Orkney Writers' Course

17-21 June 2017

 • Course Director: Pamela Beasant
• Co-tutor: Jen Hadfield

Now in its sixth year, the Orkney Writers’ Course sits alongside St Magnus International Festival’s long-established Conductors’ and Composers’ Courses, and is run in partnership with Orkney-based literature organisation, the George Mackay Brown Fellowship.

The Orkney Writers’ Course runs over four full days, and is located in the stunning surroundings of the new Stromness Library, and the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness. 

St Magnus International Festival is a midsummer celebration of the arts taking place across the Orkney Islands in June. Each year a visiting national orchestra, ensembles and recitalists perform alongside theatre and locally produced shows. 2017 sees the 41st Festival which will be themed around the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and the commemoration of the death of St Magnus 900 years ago. 

Directed by Orkney-based poet Pamela Beasant, with co-tutor, Shetland-based poet Jen Hadfield, the course offers intensive poetry workshops and a platform for participants to perform their work as part of the Festival programme. Additionally, there will be exciting opportunities to interact with composers on the St Magnus Composers’ Course, and to attend inspiring Festival performances.

Sessions include:

  • A session delivered by the Festival Poet, Jackie kay
  • One-to-one mentoring on request
  • The chance to read your work at a dedicated Festival performance event
  • The opportunity to interact with composers on the St Magnus Composers' Course

Some great connections were made - I, for example, am loving the correspondence with my counterpart on the Composers’ Course - we worked together a little more over the summer, and hope to continue to do so.

Previous course participant

How to apply:

Eight participants will be accepted on to the Orkney Writers' Course, for which applications must be submitted by Monday 3 April 2017. Successful applicants will be notified of the result in the week beginning Monday 24 April 2017, and those unsuccessful in the following week. There is no requirement to have been published previously; applicants who show significant promise will be selected for the course.

Applications forms may be obtained from:

Courses Administrator (OWC)
St Magnus International Festival
60 Victoria Street
Orkney, Scotland
KW15 1DN

tel: +44(0)1856 871445

or by email

or to download the form (word format)  (pdf format)

Along with the completed form, applications must also include:

  • Six original poems
  • Your experience in creative writing, and a list of published material, and where it has been published (if applicable)
  • A covering note explaining why you are interested in the course, and what you hope to achieve from it.

Course fees: £550

The fee includes:

  • All tuition
  • Five nights' accommodation in Stromness
  • Lunch on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Students also receive:

  • An invitation to the courses reception
  • Entry to the Festival Poet's reading
  • One ticket to a Festival weekend evening event.

Successful candidates will be required to confirm their acceptance by paying a non-refundable deposit of £110 by 29 April, and the balance of the fee will become payable by 27 May 2017.

A small number of bursaries towards course fees may be available for talented candidates who might otherwise have difficulty in meeting the course fees. If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please tell us why in a covering letter.

I have such fond memories of the Festival and am absolutely desperate to get back as soon as possible.

Previous course participant

Travel to Orkney

Find our more about getting to Orkney.

The Half Private Garden

You can download this booklet of work produced on the 2015 course here

A Place Beyond Belief

You can download this booklet from the 2013 Writers' Course here.

Waiting for the Tide

You can download this booklet of work produced on the 2014 course here

St Magnus International Festival, 13 Albert Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1HP

T: +44 (0)1856 871445

E: info@stmagnusfestival.com

St Magnus Festival is a charity registered in Scotland. Scottish Charity No SC011666. Company Number SC073825.

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