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What else has happened...

65 Years of Swanwick Writers' Summer School
Tea on the lawn at the Hayes Conference Centre.
Every August since 1948, writers from all kinds of background have been gathering at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. It's what we call the Swanwick Writers' Summer School or just "Swanwick".

Swanwick is a magical place. Between two and three hundred writers meet there. Some are just enjoying writing as a well kept secret, others have dozens of publications under their belt. What we all have in common is a love of words and putting them to paper.
It's good to be among the likeminded. You can rant or rave about anything concerning writing. Everybody will listen and nobody's eyes will glaze over after the first sentence. They've all been there, have had the same problems, know what you're talking about, you name it. And they'll be able to give advice or just offer a comforting hug.

Drinks on the lawn celebrating 65 year of Swanwick, here with Andrew and Lesley Marsh

My Twitter friend @Danonwheels and me
And then, of course, there are the workshops and courses. Have you ever been

in stitches at the talk of a university professor? Been taught by a bestselling children's author? Heard talks from prizewinning authors, screenwriters, actors? Gone to crime writing courses led by bestselling crime writers and ex-cops (one even a chief constable)? And all in one place? Not to mention the willingness of every Swanwicker to help you during the year if you are stuck with a plot or, like me, need mentoring through a children's whodunit.
Curtis Jobling during his morning session. More about the pictures he drew and how they were auctioned in my next post.
To show you the versatility of the programme, just a little name dropping here: Our guest speakers were James Moran, screen writer for TV and film; Syd Moore, author of The Drowning Pool and Witch Hunt; Michael O'Byrne, former chief constable and crime writer; Jon Wood, Editorial Director of Orion Books; Zoe Lambert, author and lecturer at the University of Lancaster; and Curtis Jobling, father of Bob the Builder, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, Frankenstein's Cat and most recently the author of the Wereworld Books.
The Specialist Course "Writing for Children" was led by Steve Hartley, best known for his Danny Baker series. And the poetry teacher was none other than Debjani Chatterjee OBE.
To have a glimpse at this year's programme, have a look at Swanwick Programme 2013. Or follow what delegates had to say on twitter using #swanwick65 and #whatilearntatswanwick.
But there's really only one way to experience the Swanwick Magic: be there next year from 9 to 18 August 2014.