Friday, 24 October 2014

Winter News

Dear All

It seemed easier to write a blog post dealing with this winter's plans and then I can refer people to it in any correspondence when I am asked :)

So.  Here is the plan!

I shall be in UK from mid November and my main business focus is to establish two websites - working with my long term friend and professional collaborator David Lanni of WildBlue Creative.

One website will be for putting my Creative Writing courses online so that all and any interested people can download courses and have online learning with a variety of text, audio and video exercises and other materials to enable a satisfactory student experience.  This site will also have free areas, members' areas, a user forum, Skype and many other features.

The other website will be for my Creative Writing holidays/retreats which till now have been running successfully in a variety of beautiful and inspiring locations within Egypt.  The plan is to expand these writing holidays to an international arena; offering a variety of Creative Writing holidays/retreats in locations such as Florence, Tuscany, south of France, Crete, St Petersburg, Cornwall and many more .. and.. also (of course!) still Egypt  :)

Whilst in UK I will also be teaching an online Creative Writing one hour class once a week for a group organised via LaYinka Sanni, a writing teacher/editor in London.  And I shall be working on editing a novel for at least one Egyptian private student who has a terrific book in the making and we shall work via emails and Skype if and when necessary etc.

And, those of you based in Egypt and reading this may be asking, 'But when will you be back?'.  I have hopes to start Creative Writing courses again at several Diwan bookstores and my other courses at various venues in Cairo and wider Egypt in early 2015.  Once I have got started on my immediate winter plans building the websites I shall be able to give definite times and information of  return plans.

Anyone else interested in online course, editing work or anything else in the meantime from now through winter - please email me with your enquiries:

Many thanks and wishing you all a winter wonderland!  :)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Writing Retreat in Siwa - A Place of Beauty Beyond

I got back a few days ago from the Siwa writing retreat and what a splendid, inspiring, beautiful and peaceful experience it was!  The landscape is sublime, reminding me of outback Australia, of Balinese jungles, of storybook magical places existing out of time and space.  And from the moment I stepped foot upon Siwa's ground my worries and anxieties were lifted, taken from me and I became carefree and rested.

The group consisted of 5 writers; Mirette, Bahira, Hanaa, Nadine and Noura and myself, the tutor, of course as the 6th.  Each day we had writing class in several fabulous locations, cultural/historical tours to amazing places steeped in story such as the Oracle of Amun and Shali old village.  We had our meals, market shopping for handicrafts, drinking juices and teas by sunset lakes, chatting, laughing, night swims under the full moon and looking at the stars.  Part of the beauty of the trip was the interchange of ideas, friendships, shared moments and smiles - also not least enjoying the creativity and skills of the group's writing. I shall compile the narratives of Siwa into a collection; 'Voices of Siwa' for instance - a collection of monologues by fictional Siwan characters and also a collection of landscape pieces and mythical Siwan beasts!

To get a feeling of the wonder and creativityof the trip please do take a look through the public photo album here:

and the full details of what the trip consisted of can be seen from the original advert here:

I fully intend to return to Siwa and offer a number of writing retreats there; the next will most probably be in March 2015 - and I will be offering a number of writing retreats worldwide - so stay tuned to this and other news!  :)