When the playwright John Osborne owned The Hurst, he declared that he had the best view in England’. Now part of the Arvon family, The Hurst remains an inspirational place to come and write. Surrounded by Housman’s blue remembered hills’ and featuring three 18th century buildings, 30 acres of sprawling woodland and a spring-fed lake, The Hurst is the perfect place to lose yourself in words. Kerry Watson, the Centre’s Director, explains.
Nestled into the wooded hills of South Shropshire’s Clun Valley is a cluster of stone 18th century buildings which has a very specific and precise purpose. It is a writers’ house but not any old writers’ house. It is a house of many writers.
The best known writer associated with The Hurst is, of course, John Osborne. The Academy award winning writer, whose Look Back in Anger is often said to have transformed British theatre, lived at the Hurst and declared that he had the best view in England’.
Through the Arvon Foundation, which runs residential, creative writing courses in three other historic houses around England, the inspirational place that John Osborne chose to complete his last works in, is open to writers of all ability from all over the world.
The John Osborne Arvon Centre is an 18th Century gentleman’s residence’. Other nearby buildings, such as a converted barn and the Clockhouse, make up the living, working and writing space for up to 20 writers. Surrounded by 26 acres of woodland, it looks on to beautiful gardens and fields, a lake, a stream and stunning views of the English countryside.
Participants stay for a week of writing, tuition and feedback. The courses are open to anyone and those who cannot afford the full fee are assisted by a bursary scheme.
The Foundation also work with schools, colleges and youth groups to provide courses that ignite a lifelong love of imaginative writing and help to develop the creative voice of every participant in a uniquely collective environment.
Although the Arvon magic’ might sound like an exaggeration, people who come to the Centre are very often changed by the experience. The courses are a unique oppor-tunity, especially for writers, to be both focused and singular about their work. It allows them to share life stories, form new ideas and to be in the same boat’ as other writers facing similar problems, anxieties and difficulties.
It is this spirit of community effort that makes the residential week so special. Participants work together, eat together and write together ñ as well as being able to access private working space to get on with some serious writing. Each person gets individual feed-back from the professionals who are tutoring the course and some people make lifelong friends.
So why am I so enthusiastic about Arvon? Because I live and work at The Hurst ñ The John Osborne Arvon Centre. Time and time again, I see people leave the courses transformed and inspired. Something very special and rare happens during an Arvon week and I get to witness it. It’s hard not being enthusiastic.
Contact: The Hurst, The John Osborne Arvon Centre, Clunton, Craven Arms, Shropshire, SY7 0JA
Tel 01588 640 658 Email: [email protected]
The Hurst is surrounded by beautiful gardens, fields and stunning views of the English countryside
Photo: © John Osborne Arvon Centre
Attention all Aspiring Young Journalists!
Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to develop your writing skills?
This summer, Positive News and Global NET are sponsoring a journalism course, held in the beautiful surroundings of the Arvon Centre, in the Clun Valley. We are offering places to writers aged 15 to 25 who have a passion for positive journalism.
The fully-residential course will run from 25 to 30 August 2008. Two established journalists will tutor on topics such as feature writing, interviewing skills and researching.
Participants will also benefit from one-to-one tutorials and meeting experienced guest speakers. This wonderful opportunity is open to everyone and we are fundraising so that all expenses will be covered.
Students will have the chance to see their work published, so now is the time to start finding out about positive happenings near you and to get writing positive news stories.
To find out more information on the course, contact the Project Manager, Becky Daniel on email: [email protected]
If you would like to help sponsor a young person or contribute to this project please send a cheque made
payable to: Global NET Registered Charity No. 1045161 Post it to: Positive News, 5 Bicton Enterprise Centre, Clun, Shropshire, SY7 8NF. For details about the Trust, see page 34 of Positive Living Magazine