Arvon – a life changing experience

By Hannah Parsons, Teacher of English

Over the Easter holidays, 14 students took the journey to Totleigh Barton in Devon for a week’s creative writing course. After the first night of adjusting to a beautiful but spooky pre-Doomsday farmhouse, we settled down to a rhythm of creative writing workshops in the morning, tutorials in the afternoon and poetry readings in the evening. Hannah Pool, a journalist for The Guardian, led workshops in prose writing, journalism and memoir; Caroline Bird, a mesmerizingly talented and inspirational poet led the poetry activities. On the Wednesday evening, The Times journalist, Sathnam Sangheram answered questions about how he wrote his first novel, and his experiences of it being adapted into a BBC film. From very early on we felt like a family: Nick Gleed cooked breakfast in the morning, Harley Mitford (6.1) played Elton John songs on the piano in the barn, and everybody took turns with the cooking and the washing up. In such a laid-back atmosphere we quickly became comfortable reading our work to each other. Many have said that Arvon is a life-changing experience – it was, but you probably had to be there!

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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