Bolton School Senior Girls

Lake District Retreat for Creative Writing Girls

Eighteen Girls’ Division students from Years 9-12 at Bolton School enjoyed a half-term Creative Writing Retreat at Patterdale Hall, the School’s outdoor adventure learning centre in the Lake District. The group focused on short stories, flash fiction, modern sonnets and landscape poetry. Whole group workshops in the mornings where tutors provided writing prompts and guidance were followed by free time in the afternoons when girls could polish work, read, go for walks or attend one to one tutorials. 

The two tutors were Dr Peter Sansom, a highly respected and well-known poet, and Chris Walking, a qualified lawyer and published author (their full biographies can be read below). 

Course Coordinator, Mrs Kingsford, said: “The tutors, each eminent in their field, were superb mentors to the girls, both in the group workshops and the one-to-one sessions. They contributed to the calm and happy atmosphere which allowed the girls to feel comfortable enough to take risks and think creatively. The close prose editing provided by Chris would help any humanities student to improve the concision and precision of their writing. He commented the girls produced some of the best work he’s seen in such a context.  The girls all enjoyed it immensely. Of course the setting is stunning and we were lucky enough to have fine weather on two days, when we enjoyed one of Wordsworth's favourite walks, with a guide from the Wordsworth Trust, and a short steamer trip on Ullswater with a walk to the waterfall at Aira Force.” 

Echoing many other students’ views, Khadijah, reflected: “I have really enjoyed the writing retreat and will definitely be returning next year! I can really see the difference in how my writing has developed as the week progressed. Visiting Dove Cottage, seeing the scenery and going on the same walks as renowned writer William Wordsworth was such an advantage and I found it extremely motivating. The Writing Retreat was an absolute privilege to go on and I'm so glad I decided to attend.”

Dr Peter Sansom                                                                                               

Peter has been a Fellow in poetry at the universities of Manchester and Leeds, is the co-director of the Poetry Business in Sheffield and is the co-editor of Smith Doorstop Books and The North magazine.

He is a highly respected and well-known poet and tutor, with many years’ experience teaching both adults and children.

Chris Walking

Chris is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow for the universities of Bristol and the West of England. He is a qualified lawyer, has published six novels, and has assisted over 50 schools as a writing tutor.

He is a highly skilled novelist and coach, having guided many adult writers towards successful publication in his work with Curtis Brown. 

The retreat was hugely enjoyed by the girls

The retreat was hugely enjoyed by the girls

The group enjoyed a short trip on an Ullswater Steamer

Dr Peter Sansom helped develop the girls' poetical writing skills