Course Review Letter:
‘The Arvon short-story course taught by Laura Hird and Susie Maguire (with guest reader A.L. Kennedy) was one of the most inspiring, motivating and, basically downright brilliant, weeks of my life.  At the beginning of the course, I had very little confidence in my own writing ability and I felt embarrassed about sharing my work with other writers.  However, by the end of the week, I was functioning like a professional writer: I talked about my work with ease, and with greater insight, in a group setting; I performed my stories with enjoyment instead of being squashed by self-consciousness; and I approached the idea of publication as a serious, and attainable, goal.  Without the grant, I could not have done this.


Apart from the encouragement and support from the other writers, the tutors also helped me to take the next steps forward in my writing journey:  I came away from the course able to approach new genres that I hadn’t previously thought about attempting; I became more confident with elements of the craft that used to trip me up i.e. dialogue, pacing, and plot. I also came to the course expecting to work on short stories and came home with ideas for, and the start of, a linked collection.  The tutors gave me incredibly useful advice that I will take with me for the rest of my writing life.  They were brilliant and funny and they, the other writers, and the Moniack Mhor staff, were a pleasure to spend the week with.  I would dearly love to come back in the future.

In giving me all of the above, the bursary played a vital role in me taking myself seriously as a writer. I would like to convey my greatest thanks for allowing me to attend. Without your help, I would still be stuck in my bedroom feeling like a failure.  Instead, I have a daily writing practice, the motivation and confidence to complete my current writing project, I’ve sent work out for submission, and I now wear my writer’s hat with pride.

As the Moniack Mhor leaflet says, ‘The only way to improve your writing is to write’.  Thanks to the grant, I now do this every day with a renewed sense of faith in myself.  Thank you so much for everything.

All best wishes,

NB: The grants for 2014 are now closed, but applications for next year are open from January 2015. 🙂