The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank is an 18th-century mill-owner’s house in West Yorkshire, which once belonged to Ted Hughes.
It’s almost impossible to spend week in this place and not get inspired.
When I was asked to be a tutor on a course for writers and illustrators of picture books I was honoured, but at the same time I was worried. Teaching and giving people advice …. on anything is a big responsibility. I needed somebody I could rely on. Somebody who has done similar projects before, has great experience in writing, is able to work with other people and is able to run such a course.
And then I realised that Joyce Dunbar was going to be my fellow tutor! My decision was made. I couldn’t miss the chance to see Joyce teaching, talking about her work and about the world of picture books.
My hopes overcame my expectations. The blog would be far too long if I start praising Joyce about the way how she works with students and what a good friend she is. Joyce is not just an experienced, clever and brilliant writer, but she has the gift to teach, share her experience and ideas with others and make it all fun at the same time.
I can say that Joyce and I teamed up really well and the whole week was a great success.
Another real treat was a short visit and a brilliant talk by Polly Dunbar, one of my favourite writers and illustrators of picture books. Her contribution to the course was appreciated by everybody. Thank you Polly.
And the biggest thanks goes to everybody who came on the course. The students were truly amazing. Lovely, kind and friendly people, who had one thing in common – they all sheared a love for picture books.We all worked very hard.
Before I went to Lumb Bank I was trying to prepare myself for any possible situation, because you never know what can happen when you are working with a group of people who have never met each other. What I didn’t expected was that I’d be leaving so inspired myself, tired, but happy with a feeling, that I’ve made a bunch of new friends.
At this point in the blog I’ve realised that I could go on and on and I would love to show some of the students amazing work, but I won’t be able to fit everything in and besides, some of it may get published and I can’t give it away.
So perhaps just a couple of pages from one of the more visual exercises we did together.
There is one very important thing I must mention and it’s all the hard work of everybody who runs the Arvon Centre in Lumb Bank. Rosie, Becky, Mark, Jean, Jill and Jack.This is him – Jack who is everywhere and always ready to help and do an extra work. Thank you to all of you!Over the five days of the course I had only one chance to explore the surrounding countryside, but I’ll remember the walk for a very long time.
How about this chimney in the middle of the valleyy?
Walking by the river was magical.
Oh well, I’m on my way back sitting on the train and soon I’m off again. This time to my favourite event of the year – Edinburgh International Book Festival.
I’m going to meet Nicola Davies, the writer of my latest book. I’m looking forward to our joint event very much!