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Our Fiction and Poetry Workshops

March 7, 2012

Would you like to be inspired to write creatively in the surroundings of Jane Austen’s Chawton home? You may not be aware that the Museum has, for some time, run  Workshops for writers at the Museum and we would be delighted to see more of you at these interesting, friendly and above all, inspiring events.

The fiction workshops are led by the author, Rebecca Smith, pictured below.

Rebecca’s published works include The Bluebird Café, Happy Birthday and All That and A Bit of Earth. She teaches creative writing at Southampton University…and is also the great, great, great, great, great niece of Jane Austen 😉

The workshops focus on the Museum’s theme of the year, and this year it is “At Home with the Austens”.

The next workshop will be held on the 10th March and the subject will be “Writing the Domestic Life (and balancing your own)” something Jane Austen understood well, for, as she declared in her letter to her sister, Cassandra Austen dated the 16th September 1816:

I often wonder how you can find time for what you do, in addition to the care of the house; and how good Mrs. West could have written such books and collected so many hard works, with all her family cares, is still more a matter of astonishment! Composition seems to me impossible with a head full of joints of mutton and doses of rhubarb.

Rebecca runs very interesting, well-paced workshops, and caters for all ability levels. You can be a complete beginner or an accomplished writer, it really does not matter: Rebecca will encourage you all. Importantly, there is never any pressure, just lots of support, and the opportunity to meet with like-minded souls and share ideas. Most of the attendees of these workshops love the way Rebecca structures the day, the way she adapts her advice to different writing styles, and how she incorporates readings and incidents from Jane Austen’s life to illustrate the ideas for all the writing tasks. Below, you can see everyone working hard at the last workshop, which was held on the subject of “Collecting Your People Delightfully” -:finding characters & plot in your own life:

In addition to the Fiction Workshops on  the 28th April there will be a Poetry Workshop on the theme of  Observing Friends and Family. This will be run by Robyn Bolam, whose poetry collections, published by Bloodaxe, are The Peepshow Girl (1989), Raiding the Borders (1996), and New Wings: Poems 1977-2007 (2007). Her poems have also been published in numerous anthologies and have been broadcast on radio and television.

A place on one of these workshop days costs £20 each (£17.50 concessions). Do bring a packed lunch with you, and you can enjoy it in the wonderful garden if the weather is fine! If you would like to reserve a place on any or all of the workshops then please do telephone the museum on 01420 83262 or email

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Field permalink
    March 8, 2012 1:55 am

    Ah man, I’d love to cross the pond for that! I’m so jealous!

    • jfwakefield permalink*
      March 8, 2012 9:56 am

      And we would love to be able to welcome you to it, Karen! One day perhaps…

  2. Cathy Allen permalink
    March 8, 2012 6:05 pm

    These workshops sound like a writer’s dream come true. I’d think especially women writers would leap at the chance to participate in them. I’m not a writer, but even I’d enjoy them, I think. Great idea, and I wish I lived nearby!

    • jfwakefield permalink*
      March 11, 2012 1:18 pm

      Its sad that distance keeps you from them, Cathy,: one day perhaps.

  3. March 17, 2012 5:05 am

    Rebecca’s sessions sound lovely, if there are ever online ones they would be super to take part in.


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