progress. It’s on its way, but how do you implement improvements to the words you’ve already 30 34 produced? Over the course of a week with an editor and SHORT STORY EDITING FICTION an author, learn how to step back from your own writing in 21–26 September TUTORED RETREAT order to shape, smooth and rearrange your first draft. You Totleigh Barton, Devon 2–7 November will be encouraged to explore your writing decisions and to Tutors: Tom Lee & Alison The Hurst, Shropshire navigate questions such as where did your characters grow MacLeod p.58 Tutors: Richard Beard & up? What’s your narrative arc? And, crucially – where do Arzu Tahsin p.62 31 you go from here? FICTION SHORT COURSE Nikesh Shukla is the author of three novels. 40 Mon to Thurs 28 His latest, The One Who Wrote Destiny, was 41 September–1 October published in 2018. His debut novel, Coconut The Hurst, Devon Unlimited, was shortlisted for the Costa Book Tutors: Emma Hooper & Award (First Novel). Nikesh is the editor of Jason Hewitt p.59 the bestselling essay collection The Good Immigrant. 32 FICTION Angelique Tran Van Sang is Commissioning 12–17 October Editor at Bloomsbury. She has worked with Lumb Bank, Yorkshire many bestselling and prize-winning fiction Tutors: Chibundu Onuzo authors including Kamila Shamsie and & Lucy Hughes-Hallett Georgina Harding, and her own authors p.60 include Jenny Zhang, Ashleigh Young and Alexander Chee. Guest Niki Chang is a literary agent at The Good Literary Agency. She works with a wide range of writers of both literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction from under- represented backgrounds.
27 April–2 May, Totleigh Barton Lumb Bank, Friday 8–Sunday 10 May 14 STARTING TO WRITE 15 FICTION SHORT COURSE FICTION Finishing it Finding the right direction It’s easy enough to start something, but not always so easy to get to the end of that daunting first draft. It seems Every writer, even the most experienced, finds the blank to be a common problem for writers, from those starting page daunting. How do I begin to make a start? This week out to those who are more experienced. How do you keep we’ll offer you the encouragement and inspiration to get motivated and keep your ideas on track – especially when going. In a supportive atmosphere of experiment and play, the demons of doubt and distraction come knocking? We we’ll help you focus on those aspects of fiction writing – will offer helpful advice and fun exercises to encourage you character, setting, point of view – that will help you discover to keep going. We’ll also be honest about the graft involved and develop your stories and your writing voice. in putting a novel together, and give you different ways of approaching the challenging but rewarding act of writing on Mark Haddon is the author of The Curious a daily basis. Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, A Spot of Bother and The Red House. He has also Emma Jane Unsworth is an award-winning 42 43 written for the stage, television and radio. His novelist and screenwriter. She adapted her latest novel, The Porpoise, is a response to novel Animals into a film, which premiered at Shakespeare’s Pericles. Sundance in 2019. Her third novel, Adults, will be published in February 2020. She is writing Jane Feaver is a novelist and short story a fourth novel, as well as adapting Adults for writer. Her books include According to Ruth, television. Love Me Tender and An Inventory of Heaven. Her memoir Crazy is due out in 2021. Jane is a Mark Watson is the acclaimed author of six senior lecturer at Exeter University. novels, including Eleven and Hotel Alpha. He is also an award-winning stand-up comedian. Guest Shahnaz Ahsan is the author of Hashim & Family. She is also an award-winning writer of short stories, has written a screenplay and writes articles on issues of multiculturalism, race, religion and society.
11–16 May, The Hurst Totleigh Barton, 11–16 May 16 STARTING TO WRITE 17 FICTION A NOVEL Tales of crisis, words of hope From your head to the page What stories will emerge from this era of ecological and This course will explore the essential aspects of starting to write social upheaval? What kind of fiction can include the a novel – finding and sustaining an authentic voice, creating natural world, of which the human story is only a part? rich characters and developing plot. You will look at what This course is for writers who feel challenged and inspired makes a narrative voice compelling for readers and how voice by the times ahead. We will consider old and new ways of can help to build character, drive plot and produce dramatic writing about our predicament – including dystopia, but tension. We will explore how dialogue can be made genuine also reaching beyond it, to a literature that inhabits and and purposeful. Working in a writing community for the week celebrates the Earth. will enable you to receive and give feedback in a supportive space. You will discover how dialogue can be used to generate Gregory Norminton is the author of two dramatic traction, and reflect on ‘What your story is about’ in story collections and five novels, most recently terms of the underlying message(s) of your narrative and how The Devil’s Highway. 44 to approach the development of your characters. We will help 45 you discover energy and inspiration to give your writing new Liz Jensen is the author of eight novels meanings and renewed vigour. including the Hollywood-adapted The Ninth Life of Louis Drax. Her work, which spans Kerry Young has written three novels, Pao, speculative and historical fiction, comedy Gloria and Show Me A Mountain. Her work has and psychological suspense, has appeared been short- or longlisted for the Costa First Novel in anthologies, been broadcast on radio, and Award, Commonwealth Book Prize, Bocas Prize translated into 20 languages. for Caribbean Literature and the East Midlands Book Award. Guest Ben Smith is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Plymouth University, specialising Tyler Keevil is a novelist, short story writer and in environmental literature. His first poetry Lecturer in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. pamphlet, Sky Burials, was published by He has received several awards for his work, Worple Press. Doggerland is his first novel. including the Journey Prize and the Wales Book of the Year People’s Prize. Guest Rosalind Stopps’ first novel was published at the age of 64, but five earlier ones never made it. She lives a life full of people and dogs.
25–30 May, The Hurst Totleigh Barton, 8–13 June 18 FICTION 19 EDITING A NOVEL Perspiration to inspiration Making writing work This course is for anyone who wants to get better at writing Are you close to finishing a manuscript? Maybe you’re fiction, from the complete beginner to someone with a stuck, or looking at a manuscript that somehow still doesn’t finished novel under their belt. Writing well means striking work? This course, led by a novelist and an editor, will a paradoxical balance between instinct and judgement. guide you through the necessary re-writing, re-thinking and The course will address both aspects: the spontaneous, revision from the beginning to the end of your novel. We’ll free, instinctive impulse towards self-expression; and also help you to understand the process of publication, the complementary need for understanding the goals from submission to a publisher or agent, through to the of storytelling. Together we will sharpen your sense of marketing of your book. We’ll help you sharpen and how a story works and discover that even the low points structure the story you want to tell, and use our experience – distraction, hopelessness, stuckness – can provide to provide a sounding board as to how readers might react invaluable assistance towards the final goal of truly finishing. to it. We say ‘the story you want to tell’, because ultimately it is your creation. 46 Marcel Theroux is a prize-winning writer 47 and broadcaster. He has published five Patricia Duncker is the author of six novels novels, most recently The Secret Books, has and two collections of short stories. Her work written a number of original screenplays, and includes Hallucinating Foucault and Sophie written and presented more than a dozen and the Sibyl. She is Professor Emeritus at the documentaries. University of Manchester. Jenny Parrott has worked at Bloomsbury, Richard Beswick is Publishing Director Little, Brown and HarperCollins and is currently at Little, Brown and Abacus. He has publishing director of the Point Blank literary commissioned and edited a range of fiction crime imprint at Oneworld. and non-fiction, working with writers including Beryl Bainbridge, Alexander McCall Smith, Guest Michael Donkor is the author of the Vikram Seth, Donna Tartt and Robert Winder. novel Hold, longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and shortlisted for the Guest Jo Unwin is a literary agent, previously Desmond Elliott Prize. at Conville and Walsh and currently Jo Unwin Literary Agency. She represents authors of literary fiction, commercial women’s fiction, comic writing and narrative non-fiction.
15–20 June, Lumb Bank The Hurst, 22–27 June 20 CRIME FICTION 21 SHORT STORY The killer inside you A miracle in a matchbox Are you duplicitous, deceptive, an evil mastermind hatching Short stories offer huge freedom for creative play and plans for world domination? Then crime fiction is for you! experimentation, but they require great discipline and The bestselling genre in the UK is a thriving place for all precision to make an emotional impact on the reader. manner of literary miscreants, from those that lurk in the Together we’ll explore the essential skills of great story dark corners of history to those who play the game for writing, including: how to come up with original ideas; how governments or make home the place where the horror to develop arresting core images; plots that grab a reader is. Our course will release your inner demons and turn and don’t let go; creating conflict and characters with depth; them into compelling fiction. We’ll explore different areas editing; and engineering powerful endings. We’ll lift the lid of the genre – hardboiled, historical, spy, domestic, police on examples of classic and contemporary short stories to procedural, detective, noir – and we'll look at how to explore the machinery that drives them. And through one- turn sources of inspiration into corking plots, compelling to-one tutorials, we’ll discuss practical solutions to take your characterisation and the forensic skill of editing. We’ll writing to the next level. Whether you’re a beginner or a be taking down your own particulars with one-to-one pro, a fantastical absurdist or a gritty realist, you’ll soon be 48 49 tutorials aimed at getting your work ready for the court of writing stories that will linger long in your readers’ minds. publication. Bring your cunning schemes, nerve and verve – the game’s afoot! Adam Marek is the award-winning author of two short story collections: Instruction Manual Cathi Unsworth is the author of six pop- for Swallowing and The Stone Thrower. His cultural noir novels, often based on real-life work has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and in The unsolved crimes, and Defying Gravity, the life Penguin Book of the British Short Story. and times of punk icon Jordan. Zoe Gilbert’s short stories have been Alex Reeve writes the Leo Stanhope novels. published widely, broadcast on BBC radio and He’s been a Richard and Judy Book Club pick won prizes including the Costa Short Story and shortlisted for both a CWA Dagger and an Award. Her first novel, Folk, was shortlisted for RSL Prize. the Dylan Thomas Prize 2019. Guest Alison Hennessey has worked in Guest Eley Williams’s collection of prose publishing for over 16 years and now runs the Attrib. and Other Stories won the Republic of Raven Books imprint at Bloomsbury. Consciousness Prize and the James Tait Black Prize 2018.
6–11 July, Lumb Bank Totleigh Barton, 13–18 July 22 EDITING FICTION 23 EXPERIMENTAL FICTION Make your writing sing Freedom and structure Once you’ve completed the first draft of your novel or Are you the kind of writer who feels exhilarated by taking short story, the hard but thrilling process of editing begins. risks? Do you feel curious about the possibilities of tight Aimed at writers who have completed a draft, this course restrictions, prompts, and looking at writing in a different will take you through the different facets of a great work way? Or are you simply interested in trying something out of and help you navigate some of the pitfalls common to new the ordinary? During this course we’ll explore what it means writers. Working with an author known for the precision to write experimentally, leaving our preconceptions behind, of his prose, and an experienced editor with in-depth and combining freedom with structure to create genuinely knowledge of the publishing industry, you will deepen your exciting work, whatever your goal. characters, trim dead weight from your plot, and fine-tune your sentences until they sing from the page. Approaching Toby Litt is the author of four books of short your writing with an open mind and fresh eyes, this course stories and 12 novels, including deadkidsongs will help you make your fiction as good as it can be, and and Patience. He runs the MFA in Creative give you the confidence and drive to do what it takes to 50 Writing at Birkbeck College. 51 write the best possible version of your work. We’ll invite you to send a short, polished extract and a synopsis before the course begins. Sophie Mackintosh is an award-winning short story writer and the author of The Water Cure, which was longlisted for the 2018 Man Cynan Jones is a prize-winning author whose Booker Prize. Her next novel, Blue Ticket, is work has been published in over 20 countries published in 2020. and in numerous publications including Granta magazine and the New Yorker. Guest Kevin Barry is the award-winning author of the novels Beatlebone and City of Anne Meadows is Editorial Director at Granta Bohane and the story collections Dark Lies the Books, where she works with a range of Island and There are Little Kingdoms. writers, from debut novelists to established, prize-winning authors. Guest Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is the author of Harmless Like You and Starling Days. She has won the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award.
27 July–1 August, Totleigh Barton The Hurst, 10–15 August 24 FICTION: 25 WRITING A NOVEL WORK-IN-PROGRESS Finding your voice and developing Reach wider and deeper in your fiction your story This course will equip you with a versatile set of writing This will be a lively week of productive experimentation, tools to deepen and widen the reach within your fiction. creative surprises and practical support as you work on Alternate workshops with Amanda and Richard will guide your novel. Suitable for both the shy beginner and the you on all aspects of the process: the importance of place more experienced writer, this course will stimulate your in an imagined world; the crucial difference between story imagination and help you to find your own unique style. and plot; creating strong, believable characters; and the We will give propulsion to your story and also provide the daunting questions when it comes to editing. Come with a tools to continue with your book once you’ve left The Hurst. work-in-progress and you will finish the course with a firmer Most of all, the week will be fun. idea of where to go next. Stephen May is the author of five novels Amanda Smyth’s first novel, Black Rock, including We Don’t Die of Love and Life! 52 won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger and Death! Prizes! He has been shortlisted for 53 was selected as an Oprah Winfrey summer the Costa Novel Award and the Guardian's Not read. Her short stories have appeared in the Booker Prize. New Writing, London Magazine, The Times Literary Supplement and been broadcast on Samantha Harvey is the author of four BBC Radio 4. She is currently writing her third novels, The Wilderness, All Is Song, Dear novel, Fortune. Thief and The Western Wind. Her novels have been short- and longlisted for various prizes Richard Skinner has published four books: including the Orange Prize, the Guardian First three novels and a book of non-fiction, Writing Book Award, the Walter Scott Prize, the Baileys a Novel. His work has been nominated for Women’s Prize and the Man Booker. prizes and is published in eight languages. Richard is Director of the Fiction Programme at Guest Gautam Malkani is author of the Faber Academy. 2018 novel Distortion. His debut novel was Londonstani and he spent 19 years as an editor Guest AL Kennedy is the author of 21 books: and journalist at the Financial Times. nine novels, six short story collections, three works of non-fiction and three books for children.
17–22 August, Lumb Bank Totleigh Barton, 31 August–5 September 26 FICTION 27 FICTION TUTORED RETREAT Give your writing a boost Make a deeper commitment to You’ve been writing, you’ve worked hard, and you’ve the writing life already taken several steps along your writing path. But Have you ever cheated on your novel? What does it take to now it’s time for a boost of inspiration and encouragement. get to the end of a long writing project in one piece, and still How can you take an unexpected event or overheard in love? Novels are like relationships; they take commitment, conversation, a word of advice or a strange sight, and and this course will help you conquer the self-doubt and spin them into the fabric of your fictional world? Together endless distraction that gets in the way of would-be stories we’ll find moments of insight, challenge and provoke with that the world might really need. Structured time alone writing exercises, and share experiences in this beautiful, with your project will be supported by the presence of other secluded place. Bring a notebook, your imagination, and people who are doing exactly the same thing as you are, a story to tell. and professional feedback will be on hand from seasoned writers who understand that the journey is tough but also Kirsty Logan is the author of two novels, The achievable. Participants are invited to send 1,000 words 54 Gloaming and The Gracekeepers, and two for us to read in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org by 55 story collections, A Portable Shelter and The Friday 31 July. Rental Heart. Tim Pears has written 11 novels, including Diana Evans is the multi-award-winning In the Place of Fallen Leaves (awarded the author of Ordinary People, The Wonder and Hawthornden Prize), Landed and the West 26a, and an Associate Lecturer in Creative Country Trilogy. Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Guest Mahsuda Snaith is a winner of the SI Chris Cleave’s award-winning novels have Leeds Prize and Bristol Short Story Prize. Her been published in 30 countries. His most novels include The Things We Thought We Knew recent novel, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, was and How to Find Home, which was read on published in 2016. BBC Radio 4. Guest Jessie Greengrass is the author of the short story collection An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It and the novel Sight, shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
31 August–5 September, The Hurst Lumb Bank, 14–19 September 28 HISTORICAL FICTION 29 SCI-FI AND FANTASY Inventing the past for readers Building fantastical worlds of tomorrow Science fiction and fantasy encompasses a dazzling array of potential worlds and stories. The scope is so wide it can How do you create a sense of time and place in the be hard to know where to begin. Designed for budding historical novel? Where do you draw the line between writers of SFF, this course gives you the tools to understand period language and modern readability? How much the opportunities these exciting genres can offer. This wriggle room is there where authenticity of character and includes specialised techniques such as world-building morality is concerned? Research is a creative boon – but and creation of magical and technological ‘systems’, and is it also a limitation? And what about dialogue? How a robust grounding in technical aspects of the craft – many ‘prithees’ do you actually need? In this course we will storytelling, character creation and writing style. Delivered consider a diversity of approaches to the genre to accelerate by two award-winning SFF authors, this course also gives your development as writers of historical fiction. the opportunity for you to examine and overcome your own writing blocks. Diane Setterfield is the bestselling author of 56 The Thirteenth Tale, Bellman & Black and Once 57 Emma Newman is an award-winning Upon a River. Her work has been adapted for writer of short stories, novels and novellas in TV (but the books are better). multiple speculative fiction genres, and also a professional audiobook narrator. Andrew Taylor is a bestselling crime and historical novelist. A triple winner of the Gareth Powell is a bestselling SF author. He Historical Dagger, he thinks, like Novalis, that has twice won the BSFA Award for Best Novel novels arise from the shortcomings of history. and his writing guide, About Writing, is an essential resource for aspiring authors. Guest Sara Collins is the author of the novel The Confessions of Frannie Langton. She has Guest Temi Oh graduated with a BSc in a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Neuroscience and went on to pursue an MA Cambridge University. in Creative Writing. Her novel Do You Dream of Terra-Two? was published by Simon and Schuster in January 2019.
21–26 September 2020, Totleigh Barton The Hurst, Mon 28 September–Thurs 1 October 30 SHORT STORY 31 FICTION SHORT COURSE Igniting the spark From first page to first draft On this course, you will explore the strategies and Have an idea for a novel but don’t quite know where to techniques short story writers often use to bring a story to start? Bringing stories, characters and whole worlds to life life. How do we as writers find that life-giving spark? What can be exhilarating; our imagination sparks with the endless are the dynamics that sustain the tension and the power of a possibilities and with the thrill of creating something magical short story, page by page? Why do stories sometimes seem and truly ours. However, when faced with that opening blank to fizzle out? What elements create the unique ‘charge’ of page, enthusiasm can falter. This short taster course will help a good story? We will explore openings and conclusions; you make the initial leap. We’ll teach you how to sustain the the art of revelation and compression; and the crafting of reader’s interest, create believable characters, find your voice, voice, dialogue and imagery. We will learn together from and, perhaps most importantly, help you stay motivated to published stories, and experiment with new approaches and get to ‘the end’. We’ll cover the basics of writing a novel and ideas. You will work with two experienced short story writers provide you with inspirational activities to ease the process, as who love the form, both its possibilities and its challenges. well as time to test out and develop your ideas. Whether you 58 are a complete novice or a short story writer looking to take 59 Tom Lee is the author of a collection of short on something more ambitious, this course will provide you stories, Greenfly, and a novel, The Alarming with practical tools and the self-belief to take those confident Palsy of James Orr. He teaches creative writing steps towards completing your first draft. at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Emma Hooper is the author of the Greenwich. internationally bestselling and award-winning Etta and Otto and Russell and James and Our Alison MacLeod’s last short story collection, Homesick Songs, with further publications in All the Beloved Ghosts, was shortlisted for Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the the Edge Hill Prize and Canada’s Governor Guardian and Elle magazine. General’s Award. Her most recent novel, Unexploded, was longlisted for the Booker Jason Hewitt’s debut novel The Dynamite Room Prize. was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize for new fiction, while Devastation Road was Guest Chris Power’s short story collection longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Mothers was published in 2018. His fiction has Fiction. He is also a playwright. appeared in Granta, The Stinging Fly and The White Review, and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
12–17 October, Lumb Bank Totleigh Barton, 19–24 October 32 FICTION 33 EDITING FICTION Bringing the imaginary to life From first draft to published work A world a reader can step into, believable characters and a How does the first draft become a published work? From compelling story: these are what most of us love about the editing your own first draft to working with a commissioning fiction that moves us. Join us in stimulating discussions, and editor, this course will explore character, plotting, setting and take part in writing exercises designed to explore narrative editing. It will explore when to cut and when to add, and voice, setting, character, dialogue and plot structure. Every how to trust your own instincts and your editor’s. Led by a novel or short story is unique, but every fiction writer is novelist and editor, the course will also look at the process of confronted with the same questions: what’s happening, submitting to agents and publishers, considering how and where, when and to whom, and who is telling the story? when to send your work out to the publishing industry. Bring your work-in-progress for editorial advice, or come prepared to write your first fiction with the tutors’ expert Ayisha Malik is author of the critically guidance and support. acclaimed Sofia Khan series and the novel This Green and Pleasant Land, and is the 60 Chibundu Onuzo is the author of The Spider ghostwriter for Great British Bake Off winner 61 King’s Daughter and Welcome to Lagos and is Nadiya Hussain. She is a WH Smith Fresh a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Talent pick, and has also been shortlisted for The Asian Women of Achievement Award and Lucy Hughes-Hallett has written a novel, Marie Claire’s Future Shapers’ Awards. Peculiar Ground, and a collection of short stories. Her biography The Pike: Gabriele Ailah Ahmed is Editorial Director of Little, D’Annunzio won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Brown and Virago Press. She publishes critically Duff Cooper Prize and the Costa Biography acclaimed novelists Andrew Sean Greer Award. (winner of the Pulitzer Prize) and Chigozie Obioma (shortlisted for the Booker Prize). The Guest Stuart Turton’s The Seven Deaths first half of her career was spent at Canongate of Evelyn Hardcastle won the Books Are My Books where she published Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale Bag Readers Award for Best Novel and was for the Time Being (shortlisted for the Booker). shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Guest Sam Copeland is an agent and director at Rogers, Coleridge and White. His writers have won or been shortlisted for over 20 major prizes, including the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
2–7 November, The Hurst POETRY 34 EDITING FICTION TUTORED RETREAT Nothing is sacred Whether you have been edited before or this is your first experience of showing your work to a professional, we aim to share our enthusiasm for editing as an indispensable and inspiring part of the writing process. Whatever stage the material is at, every edit can be seen as a mini creative writing course, improving instincts for pacing, setting, drama and characterisation. Nothing is sacred and editing is always a creative act. We’ll help hone those tricky early chapters, as well as identifying the key areas of your novel which need the most attention. Participants are invited to send 1,500 words to email@example.com by Friday 2 October for the tutors to 62 read in advance. 63 Richard Beard’s six novels include Lazarus is Dead, Dry Bones and Damascus, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His most recent novel Acts of the Assassins was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and his memoir The Day That Went Missing won the 2018 PEN Ackerley Award. Arzu Tahsin has over 25 years of editorial experience, most recently as Publishing Director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson. She has published prize-winning authors including Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner), Malala Yousafzai (I Am Malala) and Téa Obreht (The Tiger’s Wife). Guest Claire Adam won the Desmond Elliott Prize 2019 for her debut novel Golden Child.
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