Maggie invited Cathy Grimmer, a former member of the Group and now Chairman of Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, to talk about what it has to offer. After outlining the story of her own involvement since her first visit in 2010, Cathy described the history of ‘Swanwick’. She said that it was the oldest writers’ summer school in the country, having first convened in 1949. It is still held at the same venue, The Hayes Conference Centre just outside Swanwick in Derbyshire, but facilities today are far from the spartan conditions accepted by participants in the first event.
Cathy went on to talk about the format and costs of the 2020 School, both the ‘technical’ offerings – lectures, workshops and courses – and the other more social activities. In talking about the School’s competitions (closing date 30th April, theme ‘Vision’) she mentioned that entry numbers were often quite small, which gives a good chance of winning. Maggie endorsed this by reminding everyone that she, Cathy and Lindsay have all won free places in the past. Overall the organisers have tried to keep things up to date, widening the range of writing covered and trying to make things more equal among delegates, regardless of age or experience.
Maggie, already signed up for her 15th consecutive attendance, added some comments of her own and then both she and Cathy responded to questions.
The meeting on 3rd March will have the theme ‘Vision’, pieces written for which may inspire entries for this year’s ‘Swanwick’ competitions!