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Come and Write With Hags Author Victoria Smith


Come and Write With Hags Author Victoria Smith

I’ve been overwhelmed by the response from readers to the news of The Book Room’s Writing Retreats. There has been a real buzz around them on social media, lots of enquiries and some bookings too.

It is of course helped by the beautiful location of The Rook Retreat which is hosting them, and many people have messaged me saying that they are readers rather than writers but can they still come along and hang out in this hot tub.

And my answer is yes! In fact, if you drag your bestfriend/partner along and you share a room, it’ll actually work out cheaper. You don’t need to take part in any writing practise or exercises, you can just hang out and soak up the writerly atmosphere, or read – something we very often forget to make time for in our busy lives.

As long as you have a love of books, you are welcome. The point is we are trying to build a welcoming creative atmosphere where we can share thoughts and ideas, and who better to kick us off with our first retreat but Victoria Smith.

Victoria is the author of HAGS, her debut book of non-fiction, though she is well-established at writing long form as a feminist writer with a particular interest in motherhood and the intersections of misogyny and ageism. Victoria writes regularly for The Critic, and some of my favourite columns of the last couple of years have been penned by her.


“I’m really looking forward to sharing ideas about how women can find our voices, and how these voices can change over time,” says Victoria. “Having published my first book relatively late, on a topic from which my younger self might well have fled, I’m interested in discussing how we navigate the pressures to be likeable, to tell the ‘right’ story and to speak for without speaking over.

“When our words are policed, over-analysed – and particularly when we come from a group that is dismissed as ‘entitled’ or ‘too loud’ already – it can be difficult to approach writing with care and compassion without feeling controlled.

“Spaces where women can talk – one of the themes of HAGS – play such an important role in helping us find things to say (and write) that are truly ours.”

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For those of you who haven’t yet clicked through to The Rook Retreat to learn about our itinerary over the two days, this is what you need to know:

Thursday 11th May

Midday – Arrival, welcome drinks and lunch

1pm – Solo writing time, plus one-to-one time with me should you need to talk through your work in progress

4pm – Victoria Smith will read excerpts from HAGS, and this will be followed by Q and A chaired by me, where you will get chance to ask Victoria your burning questions

6pm – Short workshop/writing exercise hosted by Victoria

7.30pm – Dinner with Victoria where we can sit around the table discussing all things feminist and writing

Friday 12th May

7.30am Literary trail walk (optional)

8am – Breakfast is served

9am – Solo writing in the house, cabin or outside in the woods

11am – Workshop with me based on some of the themes from Victoria’s work, and a talk through further reading, plus a chance to buy some of the books that have been discussed.

1pm – Lunch followed by goodbyes


All food and drink is included in this two-day retreat and delicious vegan meals will be prepared by our on-site chef. If the weather is good, we will eat out under the stars down in the forest kitchen. Any spare time outside of our discussions/mealtimes can be spent working on your own projects, reading, or just enjoying the surroundings.

Just think of it as two days of feminist writing indulgence with like-minded people… ahh, when I put it like that it sounds absolutely perfect.

A warning though, spaces are very limited on each of these retreats and so if you are interested in booking, I recommend you do so sharpish to avoid disappointment as we have had many enquiries which every day are turning into firm bookings. We want to keep these retreats feeling intimate and super special, so once all the rooms have gone, they’re gone.

You can find out more about Victoria’s retreat and make a booking here.

I’ll be telling you about some of the other retreats featuring Sunday Times Bestseller Jennifer Saint and Costa Prize Winner Monique Roffey in more detail over the coming days and weeks, but in the meantime, reserve your place now – I hope to see you there!


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