This course is now fully booked. If you’d like to be put on the waiting list, please send an email via the contact page. This course will also run again next summer. Keep an eye on this site for further details.
8th – 10th November 2019
Boghill Centre, County Clare, Ireland
This weekend has inspired me to be a better and more relevant writer … Paul’s passion for wildness and stories has encouraged me to approach the craft with a true sense of freshness – dew in my toes and mulch in my fingers! A terrific experience.
Dan James, Rewild Your Words attendee, August 2018
Retreat for two days and two nights to the hazel and limestone wilds of the Irish west. Spend the days with other writers, learning, writing, talking. Let the weather and the wilds and the old spirits in the hedgerows and the streams have their way with you. What will be the impact on your words?
This is a weekend-long course for writers of any kind, with any level of experience, who want to re-inject some of the spirit of nature into their work. In a time in which our lives are increasingly tamed, monitored, controlled and urbanised, our words and our stories are in danger of going the same way. Our writing may be in danger of becoming too safe – and perhaps a little too human.
I found the course incredibly helpful, much more so than I expected, and many things have crystallized for me over the past two days …
Satya Moses, Rewild Your Words attendee, August 2018
What does writing look like when it is exposed to the wildness outside our bubble of convenience? What do the beaches and the hedgerows and the winds have to teach us about what we could do with our stories and our style? How could your writing benefit from letting some more ragged, messy, natural energy come in and toy with it?
Some writing courses focus on making your writing as professional, accessible and saleable as possible. They will teach you about presentation, about genre and about how to give ‘the market’ what it wants. Maybe they’ll even offer you tips on how to write letters to agents and publishers. This is all useful stuff. On this weekend we will be doing none of it.
Instead, this course will aim to help you uncivilise your writing. We will send you outside, to walk through whatever the landscape throws at you, in search of stories. We will teach you to write from the point of view of an oak or a seagull; to build stories around images; to incorporate mythological thinking into your writing; pay close, silent attention to the small things around you; write with all your senses fully engaged; to rediscover old ways of seeing; and generally to loosen up your over-civilised style.
With the help of writers from Robert Graves to Black Elk, D. H. Lawrence to Annie Dillard, Mary Oliver to Li Po, this weekend will give you permission to write what you need to write, not what you think you ought to. And we will focus, together, on the role which the non-human world – the world of nature – plays in informing your writing; whether you know it or not.
This course is open to writers in all genres and styles – novelists, poets, non-fiction writers and others – and to any level of experience, or none. All are welcome.
Location and travel
This will be an intense, busy but fun weekend, made up of teaching sessions, exercises, storytelling, good food and drink, time spent outside and time to write and/or relax with other writers.
The venue for the course is The Boghill Centre in County Clare, Ireland. Nestled in the heart of the Burren, one of Western Europe’s most remarkable natural landscapes, Boghill is welcoming but remote. You’ll be sleeping in bunk rooms, and wifi will not be on tap. That’s part of the point. But there’ll be good vegetarian meals in the evenings, outdoor fires if the weather holds, a convivial atmosphere and the chance to mingle with other writers in one of the most beautiful spots in the west of Ireland.
The course runs from the evening of Friday 8th November until after lunch on Sunday 10th. You will need to be at Boghill by dinnertime on the Friday. The venue is around 3.5 hours drive from Dublin, and one hour from Shannon airport. Full travel details and directions will be provided when you book, as will a kit list of what to bring with you (you’ll need boots and a raincoat…)
Cost and booking
Prices include food, bedding and accommodation from Friday dinner until Sunday lunch, inclusive.
Hostel room: €320
Single room (4 available): €340
Twin room (4 available): €340 (per person)
The course is limited to a maximum of 15 people.
To secure a place, I ask for a non-refundable 50% deposit, which can be paid through Paypal or by bank transfer. To book a place, or if you have any questions about the course, please send me an email.