Creative Writing In Chiswick and Umbria

Two new courses by well known author Celia Brayfield

Creative Writing Course

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Creative Writing In Chiswick - An 8-week course with Celia Brayfield from Tuesday April 20 to Tuesday June 9 at St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall, Chiswick.


The course is suitable for anyone who would like to learn or practice imaginative prose writing - short stories, a novel or personal memoir. It is designed to build confidence in beginning writers and offer more experienced students the opportunity to expand their skills and enjoy the motivation of a weekly class. All you need is a working knowledge of English and a small amount of time for a reading or writing assignment each week.


A friendly and informal course which will combine short seminars, discussion and writing exercises with some home assignments. Each evening will comprise two 45-minute sessions with a break at half time for refreshments. You will need something to write with in class – pen and paper or a laptop.


Whether you have serious ambitions or simply want to explore your love of writing, the course will give you confidence, stimulate your imagination and help you to write more effectively in everyday life. Some writers have found previous courses a useful extension of work on university or evening classes, others have enjoyed it as an introduction to the subject.

The course content will include:
• Expanding your ideas
• Contemporary short fiction
• Imagining characters
• Writing from life experience
• Using research
• Form, structure and narrative
• Writing dialogue
• Choosing and using a point-of-view
• Working out a theme
• Reading as a writer
• Getting published and building your writing profile
• Finding and approaching a literary agent

Within this framework, there will be flexibility to design a course according to the interests and needs of the students. There is no reading list for the course, but there will be suggestions for helpful further reading. At the end of the course most people have completed a short story or a short memoir of between 600 and 2500 words.

The course has run on an occasional basis for the past five years. Some students are regulars but new writers join us every year, so the groups include complete beginners as well as experienced writers. Many writers have continued to study with other local groups and an university at MA and PhD level. In 2009, two of our writers were offered places on the novel writing course run by Faber & Faber. Some members now have agents, have won awards and published short fiction or memoirs - we’re just waiting for our first published novel.

Who with?

Celia Brayfield is a well-known author who has written nine novels, including three international best-sellers, and two comedies set in Westwick, a fictional London suburb based on Chiswick. Her non-fiction includes an account of her grown-up gap year in France, and Bestseller, a widely-praised guide to narrative construction and popular fiction. At various times, four of her novels have been optioned by major film or TV companies. She also writes regularly for many newspapers and magazines. As a writing tutor, she has mentored many new writers, both privately and since 2006 as the Director of the Creative Writing Programme at Brunel University in west London. This uniquely industry-friendly programme will celebrate its first published novelists and poet in 2010. You can find Celia’s most recent books on


From Tuesday April 20 2010 at 7.15 to 9pm. Doors open 7pm.

June 13 – 18 2010

This is a writing break, a short holiday designed to offer you a balance between solitude and company, between workshops and relaxation, between sharing your love of literature with a like-minded group and getting the deep peace to take your writing to a new level.

I first stayed at Prato di Sotto ten years ago and was captivated by its spectacular setting among the olive groves of a hillside in the upper Tiber valley and its atmosphere of comfort and relaxation.

It has always been an inspiring place in which to write, for me and for other authors. My daughter and I have returned every year since then and, as many guests do, become friends of the owner, Penny Radford. We had often talked about organising a writing week there and this year everything seems in place to make it happen.

The Plan

Sunday June 13
Arrive, settle in, introductory reading session late afternoon, dinner as a group

Monday June 14
Morning seminar, afternoon tutorial or free, early evening workshop, evening free

Tuesday June 15
Morning seminar, afternoon tutorial or free, early evening workshop, evening free

Wednesday June 16
A free day – join the group for a visit to Perugia or stay home and write.

Thursday June 17
Morning seminar, afternoon tutorial or free, early evening plenary workshop, dinner as a group

Friday June 18
Return to London

The Setting

Prato di Sotto is a complex of converted farm buildings in Umbria, a wild, hilly area called “the green heart of Italy”. Read more at

It’s about 1000 feet up Monte Corona, among olive groves and overlooking a mediaeval village, in excellent walking country. Perugia, and the nearest airport, is about 40 minutes drive away, as are the lovely Renaissance towns of Assisi and Gubbio, and Lake Trasimeno. The nearest centre is the small but thriving market town, Umbertide, which is about 10 minutes drive away down a white road.

In April we can promise you spectacular natural beauty, with wild flowers under the olive trees and birds singing in the forests. This is considered on of the best months to visit Umbria and Tuscany, as the temperature (daily max usually in the high teens) is comfortable for walking or sightseeing and the major attractions aren’t mobbed. But this is a mountainous region so the weather can be

The Accommodation

As you’ll see from the web site, Prato di Sotto has two small units, a cottage and a studio, ideal for couples or one person alone. The main farm house is divided into two apartments. These are spacious, very well equipped and for the most part arranged with en-suite bathrooms.

What’s Included

We have considered that you might like to share the break with a non-writing partner, and worked out the prices to include:

• Accommodation at Prato di Sotto – see below
• Transfers to and from Perugia airport
• A welcome pack of essentials like bread, butter, milk and wine
• Teaching on four days, as in The Plan
• Transport to Perugia for a day trip on Wednesday
• Dinner on Sunday and Thursday evenings
• Maid service during your stay
• Concierge stuff – we can shop for you, book restaurants or advise on everything from good walks to the Piero della Francesca tour

If you would prefer to treat your stay simply as a writing retreat with the option of congenial company, book as a “non-writing partner” – we will shop for you, cook for you and leave you alone most of the time!

What’s Not Included

• Air travel – Ryanair fly directly to Perugia from Stanstead and the round trip is currently just under £80
• Extra nights’ accommodation – if you’d like to stay longer, contact Penny and she can arrange this: or 00 39 075 94 17 383
• Car hire – we’ve planned the week so you won’t need a car, but of course you’re welcome to organise this independently
• Cost of your shopping
• Honour bar tab
• Please note that internet access is limited because there’s no broadband on Monte Corona. Umbertide and Pierantonio, the nearest towns, both have internet cafes.


The smallest viable number for us is four writers – the largest possible would be ten writers.

The Prices

Writer sharing twin room in shared apartment - £685
Non-writing partner in double/twin room in shared apartment - £585
Single writer in double room in shared apartment - £780
Single writer in private apartment £880
Non-writing partner in private apartment £750

How to Book

To book, please send a deposit of 50% of the total cost to me, Celia Brayfield, at Brook Cottage, Cuxham, Watlington, OX49 5NF, with a note or an email confirming your requirements. We strongly recommend booking your flights at the same time, as Ryanair’s rates rise as the day of the flight approaches. I will send you a confirmation note and receipt – the balance should then be paid by May 15.


March 3, 2010