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Creative St Helena Director attracts renowned Authors Louis de Bernières and Helen Carey to St Helena Writers Retreat 2019. Guest blog post by Teeny Lucy

As a child, I remember hiding under the blankets with a torch, engrossed in whichever book I was in the middle of at the time, hoping that Mum wouldn’t come in to check that I was asleep. No tablets or iphones with back-lit screens in those days. No swipe left to turn the pages!

Proper books with paper pages that I sometimes dog-eared at the top when a bookmark wasn’t available, so that I could remember which page I had got to. In those days, many books by Enid Blyton – Famous Five, Secret Seven, Mallory Towers, Black Beauty and Pony books by the dozen. Paperback books were what most of my pocket money was spent on!

These days I don’t seem to have the luxury of time to just read for the sake of reading. I will still pick up a book from the Public library or Inkwell bookshop from time to time, but most of my reading for pleasure in the past few years has been done aboard our now decommissioned beloved RMS. Those decadently relaxing voyages to Capetown, or Ascension, or Tristan where time was on your side before lunch, after lunch, in the lounges, on the sundeck – I always had a book or Kindle in my hand.

Reading is what has always inspired me to write too, and like many people, I enjoy the process of writing short stories, poetry, children’s fiction, flash fiction mostly without any particular goal at the end of it.

And in my work on St Helena island as director of Creative Saint Helena, I feel fortunate to be able to encourage others to enjoy creative writing. The writer’s workshops that we run have been well attended in the main, and there are some astonishingly good writers here who have a real way with words.

And to be able to attract two well published and eminent authors to the island for a week in May 2019, to lead and tutor St Helena’s inaugural Write-On St Helena creative writing course, is just amazing.

Louis de Bernières has written full length books with the best known being Captain Corelli’s Mandolin in 1994 which was also made into a movie, and has been translated into 11 different languages.  Red Dog and Blue Dog also followed the book to movie genre, and from his first book The War of Don Emmanuel’s nether parts to the 6th – Birds without wings to his most recently published So Much Life Left Over, Louis obviously has no intention of resting on his laurels!

He is certainly a prolific writer and writes in a shed, in a library, on trains – wherever inspiration grabs him.

I did once get left on an uninhabited island to write for a day on one writing course, and I have sat and scribbled at the end of the Blue Point post box walk which has stunning coastal views of St Helena – but never in a shed!

Louis has also written anthologies, poetry, and is a keen musician playing mandolin, guitar, clarinet and flute. We will be having one jam-type, foot-stomping evening, as part of our week on St Helena, so if you fancy joining us, bring your penny whistle or kazoo!

We are also looking forward to welcoming author and artist, Helen Carey who has written a series of war-time novels in her Lavender Road series and is the author of 8 unputdownable published novels including the latest 2018 publication Victory Girls, as well as being an experienced creative writing tutor on M.A university courses.

Helen is also planning to stay on St Helena for an extra week up in the country to enjoy other attractions that the island has to offer and to host a week’s literary festival.

Louis loves islands and has never written about anywhere that he hasn’t visited – so I’m really hoping that perhaps one day, St Helena will be immortalised in a full length work of fiction and following that even a movie! Imagine the incredible landscape on the big screen. You have to dream big!

I am hoping that we can attract 12 enthusiastic budding international writers to St Helena for this week where 7 nights comfortable accommodation, meals, including traditional St Helenian fare, tutoring, readings, flights from Johannesburg and 5 island excursions are included on land and sea. If St Helena can’t inspire some imaginative writing, where can?

Link to Tourism page and info:http://sthelenatourism.com/writers-retreat-st-helena/

or Link to Write-On St Helena Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/writewithlouisandhelen/

Teeny Lucy

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