Two new day classes at Winchester Discovery Centre

The new What’s On brochure is out for the Discovery Centre here in Winchester, and I’m pleased to have two workshops in it. Here’s some more about them both; please email me if you’d like to know any more .

Booking for both is through the Discovery Centre Box Office on 01962 873603. There will also be online booking via the What’s On page – they haven’t yet (as of 31st August) put the new brochure’s events up, but they will do eventually!


The Poetry Toolkit

Saturday 19th November, 10-4, £20 (£15 concessions)

After having done two years’ worth of poetry workshops at the DC on either specific themes – from Love to Recycling via Nature – or on particular aspect of poetic technique, such as Form and Redrafting, I thought I’d like run a day which will put it all together. I’ll be taking you through an overview of the whole poetic process, including:

  • finding and developing ideas;
  • different ways to tackle a first draft;
  • making form, voice, imagery, and sound work for you, not against you;
  • approaches to editing.

My aim is to help anyone who has written some poetry – from only a few attempts to years of scribbling – and who now feels that they could do with some practical, powerful tools to help them write with more confidence. But the topics I’ll be covering are far from basic: they are the meat and drink of all poets, so the day should give you techniques that will be useful to you for as long as you want to keep writing poetry.



Writing Flash Fiction

Saturday 3rd December, 10-4, £20 (£15 concesssions)

I’m particularly pleased to be offering this workshop, as  it’s a chance for me to bring my fiction teaching to the DC for the first time. (I teach fiction all the time in my work for the Open University and Winchester University, so don’t worry, I do know what I’m doing!) And I’m looking forward to covering Flash Fiction in particular, not just because it has close affinities with poetry, but because it is a becoming an ever-more important part of the literary scene in the UK.

In case you don’t know, Flash Fiction means very short stories: rarely more than 1000 words, often much shorter. They are ideally suited to the internet age, and there is a growing army of webzines, journals, anthologies, and prizes that recognise and publish them. The Bridport has a Flash Fiction section, for example, with a prize of £1000. So they’re a serious way to build your writer’s CV.

And the benefits aren’t just in publication. Despite its diminutive size, good flash fiction still demands from its writer all the foundations of good story writing: in-depth characterisation, evocative setting, even control of narrative structure. So writing it is a great way to hone those skills, and to make sure that you can keep writing even when you don’t have ideas or time for longer work. And finally, for those beginning fiction, it’s a great entry point, allowing you to experiment over and over again.

So whether you are a fiction writer wanting to develop your skills, a poet looking for a new challenge, or a novice in search of an unthreatening way to start writing, I hope you’ll join me for the day, when I’ll be covering the essentials you need to know to write good ‘Flash’.

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