Just returned from another wonderful week at Fishguard Writers’ Holiday. Okay, I was actually running one of the courses so it was a bit of a working trip but I had such a great time with such a lovely bunch of people that it hardly seemed like work at all.
The Fishguard Bay Hotel is a fantastic venue for a writers’ conference, overlooking the bay with a cliff at the back which you can walk up fairly easily, or catch a bus if you are less mobile, to the top where the views are stunning.
Once you arrive at the hotel, everything is laid on for your stay down to morning and afternoon tea and coffee. A welcome drink before dinner introduces the hosts, Anne and Gerry and the course leaders and provides the opportunity for old friends to meet up and newcomers to mingle and make new friends.
The courses are smallish groups, max 12-13 and there are loads of choices of genres to work on, from fiction to poetry and non-fiction. You can even do a painting course, ideal for the non-writing friend who came with me.
Writers’ Holiday was held at Caerleon university near Cardiff for many many years and I had such happy memories of it that when it moved to Fishguard last year, I thought it was the end of an era. In some ways it was; the hotel is much smaller than the uni which means that not everyone who regularly came to Caerleon could attend. Additionally the hotel’s location, right at the westernmost tip of South Wales made it too long a journey for some. However, if you are determined to come you will get there.
One of the great pleasures for me is meeting up with other writers I have got to know over the years; people from all over this country and from countries across the world whom I would never otherwise have met and catching up on their writing news. Although Writers’ Holiday has become smaller its atmosphere has changed to a more tightly knit group, many of us keeping in touch on social media throughout the year.
It’s not cheap at around £500 but competitive with other themed holidays and it’s great value; a grand old hotel, full board in midsummer, stunning views, lovely food, great company, time to conenctrate on your own writing, maybe try a new genre and lot s of networking with other writers, (mostly done in the bar of course). Anne and Gerry Hobbs have been running Writers’ Holiday for many years so they know what to provide and how to make newbies feel at home.
As soon as I was driving home last week, I was thinking about coming back next year. Luckily I’ve been asked to run a course again (The Serendipitous Writer) and I’m planning lots of writing fun and games for it. Meanwhile I’ve lots of lovely memories to keep me going till I return. Maybe I will see you there?