Writer's Retreat – moving on with your novel! with Beth Miller and Sharon Duggal

Ref: S4D32905

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About this course

Starting a novel is one thing. Finishing it, quite another. On this Writer's Retreat you'll have dedicated writing time in an inspiring setting, plus one-to-one and workshop input from published authors designed to help you move forward with your book.

Course Description

This retreat would suit writers who have made a good start on their novel, but got stuck, or have finished or nearly finished a first draft and are ready for second draft or if you have done enough rewriting and are ready for that final polish.

Participants will have the opportunity to spend time on their writing in the inspiring setting of West Dean. You will also be able to benefit from group activities in workshops and evening sessions, and one-to-one tutorials with the tutors. Some of the following topics will be explored during the retreat:

- Writing style, planning and keeping going
- Enticing beginnings and satisfying endings
- Building stronger characters
- Structure, dialogue and pace
- Editing techniques
- Submitting for publication

Beth Miller will lead the opening sessions of the course. She will be joined by a guest tutor on one evening and Sharon Duggal will join her for the final two days of the course to offer additional workshops and some tutorials.

You will be invited to be prepared for sharing information about your works-in-progress. This information will remain confidential within the group. Taking part is warmly encouraged and will likely benefit your practice, but if you’d prefer to sit these parts out you can spend the time writing instead.

The course will be based in one of the historic rooms in West Dean College, where the group teaching sessions will take place; access to this and other peaceful spaces such as the Oak Hall, College library and Stewards Room Bar alongside the beautiful West Dean Gardens in and around the College will be available to participants throughout the Retreat. To benefit from the Retreat, all participants are encouraged to stay at the College; any non-resident students may book dinners on additional evenings if required.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


The tutors will supply most of the materials including handouts.

What students need to bring

Notebook and pen (or laptop if they prefer), and their work-in-progress. Plus two copies (on paper) of an extract of up to 1000 words from their work-in-progress for the tutors to read.

Please send some information about your writing background in advance for the attention of Beth Miller in advance of the course if you wish, via the [email protected].


Beth Miller

Beth Miller is the author of six novels, including the bestselling The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright (2020). Her most recent novel, The Woman Who Came Back to Life (2022), will be published in seven languages. She has also published two non-fiction books. She has a PhD in Psychology and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Brighton University. She teaches regularly for Arvon, and is a book coach for writers at all stages. 


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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If you’re looking to complete the first draft of a novel and learn about the publishing process. The two-year, part-time MA Creative Writing and Publishing is taught by professional authors and visiting industry professionals. Find out more