“I’ve just spent the most wonderful weekend at Trelowarren Retreat at the Kingdom Writer’s Retreat.
I’m not sure what I expected when I signed up, but the magic started from the moment I and my husband arrived. This is a very special place – what the ancient Celtic Christians referred to as a ‘thin’ place. A place where heaven seems to touch earth. The magic here is gentle…it doesn’t announce itself with a loud fanfare, but the house has a peace that tiptoes into your heart and whispers refreshment, peace, healing and re-envisioning.
Hosts Mike and Elaine Clarke showed us to our large and airy room, which overlooked the Gothic chapel and the lawns, where house martins chased after insects and the meadow flowers scented the evening air. The beds were soft and huge (super king-size!), the wardrobes Narnian in size, the peace tangible. We could feel the tensions of the week slip away almost immediately.
Mike and Elaine are wonderfully genial and sensitive hosts, anticipating the visitor’s every need, whether spoken or not…attentive, but never intrusive. Elaine’s home cooking is comforting, generous and imaginative – ingredients locally sourced, fresh and varied (the melon and ginger dessert with cream was to die for!). Meal times in the breakfast room, and gathering together over breakfast around the big kitchen table gave us the opportunity to get to know the other visitors and feel like a family too. After the evening sessions finished, a glass of wine around the kitchen table made it really feel like home!
Trelowarren Retreat’s rhythm of prayer in the morning and evening times in the chapel frames each day, and enabled us to begin and close the day with God, filling us with an overarching sense of Gods presence and love over us. The worship was sensitively led by Mike and Elaine, with a liturgy specially devised for Trelowarren Retreat. There is time for individual prayer and words of encouragement. This is a very special time in the day.
Our weekend was led by Mark Stibbe and G.P. Taylor, established authors and all round inspiring people! I felt so privileged to be there, part of an intimate group of around fifteen emerging and established writers, and we were blessed and moved by all Mark and Graham shared, and by their honesty and generosity in pouring out their knowledge and vision with us.
Graham led Saturday’s session on the nuts and bolts of writing seriously. He introduced us to the realities (the good, the bad and the ugly!) involved in finding literary agents and publishers, before encouraging us to consider self publishing and self marketing as a means of breaking the grip of the publishers. Liberating stuff!
We were instructed throughout by Mark and Graham on ‘the killer idea’, ‘finding a hook’ for our novels, ‘crafting great scenes’ and how to plan and execute our stories, and so much more. I loved the hands-on practical advice, but the weekend was about more than that…it was about inspiring us and encouraging us to get our writing out there, ‘under the radar’, taking God’s message of healing and love to today’s culture, with today’s technology. We were encouraged to see ‘our desk as our altar’ and to engage with a new Reformation.
There was something of the spirit of Lewis and Aslan about our time together.
‘It’s time for the writers’ was the message we took away with us.
Although we were at Trelowarren Retreat only a few short days, the place has such a sense of tranquility and unhurried pace, that we felt we had been at a spa retreat for a week! We left refreshed physically, spiritually and emotionally. Thank you Trelowarren Retreat. Thank you Mark and Graham. Thank you Mike and Elaine. We’ll definitely be back!”