The day begins with early morning yoga followed by breakfast and then, the centrepiece of the day, the late morning courses. These courses run for three hours per day, for five days. On a two week holiday, they continue into the second week after two course-free days.
If you would prefer to take a course from either of the other two programmes (Life Choices and Art Studio) for the second week of your holiday, then please tell us your preference in advance by phoning us on +44 (0)1983 865566 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may be able to change to a different course once you are at the Skyros Centre but this is subject to space.
Please find below the 2014 Writers Lab courses.
The price of the holiday is inclusive of accommodation in a twin shared room, two meals per day (usually breakfast and lunch, but sometimes dinner instead) and participation in all courses and activities. Single upgrades are available. Travel costs are not included. On this idyllic island my life changed for ever. The Daily Express
Listed below are the holiday dates, prices and courses available. Select the course title and facilitator names for more information.
We all have moments in our lives where we make other people laugh. But a good sense of humour is not just innate it can be nurtured. That comedy muscle is like any other part of the human mind and body; the more we exercise it, the stronger it becomes!
What could be more energising and empowering than spending a week being creative, developing your comedy technique, uncovering your unique comic voice and most importantly making other people laugh like drains?
Together, the group will explore different forms of humour writing and technique to help ignite your inner comic genius, formulate new ideas and to execute these ideas in novel and dynamic ways.
Through practical exercises, your comic voices will soon be flowing freely in a supportive workshop environment. Not only will you learn some tricks of the trade, you will also gain a greater awareness of the multitude of differing comic styles that the group manifest.
These comedy skills are not only for the professional comedian or the aspiring script writer; they are also a fantastic way to think outside of the box, hone your communication skills and increase your confidence in everyday life.
WL1 Sat 7 - Sat 14 Jun 2014 (1 wk)
Logan Murray is a working comic and award winning director, author of Teach Yourself Stand Up Comedy, and a script consultant for BBC 3. He has recently run a series of writing workshops for the Radio Four Comedy Department. His courses offer a unique opportunity to find out what a comedian’s job is like and explore his belief that Comedy really is a life skill!
A Life Full of Stories Sat 14 - Fri 27 Jun 2014 WL2
Our lives are full of stories; we tell each other stories every day. What makes a great story? How do we find our own unique way of writing it down?
While learning to unlock your creative writing life, and immersing yourself in the tantalizing world of words, this course will help you develop a reliable and practical tool kit to produce meaningful works of fiction.
Amanda Smyth is Irish Trinidadian and was educated in England. Her first novel, Black Rock (Serpent’s Tail), won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger 2010, and was selected for Waterstones New Voices in 2009. It was also chosen for Oprahs Summer Reads 2009. Amanda’s second novel, A Kind of Eden (Serpent’s Tail) was published in July 2013.
We are all familiar with screen stories these days, whether it is a feet up TV soap at home, a new US drama series on the iPad, or a night out at the cinema. But writing for the screen, television or film, is very different from, say, writing a novel. Scripts tell a story in pictures, not words, and they need other people such as actors and directors to bring them to life.
If you have always wanted to write a TV drama, a film or a sitcom, but are not sure how to go about it, this course will provide a basic toolkit to get you started. Whether you have never written anything before, or whether you are already writing in another medium, it will take you through the whole process figuring out your idea (or helping you to come up with one), creating characters, structuring stories, and writing dialogue; all in a fun and supportive environment where everyone mucks in and helps each other out.
Testimonial: “Jenny Lecoat is a superb teacher…the course is a lot of fun because Jenny skilfully brings members together… do not bother to look anywhere else.”
New Writing South student, 2012.
One of the first female stand-up comics of the 1980s, performing at the Comedy Store and festivals all over the world, Jenny also acted for stage and TV, presented shows on television and radio, and wrote features and columns for a range of publications, before becoming a full time scriptwriter in 1993. Since then she has written for a wide variety of screen formats, from children’s series to feature films.
Her credits include Holby, Dangerfield, The Catherine Tate Show, Tracy Beaker, Birds of a Feather, Family Affairs, Young Dracula, seven years on the EastEnders writing team, and the international docudrama Death of a Princess. In the 2000s she worked as consultant for a Moscow television company, co-devising a new soap opera for the First Russia channel, and co-wrote a screenplay for Akson Studios in Warsaw, set in World War 2. Jenny regularly teaches TV scriptwriting courses for New Writing South in Brighton, and has also tutored at The London Film Academy, Central Film School and the Arvon Foundation.
She is married to writer Gary Lawson and lives in Hove, East Sussex.
This will be a taster course in writing from life. It will cover a diverse range of subjects such as the form and options available to tell your story, how to craft stories on the page, the ethics of writing about living people, how to write about childhood, and there will be meditations too, involving earth and water. We will write about real life and this might take the form of poetry or prose or creative non fiction. Bring paper and pen and some stories you would like to see live on the page.
Monique Roffey is a Trinidadian born award-winning writer. Her latest novel (June 2014) is called House of Ashes and her last novel, Archipelago won the OCM BOCAS Award for Caribbean Literature in 2013. In 2010, her novel The White Woman on the Green Bicycle was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Encore Award. Her memoir With the Kisses of his Mouth caused controversy and critical acclaim in 2011. She divides her time between London and Port of Spain where she runs workshops and residential retreats.
Have you always believed you had a novel in you, but never had the knowledge or courage to begin? Have you made several attempts and then lost steam? Or perhaps you’re a reluctant/nervous/lonely first-time novelist in need of a kick-start?
Shelley Weiner, a novelist renowned as an inspirational creative writing tutor and nurturer of new talent, demystifies the process of novel writing.
In a course that combines practical advice with discussion, exercises, and sympathetic feedback, she offers guidance on the tools of fiction, the pitfalls faced by new writers, and on how to sustain momentum from start to finish.
Participants will acquire a firm understanding of aspects of writing, such as character, narrative structure, setting and point of view. They will leave the Skyros Writers’ Lab inspired with new motivation and a firm conviction that they have the right to write.
Shelley Weiners novels include A Sisters Tale, The Last Honeymoon, The Joker, Arnost, and, most recently, The Audacious Mendacity of Lily Green.
She is an Advisory Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and has taught fiction for institutions that include Birkbeck College, Anglia Ruskin University, the Open University, the British Council, and Durham University Summer School. She is a mentor on the Gold Dust Mentoring Scheme, a reader for The Literary Consultancy, and presents workshops on fiction for Guardian Masterclasses, the Faber Academy, Norwich Writers Centre, and the Cheltenham Literary Festival.
Aspects of Novel Writing Sat 26 Jul - Fri 8 Aug 2014 WL6
Whether you are just beginning to organise your ideas or working on your next ‘opus’, this course is aimed at giving you a clear understanding of the technical and creative aspects of novel writing.
Along with exercises and inspiration to get you going (drawing on experience, memory, imagination and place) there will be opportunities to share pieces of your writing in a relaxed and supportive setting. You will also receive constructive feedback on the work you produce in the sessions.
Focussing on structure, character, plot and voice we’ll work on planning an extended narrative (and developing a shorter piece of work by the end of the week). We’ll look at the elements that drive your narrative forward and keep the reader wanting more. And we won’t forget the nitty-gritty of prose-style – writing strong dialogue, streamlining scenes and sentences – and how it all comes together to create impact.
Finally the course aims to furnish you with solid strategies so that when you leave the idyllic, creative bubble that is Skyros you will be able to draw on those resources and keep your writing momentum going well into the future.
Mez Packer studied Philosophy and Literature at Warwick University in the 80s and then spent time in Europe singing jazz in bars and nightclubs. She travelled widely in Asia, the Far East and the Caribbean before becoming a Broadcast Journalist with the BBC.
She is currently Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication and visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at Coventry University. Mez has varied writing interests from scripts for apps and transmedia projects to short stories, which have appeared in various literary magazines.
Writing Successful Fiction Run by experienced creative writing tutor Leigh Russell, the course presents techniques to engage readers’ interest and keep them turning the pages. Offering plenty of scope for students to develop their own writing skills, the course will consider areas including character, plot, structure, pace and language.
Leigh teaches students ranging from bestselling authors, to complete beginners and is well known for her encouraging teaching methods.
By the end of the course attendees will develop their own writing voice, and have the confidence to work on completing manuscripts suitable for submission to agents and publishers.
Leigh Russell is the author of the Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson crime series published in several territories, including US (Harper Collins) UK (No Exit Press) Italy (Mondadori) Germany (Bastei Lubbe) and France (City Editions).
Her debut was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Dagger Award for Best First Novel in 2010. Subsequent titles were a Top Read on Eurocrime, voted Best Crime Novel of the Year on Crime Time, selected as Best Fiction Book of the Year in the Miami Examiner, and Geraldine Steel is a Great Crime Sleuth on Love Reading. The books have appeared on bestseller charts for Waterstones, W H Smiths, Amazon. As ebooks the series has reached #1 on iTunes and #1 on kindle. The Ian Peterson series launched in 2013.
An experienced teacher, Leigh runs Creative Writing workshops for the Society of Authors and at the Get Writing Conference at the University of Hertfordshire, and has lectured in Creative Writing at the University of Southampton and other UK colleges
An Introduction to Screenwriting is an exciting glimpse into the world of the professional storyteller. During the course of the week you will learn how create the kind of story that grips an audience, how to guide that audience through ever bigger emotional highs and lows, how to build to a dramatic climax, and how to leave them desperate for more.
You should come with a blank piece of paper and no preconceptions, and expect to leave with a very dramatic, well thought-through story, which will form the basis of an exciting new script to be written at your leisure after the course.
Using a mix of practical workshops, more formal discussions, and private writing time, Philip will introduce you to dramatic screenwriting. He will show you how it differs from other forms of writing, and he will explain what elements you absolutely need for a dramatic story. He will explain his professional methods for creating engaging characters, get you writing great scene and dialogue, and help each of you with your dramatic writing, whether you are just beginning or whether you have been writing professionally for years.
If you have ever looked at the TV and thought, I can do better than that‚ then this is your chance to begin.
PLEASE NOTE that this course is best suited to people who want to write drama for the screen, the stage, or for radio.
Currently script editor for the CBBC TV Show The Dumping Ground, Philip Gladwin has worked as a script editor and screenwriter since 1995. He has been hired by (and sometimes been fired by) the BBC, ITV, and many different independent production companies, to write or edit TV shows such as The Sarah Jane Adventures, Grange Hill, Holby, Trial & Retribution, The Bill, Casualty, Murder City, Bugs, Red Cap, Crossroads, and Berkeley Square, plus a good few others that never made it to broadcast. His two stage plays went on national tour in 2011 and 2012. He has been nominated for a Sony award and a Medical Journalists Award for his radio plays, and nominated twice for the Dennis Potter Award for his TV work.
While learning to write he worked as a cycle courier in central London, a researcher in Artificial Intelligence at Cambridge University, a waiter in London, Brighton and the East Village, and a technical writer for an IBM software house. He loved being a cycle courier, but possibly his least favourite job was being the man who sat outside a massive freezer keeping tally of the movements of tons of frozen fish. He now lives by the sea in Brighton.
Your Writer's Voice Sat 30 Aug - Fri 12 Sep 2014 WL9
Your Writer's Voice
This course is for any writer, beginner or more experienced, wanting to develop their authentic personal ‘voice’.
We’ll look at finding ideas through memory and imagination and use a range of shared exercises to explore techniques such as characterisation, dialogue, description, style and pace which can be adapted for any genre. The focus will be on enjoyment – and finding ways to overcome the writer’s inevitable internal critic too.
Crysse was inspired by a Skyros Writers Lab session to make a career change and is now a full-time free-lance writer. Her two novels were published by Hodder & Stoughton and she also writes short fiction, stage drama, and performance poetry. Crysse is an experienced creative writing tutor and has led courses throughout the world.
Unfortunately no one can remember what they are. In these sessions we shall do our best to recover them and to bring out the funny in every student. Whether you wish to write gags, sitcoms or plays you will find something here to stimulate you.
At the end of the course we will present a comedy night to the other students which will demonstrate that laughter is the one true metaphysical consolation (Little Jimmy Osmond).
Arthur Smith is a comedian, writer and broadcaster, He has performed comedy all over the world and has written every form of comedy from stand-up one liners to full length plays and screenplays. His play an Evening with Gary Linekar ran for several years in the West End. He appears regularly on Radio 4 but finds that he is best known for the BBC Grumpy Old Men. His acclaimed autobiography My name is Daphne Fairfax was published last summer.
Greek Island Life Tue 17 - Tue 24 Feb 2015 Goat Festival
Michael Eales will be your host for this special holiday in Skyros.
The Skyrian Goat Festival is one of the most unique and internationally famous celebrations, again involving the entire island community. It is totally spontaneous, often outrageous and totally devoid of commerciality. Join in, contribute and experience something truly unique.
This holiday includes opportunities to explore Skyros island and visit the museum and the islands ancient churches. Observe local crafts such woodcarving and embroidery. Learn more about the origins and rituals of Apokries, the Goat Festival that is totally unique to Skyros island. Watch or participate in this amazing festival that culminates in a day of celebration including Greek dancing in the main square.
Please note: This holiday will take place at the Skyros Centre, and includes half board meals.
Goat Festival Tue 17 - Tue 24 Feb 2015 (1 wk) Michael Eales, psychologist, writer, and leadership coach for 30 years, is one of the leading figures in Humanistic Psychology. He is co-author of The Personal Management Handbook, Implausible Professions and The Coaching Cube and is a management consultant with major organizations. He was part of the staff team of the Human Potential Research Project at Surrey University and has trained many practitioners in the field.
He has written for film and television. He co-wrote and acted in the film Inertia (Dir. Anna Campion), which opened at the London Raindance Film Festival, and Bipolar‚ which premiered in 2006 at the Edinburgh Film Festival. He is currently working with Anna Campion on a film adaptation of a novel. In 2013 he published Sketches of Skyros, a collection of poems illustrated by paintings of the late Manos Faltaits, and Dreams Like Enigmatic Paintings, a translation of the work of Henri Michaux.