Escape to a beautiful place where you can free your imagination and let your writing off the leash. Get the best from the best writers: Arvon tutors love teaching as much as they love writing. Hone your craft with an inspirational mix of workshops and one-to-one tutorials.

Short Courses

Humanities (1)



Arvon was founded in 1968 by two poets, John Moat and John Fairfax, with the original aim of providing time and space away from school for young people to write poetry. John Moat wrote that they were inspired to create Arvon “as a place where individuals, and in particular young committed writers, could be given a sanctuary away from the creative deprivation imposed by the system of standard education.


Our writing centres have a relaxed, friendly and informal atmosphere – they’re not hotels, they are your home for a week.

The courses run from Monday afternoon to Saturday morning. Most Arvon weeks follow this structure (although retreats are a little different):

  • Each morning the tutors lead workshops to help you explore writing ideas, forms and techniques.
  • Afternoons are your time for writing and one-to-one tutorials. You’ll have two tutorials, one with each tutor during the week, to consider your writing in depth.
  • On Tuesday evening the tutors will read from their own work.
  • On Wednesday evening a guest speaker will join the group.
  • On Friday evening the group gets together to share and celebrate their work.
  • The week comes to a close on Saturday morning, after breakfast.


One of the most important things about the Arvon experience is being able to be mentored by writers at the top of their profession and to really get down to the nitty gritty of writing. Here’s a few examples of what our alumni went on to do aftyer attending an Arvon course:

Costa Book Award winner Andrew Miller came on an Arvon course when he was 18 and his tutor was Angela Carter. Pat Barker and Maggie Gee were also taught on Arvon courses by Angela Carter. Tim Firth was on a course taught by Willy Russell when he was 18 and has gone to write very successfully for theatre and television with credits including Calendar Girls. He also often teaches with Willy now.


Housing services

An Arvon Centre is your home for the week. The accommodation is not luxurious like a hotel, but rather deliberately simple, comfortable and clean. The Centre staff will be your hosts, ensuring a relaxed, friendly and informal atmosphere.

Each house has its own unique character, and centre accommodation varies, but the majority of our bedrooms are single rooms. At The Hurst all bedrooms are single rooms with ensuite bathrooms. At Totleigh Barton there are two shared rooms, at Lumb Bank one, with all remaining rooms single, and bathrooms are shared with up to three other writers, usually fewer. Each room has a writing desk. We provide sheets and towels.

ICT services

Mobile phone reception is poor at some of the centres, but there is a payphone in each house. We do not provide an internet connection or wifi – so there is nothing to distract you from your writing!

London, England, United Kingdom