Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Art of Writing Fez

An intensive writing course will be held in the richly stimulating environment of the Fez medina from November 16 - 21

Conducted by three successful authors, Sandy McCutcheon, Suzanna Clarke and Lisa Clifford, The Art of Writing in Fez offers morning and afternoon lectures on writing and evening live Skype sessions with publishing professionals across the globe.

"Fez is a city that is full of sights, sounds, smells, textures and an overall ambience that thrills a writer," says Lisa. "It’s a place that makes you want to write, it inspires expression. Writers often need to take themselves out of their normal, everyday lives to feel afresh. Some of my best plot line ideas have come from being in a new environment that somehow seems to wakes me up. That’s how I feel about Fez. What a dream – to write in Fez!"

Lisa Clifford

The writing retreat will focus on character, structure, unleashing your creativity and an opportunity to learn the tips and tricks of travel writing. It explores writing from a sense of place – how to immerse your readers in your chosen location through the use of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch – all senses heightened by the evocative surrounds of Fez. It will be held in the former Pasha's summer palace, Jardin des Biehn.

Following a career in radio, television and print journalism in Australia and America, Lisa Clifford moved to Italy and wrote The Promise – an Italian Romance and Death in the Mountains published by Pan Macmillan. She is the author of Walking Sydney and her latest book, Naples – A Way of Love, was published in October 2013 by Penguin. Lisa contributes opinion pieces, guides and lifestyle articles on Italy to The Australian, The Australian Financial review, Gourmet Traveler and a range of other magazines and newspapers.

The Art of Writing in Fez follows on from a series of well attended writers' retreats that Lisa has run in Tuscany. "Running top quality, writers retreats was something I had wanted to do for a long time," she says. "I’ve been an expat writer for many years and found that spending hours at my desk alone whilst living the life of the solitary writer made me rather lonely. I began to travel often to join other writers in the UK or US, to be with people who felt fulfilled through writing. Then I decided to run writers retreats myself, only I wanted to design programmes that gave either emerging or established writers a handle on every aspect of improving their craft.

"I also wanted to provide them with opportunities to meet publishers and agents; to give writers the chance to pick professional’s brains (so to speak). By the time I started the Art of Writing I knew many successful international writers who, upon asking, were extremely enthusiastic to teach. After four books I very much wanted to help others write their story and crack the publishing world."

Sandy McCutcheon
The other tutors are long term residents of Fez. Sandy McCutcheon is the author of twelve novels, twenty-three plays, two musicals, a libretto, a memoir, a children’s book and also non-fiction and poetry work. 

He has worked in commercial and public radio in Australia, New Zealand and Finland, including 15 years as the presenter of ‘Australia Talks Back’ on Australia’s Radio National.

Suzanna Clarke is an author, photographer and journalist. She worked as a photographer, reviewer, travel and feature writer for The Courier-Mail in Queensland, Australia for eleven years, and then spent four years as Arts Editor. Her work has been regularly published by major Australian newspapers and national and international magazines. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the Queensland University of Technology and worked part-time as a lecturer in Non-Fiction Creative Writing for three years.

Suzanna Clarke with Mustapha the builder

Suzanna's non-fiction book A House in Fez, published by Penguin, has also been published in the United Kingdom, the USA, Korea and Poland. She now works as the Cultural Co-ordinator for the American Language Center in Fez.

"People often ask me about my experiences living in Fez, and how difficult they were to translate to the printed page. I've learned so much since I've been living here about the culture and the people, I want to share how some of those experiences and ways of conveying them with other writers. Another aspect of telling stories is taking photographs, and I will also be giving tips and tricks on this."

Lisa explains that, "My job is to get people on the road to telling their story, whatever story that may be....I’ve seen enormous benefit for emerging and established writers in gathering together in a group with creative writing teachers and others to learn. And I’m not talking about attending a course where you go home at the end of the day. I’m talking about getting together in a group to eat, learn, hike, drink and simply hang out together with no distractions for a week."

No matter what your genre, the Fez workshop aims to lift your ability to write well. Whether you simply love writing, have a stalled project in hand or need stimulating time to work out the seed of an idea, the goal of your time in Fez is to improve on all levels. The course is applicable to fiction, memoir, travel journalism, historical, romance, creative non-fiction and blogging.

For further information about the Art of Writing in Fez  CLICK HERE. 

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