Thursday, 13 August 2015

Swanwick 2015: Keeping The Faith

Stephen King (Photo courtesy of "Pinguino")
Thought for the Day: Sitting in Simon Hall's class on novel writing this morning, I heard the strongest reason for we writers to keep going, even when we think we'll never write a decent word again, or when we think no-one will ever accept our work or read anything we've produced: after thirty rejections of his first novel, Stephen King nearly gave up! His wife persuaded him to keep going - and the rest is history!

The Daily Interview

This year at Swanwick, we have a record number of white badgers, 67 in total, and these new members of the Swanwick family are always very important to us. And there is one sub-set that is even more special - and that's the TopWriters. TopWrite is an initiative set up by the Writers' Summer School to help young people who are passionate about writing to attend the School. There are a small number of subsidised places available each year for young writers in full-time study of Creative Writing.

I chatted yesterday to Gareth Davey, one of this year's five TopWriters. Gareth is a second year student of English and Creative Writing at Northampton University, He has written a Young Adult novel which he is getting ready to submit; and a poetry book which is self-published.

What brought you to Swanwick?

"Our University lecturer, John Mackley, emailed us and suggested we look into the TopWrite scheme, so I thought I'd give it a go. And, it's turned out to be much more than I expected. It's great how everyone is very friendly; I'm naturally quite reserved, but it's very easy to talk to people here."

What is the best thing that's happened this week?

"It's been such a brilliant experience, it's hard to cut it down to just one; but I love the way ideas pop up and develop during the workshops. I came up with two or three workable ideas during Erin Kelly's course on Psychological Thrillers."

And what's the strangest thing that's happened this week?

There have been numerous, but the most frightening was the set-up incident in Simon Hall's class today, to demonstrate the value of doing something unexpected, when Katherine collapsed. I was too far away to see what was going on, but the thump itself was scary enough.

And will you come back?

Yes, definitely.

You can find out more about Gareth on his website. And if you fit the profile of a TopWriter, why not check it out and think about joining us next year?


  1. So Simon did it again, did he? :-D

    1. He did, Karin; and even thought we'd been discussing the previous incident just the night before in the bar, I still found myself about to rush out and look for the First Aider!

  2. Really enjoyed this series of interviews. Thanks for sharing. Made me feel like being there, after all.

    1. Thanks Karin, glad you enjoyed it. I thought I'd do interviews this year; now I'll have to come up with a different idea for next year!