Words Away aims to bring writers together in a creative environment to explore the writing process. We hold monthly salons at the Tea House Theatre Cafe, in London and host creative writing retreats at Rathfinny Wine Estate, East Sussex. Through our Salons we offer a focused exploration on a particular topic with a chance to exchange ideas and ask questions in a friendly setting.
Be inspired. Develop and nurture your craft. Meet other writers. Please join us, all welcome.
Words Away creative writing salons concentrate on the writing process. Run by writers Kellie and Emma, every month we will invite a guest author to join you, the audience, in discussing a particular topic in writing, a genre, or a question of craft.
Over tea, cake and a glass of wine, we’ll explore the challenges and opportunities, the difficulties and joys of writing, and the reality of being a writer. We hope you’ll come and join us. The Salons are held once a month on a Monday evening, 7.30pm at the Tea House Theatre, 139 Vauxhall Walk, London, SE11 5HL.
Words Away invites you to join award-winning author and teacher Emma Darwin on a tutored creative writing retreat staying at the Flint Barns on the Rathfinny Wine Estate, Alfriston, Sussex in 2018
However much you love writing, and whatever your goals are, it can be so hard to clear the time, not to mention the mental and physical space, to get down to it. Words Away at Rathfinny offers you the chance to write in peace and to explore and develop your skills, in a supportive group of like-minded people. You should leave with new skills and understanding, renewed energy and enthusiasm, and maybe even the seeds of a new story or two.
I always feel a little nervous and excited before a Words Away salon. Striding through Vauxhall Gardens the other night, en route to our recent event with Sara Grant, I saw a group of men with big muscles engaged in a tug-o-war. They even had a coach shouting instructions on the sidelines. I stopped to watch for a minute and wondered if I could wrangle a useful metaphor out of the encounter for the blog. A few minutes later I arrived at our venue, the Tea House Cafe, to find a Cornish Crabber beached beside the outdoor furniture. Metaphors were popping up all over the place! Or perhaps they were omens. Would tonight be a struggle or smooth sailing?
Thinking ahead to our Writing for Children and Young Adults salon with Sara Grant, I had a chat this morning with my eighteen year old daughter. She’s child number three, the baby of the family - still in the nest but only just. Knee deep in revision for A2 exams later this summer, she was only too glad to take a break and talk about the books she loved at various stages of her life and why.
I had a moment of confusion last Monday night, wondering if it’s too soon to ditch my heavy winter jacket and scarf. So what a pleasure it was, to step out in the early evening with the sun shining. I cut through Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to find Tea House customers once again enjoying afternoon tea outside. What difference a month makes! Maybe I imagined it, but I’m sure everyone arrived smiling for our Writing Historical Fiction salon. Then again, maybe that was all down to our guest writer, Essie Fox.
I followed the ghost of myself all around town, pointing out places and telling stories about the long last past to my increasingly disinterested family. There was something elemental and poignant about revisiting the haunts of my childhood - swimming in the same ocean, listening to the boom of the surf from bed at night.
It's 3.45am local time here in Australia. Jet lagged and unable to sleep, I'm staying at my parent's house in the Blue Mountains. Outside, crickets and frogs are singing in the night. I'm in the dining room, trying to be quiet, working on the remembrance speech I've been asked to write and read for my father's funeral on Friday.
According to Oscar Wilde, there's only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. I found myself thinking about this as the bus bumped and lurched along Camberwell New Road toward Vauxhall last Monday night. I was looking forward to meeting our salon guest, Ruth Ware, a former book publicist and New York Times bestselling thriller writer...
Yesterday, I stopped for a latte at F*ckoffee, a cafe, on hip and happening Bermondsey Street. They even gave me a loyalty card and stamped it. Surrounded by young urban types I cast an eye over the Mavis Gallant story, The Ice Wagon Going Down The Street, from her Paris Stories collection. I'd read the story earlier as prep for a short story masterclass run by the Word Factory, with the brilliant writer, Tessa Hadley.
Last Monday, on a bitterly cold January night, I made my way across Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens toward the lights of Tea House Theatre Cafe. I was a bit nervous and excited as I’d been looking forward to our salon with the amazing Stella Duffy for months. She’d kindly offered to come along as a Words Away guest after I’d met her last year at a reading of her novel, London Lies Beneath, at Camberwell Library .
Yesterday, alongside a friend, I went on a march for the first time in my life. We novices joined an estimated 100,000 people, on the first day of Donald Trump's administration, for The Woman's March London in support of women's rights and equality for all. It was part of a global day of action across 15 British and Irish cities and 161 counties worldwide. And it was brilliant!
The past year has been one of enormous change in every sense. The world's in flux. On a personal level too, there's been all sorts of readjustments. The future feels uncertain and time is precious. It’s easy to get caught up, weighed down and paralized. I can’t change my ways. I’ll always be a bit of a shambles with hoarding tendencies. But what’s a new year for, if not for renewal, hope and good intentions.