Heading to Criccieth …

for the Readers’ Retreat

A week of stories and  poetry

Tomorrow, Sunday November 24th, Hilary and I head off to Criccieth for a week-long Readers Retreat at Ty Newydd, the house of Lloyd George, now the home of the National Writers Centre for Wales.

In the good old days (we started Readers Retreats in 2009) the retreat used to be just that – a time for reading and writing and walking and lots and lots of quiet. These days though – participants are likely to turn up with work they need to do, or they might go exploring the Lleyn Peninsular, or even hitting the charity shops in Criccieth or Portmadoc. However they choose to use their free time though, it’s up to me to create and hold a space where permission is explicitly given to do what they want to do. And hopefully, as the week progresses, the pace will slow down, the days will lengthen, books will find their way into all our conversations, and a temporary, but intentional, community will evolve.

As for me – I’m taking a huge bag of books (even though there is a to-die-for poetry library in the house!); my headphones and music so I can practise my circle dancing for a class I need to teach when I get back; all of my Christmas poetry books so I can put together the programme of reading for the Christmas Poetry Special on December 19th in Clungunford church, and random other poetry books so I can make my selection of poems I want to read at our Poetry Breakfasts in Much Wenlock, at the Poetry Pharmacy in Bishops Castle and at Aardvark Books. Busy? Yes! Happy? Yes!

All the rooms have space to write and work, and there are communal (silent) work spaces too – like the beautiful Literature Lounge …

But quite a lot of our time is spent like this …

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