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Before and After: Writing Crisis with Margie Orford
Sat, 13 May 2017, 10:00 – Sun, 14 May 2017, 18:00 BST
Before and After: Writing Crisis is a two-day masterclass for people in Argyll and Bute who have a story to tell focussed on a crisis. It could be memoir. The telling of a transformative personal experience - the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, an assault, falling in or out of love, an illness. It could be fiction - the imaginative response to the crisis of others. For example, the story of a refugee, the survivors of a natural disaster, or of the victim of the perpetrator of crime.
The masterclass has these aims:
- To explore the ways of writing with integrity, warmth, humour and empathy
- To understand how to draw one's readers into the characters, stories and worlds one creates
- To enjoy the writing process, to explore your own creativity and to find your voice
Writer Margie Orford has written fiction, non-fiction and memoir and will share the ways in which she has been taught and accompanied on her writing journey.
A crisis is a moment of difficulty, danger and decision. It is often a test of the body, of the heart and of the will. Whether a crisis is deeply personal or collective, for those involved it can be as life-changing as it is transformative. It is a pivotal moment filled with drama - sometimes deeply private and intimate, sometimes public and spectacular. The workshop will guide you through how to tell these stories. You will explore ways of retrieving experiences. Learn how you can write the shattering or sublime moments that divide the lives of your characters - or of yourself - into the Before and After. You will find ways to guide your readers through those painful or joyful experiences. You will question the ethics and think of the aesthetics of writing about experiences so brutal or destructive that they seem to erase language. You will write of those seemingly commonplace events like love, the birth of a child, divorce, heartbreak, illness in ways that retrieve their unique and personal intensity.
The masterclass is practice based and participant focussed. That means that you will be writing much of the time. You will focus on finding your own unique voice but you will have the chance to read your work and to listen to the work of others in a safe and creatively nurturing space. Whether you are working on an existing writing project or you are starting something new, you should leave the workshop with some wonderful new pieces and a map of where to take your writing next.
Former Cove Park Literature Resident Margie Orford is an internationally acclaimed writer. Her Clare Hart novels – a literary crime fiction series that explores violence and its effects in South Africa – are published in the USA and the UK and have been widely translated. She is an award-winning investigative journalist and writes regularly about crime, gender violence, politics and freedom of expression, and literature. She has written children’s books and non-fiction on subjects ranging from climate change to rural development. She was the John Tilney Writer in Residence at the University of York in and is a Civitella Ranieri Fellow. At present she is visiting research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Research Into the Humanities. She is a member of the executive board of PEN International, the president of PEN South Africa, the patron of Rape Crisis and of the children’s book charity, the Little Hands Trust.
A group evening meal will be provided at 17:00 on the Saturday.
The minimum age requirement for this event is 18. Please note, we offer a full refund if you cancel your place at least 14 days prior to the course start date, after this a refund is unavailable unless in exceptional circumstances or we cancel the event.
Image: Betty's Bay, near Cape Town by Margie Orford
Please note, this event will take place in the Artist Centre and the accommodation around the 50-acre rural site. If you have any queries about accessing the Cove Park site please contact Cove Park in advance.
This masterclass is part of Hands-On Cove Park, a programme of creative events, workshops and talks for people in Argyll & Bute. Find out more about the programme and sign up for updates here and see details of current activities here.