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From the serenity of the valley to the inspirational atmosphere of the Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank, the young writer's retreat was a life-changing experience for all who were involved. It was an unforgettable experience that every young writer should have.
The young writer's retreat was a week spent in the Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank, Yorkshire. It involved writing sessions in the morning of each day as well as an approximate ten minute tutorial with one of two great writers- Caroline Bird and Yemisi Blake. These workshops and tutorials have had a great influence on my writing. I saw my work from a different perspective - with more clarity.
There was plenty of time during the week dedicated to writing; and we also took advantage of the Lumb Bank Centre Library in the Arvon Centre; a solitary room filled with fantastic books and a view from the window so beautiful it's breathtaking. The week in Arvon whisked me away from ordinary distractions of my busy lifestyle; college, homework, chores - the typical things that occupy a young person's time. It was a great escape to what can only be described as a peaceful haven, allowing me to spend a lot more time writing, as well as a lot more time reading.
I found myself venturing to the library on numerous occasions, picking up various books that interested me. The tutors recommended books to me that I did in fact have time to read, due to the conditions of the retreat (there was no internet). These books have definitely provided me with new ideas for my writing whilst being a pleasure to read, after all, as a teenager studying International Baccalaureate; it's very rare that I find the time to read books which aren't on the syllabus - I think it's safe to assume that this is the case for A-level students as well!
Evenings in the barn of the Ted Hughes Arvon Centre proved inspiring on all levels. Listening to our tutors read out their own writing gave the impression that anything was possible and anything can be achieved as we heard about how they got to where they are today! Listening to someone who had a different style of writing on one evening also proved illuminating as it showed to us an alternative method of reading - graphic novels - and it proved to us that there are many paths into writing careers, we just need to read, write and have confidence.
There was a 'Covers' night, which entailed everyone reading out some writing from a poet or author that they admired. It gifted everyone with the confidence boost needed to perform their own pieces of writing the next evening - everyone read out something they'd been working on throughout the week - it was truly a celebratory evening.
Reading books throughout the week provided me with entertainment, peace and inspiration. Reading my own writing out during workshops and performances provided me with more confidence, giving a sense of fulfilment and pride. Hearing other young writers, tutors and guest readers read out their work made me realise that I connected with these people and formed new-lasting friendships with stronger bonds than that of a friendship with someone I may have known for five years.
The balance of reading and writing completes an Arvon week making it the most unique and life-changing writing course I've ever participated in.
Read pieces of creative writing from other volunteers who attended the Arvon course on our social reporters page.
If you're aged 11-19 years and you'd like to write a piece for our website get in touch with Robert Sommerlad.
Interested in building your CV through volunteering or like the idea of meeting new friends whilst helping out at your local library? Find out more about our young people's programmes and what you can do for yourself and for your local community.