Part 1

I recently spent 8 glorious days in Shropshire, England taking a Graphic Novel class at “The Hurst.” It was organised by the Arvon Foundation and our tutors were the infamous Bryan Talbot and Hannah Berry–of  “1 Bad Rat” & “Britten & Brulightly” fame respectively. The lovely Katie Green of “Katie GreenBean” also made a guest appearance, and was just as sweet as I had been told she was.

The week consisted of a myriad of lectures, creative thinking time, individual one-to-one’s, cooking and drinking–lots of drinking. Mornings were spent ‘in class’ down in the unheated studio, a short walk from the ‘Main House’–careful of the mud! Of course we broke for tea before continuing the lecture til lunchtime back at the “Clock House” (whose stopped clock was right at least twice a day). After lunch we either had our one to one meeting with either Bryan or Hannah, or if not, the time was spent, wandering the gorgeous grounds of the ‘estate,’ working on one’s novel or idea, brainstorming or walking to the teeny town to stock up on beer/wine for the night’s dinner.

Speaking of dinner, if you were assigned to make dinner that night–we were all divided up into groups to cook at least once– you had to rendez-vous in the kitchen by 16.30 (4.30) to receive your marching orders. If you weren’t on kitchen duty that night, it was more time to brainstorm, til around 17.30 when everyone began converging into the dining room for drinking and conversations–if you’ve seen “Midnight In Paris” where the character meets all the literary geniuses, artists, etc in the bar, that was us. 

Dinner usually came about around 20.00 and was leisurely eaten amidst much more laughter, talking and drinking, til it was time for another ‘lecture’–this one upstairs in the “Common Room.” The night lecture was more informal and gave us sneak peeks at the new and upcoming work(s) of Bryan, Hannah and Katie…

So what was the point of this retreat you might ask…I’ll examine that in the next post.


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