Workshop testimonials

Here’s what our students have said about our courses:

I found Giovanna’s Life Writing workshops great! The group was friendly and supportive, and Giovanna is an enthusiastic and encouraging facilitator. She provided us with loads of stimulating ideas and readings and her feedback was always constructive as well as honest. Having been ‘blocked’ for a long time I was pleased that I was able to produce the beginnings of some worthwhile work, and the feedback I got from everyone was helpful and encouraged me to stick at it. I was sorry to miss the Karamel event and the chance to meet other writers and hear their readings, but hope next time I’ll be able to come along. I think it’s a great idea to organise such social events where we can all get together, support one another, and develop our own community of writers.
Lucy, Life Writing student

I would like to say that I have really enjoyed this course which went so quickly. I found Sara to be very responsive to the needs of her students and she gave technical information about the writing process and feedback on our work throughout the course, as well as exercises which stimulated the creative process.  I have learnt a lot from doing this course and it is already helping me to progress in my writing.  I would heartily recommend the course to others.
Dawn, Novel Writing Student

It would obviously be a mistake to turn down the opportunity of being in one of Giovanna’s classes. She is both encouraging and intellectually rigorous, furthermore it’s unusual to find such a wholesome, fostering environment in an art form that is frankly rather cutthroat. I think many people will flourish, across a variety of genres,from attending her short story course.
Catherine, Short Story Writing Student

Jo exudes an innate ability to share her knowledge and experience with warmth, encouragement and honesty.  She does not gild the lily re. the nature of the screenwriting business, at the same time as making it clear how much joy can be found in it.  As a leader of discussion, Jo is able to successfully guide contributions from a group with varied experience and ability making sure everyone is heard, while employing an intelligent kindness to ensure discussion remains pertinent.
Jac, Screen Writing student

The course was great, I enjoyed the little creative prompts to get us started – small playful tasks and starting points and reading some poetry examples for inspiration. Jehane was wonderful. She made everybody feel welcome and accepted. She was calm, funny and sensitive to all of us and genuinely interested in our stories and view of the world. We were a group of six and from different cultural and language backgrounds, different ages etc and it was an enriching experience. I can say I learned from everybody and was always surprised about the different angles we all took in response to the same task! Very inspiring. Jehane did a great job of making us feel secure, to not take ourselves too seriously and at the same time to honour our creativity and effort. She would find a spark in a poem where we couldn’t see it and she was genuine and supportive when sometimes our outcome was just “so-so” – not a big deal! It’s a great activity to sign up for if you want to meet local people, get over anxiety of reading or speaking in front of strangers and free up your use of language in general.
Anne, Poetry Writing student

Stories in Paintings proved to be a fascinating way from which to approach writing.  Using paintings as our prompts, Alba was able to use her passion for art to guide us to thinking more about the depth in our writing.  From exploring the complexities of our characters, to the visualisation of their environments.  Alba showed us how using our pens instead of brushes we could make our characters and places come alive in the minds of our readers, giving them a physical presence on the page. Alba was a very inspiring and thoughtful course leader. Her feedback on our writing was insightful and I would recommend this course to anyone looking to add real depth to their writing.
Jude, Stories in Paintings student

At the start I think we were all very nervous of reading our work out to the class, but by the end the whole class wanted to share their writing with others. It has been a really good and rewarding experience, even the public reading in the cafe was enjoyable. I am only sorry that I cannot carry on and do another course due to my changed work commitments.
Tony, Life Writing student

I was very disappointed when the novel writing course finished. It was great. I always looked forward to going and when I got back I would write and sometimes correct earlier work that had caused me problems. I found this strange because we hadn’t covered the problems I was sorting out. I think it’s simply that I found the course so positive. I know that everyone in the class thought the same, Sara’s wonderful.
Jack, Novel Writing Student

The poetry course was fantastic; the structure and content were stimulating and challenging. We were all incredibly productive. Focussing on our lives from birth through childhood, teen years, present day and ahead to old age made all of us at some stage explore an area of discomfort – perhaps something we usually avoid; navigating the discomforts in such a safe and supportive group made for really interesting, often very moving work. It made me write deeper.
– The range of material Jehane introduced us to was great – I met poets and poems I would have taken a good while to discover on my own, if at all.
– The homework was great and maximised the course, extending it beyond the two and a half hours which went so quickly!
Alison, Poetry Writing student

First, I would like to reserve a place on the new Life Writing Course in September. I absolutely loved the Life Writing Course! Giovanna was a fantastic tutor: encouraging and inspirational. She made everyone feel relaxed so that sharing our work aloud felt easy and natural. Her supportive manner was excellent; she gave very helpful advice and “pushed” us gently but firmly out of our comfort zones. The range of extracts we explored as stimulus was super and the writing exercises were fun. The group was lovely: we jelled quickly and the friendly atmosphere added a lot to our enjoyment and development. I can’t wait for the next course!
Anne-Marie, Life Writing student

Sara‘s class has been really enjoyable as well as productive. She is a knowledgeable, confident and clear tutor who is clearly passionate about writers and their craft. Her welcoming manner helped us bond as a group (on top of which, she kept us all happy with coffees and chocolate biscuits!) What we covered will be a source of inspiration as we keep on with our writing and no doubt, stay in touch.
Rody, Novel Writing student

I really enjoyed it and Jehane was really positive about the poetry. Inspiring, I really hope the inspiration of the class will continue.
Krishnendu, Poetry Writing student

Thank you very much for organising the life writing classes and the performance event. Giovanna is an inspiring and encouraging tutor who establishes an excellent rapport and atmosphere with her students from the onset. I really enjoyed performing my own writing for the first time and received support to do so and lovely feedback which has me coming back for more.
Eleanor, Life Writing student

I had no idea what to expect when I went along for the first poetry session – I’d never been to anything run by such an established poet before, but was still looking forward to the experience. Jehane has a wonderful, calm and encouraging manner – the sessions flew by and it felt as if we had only just sat down when it was time to leave again (Jehane made it look effortless, but I’m sure it wasn’t!). The sessions were a really well-balanced mix of “technical” components and emphasis on letting the writing flow naturally. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this course to anyone, beginner, intermediate, or experienced poet. I have continued writing poems since the sessions and am experimenting with some of the tools Jehane shared – I wish I had more time as every writer no doubt does, but have very fond memories of this little writing “haven” in the middle of my busy week!
Tommy, Poetry Writing student