LIVING A WRITER’S LIFE an evening with Devon poet & author Roselle Angwin
BookStop event at The Bedford Hotel, Tavistock, Devon, Friday July 7th 2017, 7.30pm
Westcountry poet and novelist Roselle Angwin began her published career here in Tavistock, where she also started the first of her 26 years of popular holistic creative writing courses. She was making her living as a shoemaker at the time, working out of the Ox Yard craft workshops at the National Trust’s Buckland Abbey in the early 1990s, when two things happened simultaneously to prompt the change she’d always wanted: living the writing life.
One was a phone call in 1993 to her shoemaking workshop, when she was covered in rubber dust and glue, from a leading mind body spirit publisher, Element Books, to commission a book: Riding the Dragon – myth and the inner journey. Roselle had recently qualified in counselling after training in Transpersonal Psychology, and was facilitating, part-time, courses in personal growth called ‘Myth as Metaphor’.
The second trigger was her daughter coming home from her new school, Tavistock College, to report that there was no creative writing on the syllabus. Roselle went into the school to ask questions about that, and came out having committed herself to offering free lunchtime sessions with whoever wanted to come; as it happened, quite a few. This resulted in an anthology, and on the strength of that Roselle was invited to offer paid sessions at the College for students and then for Adult Education.
Roselle’s deep interests are in how creativity and the imagination can help to transform the way we live in the world, especially in relation to the other-than-human. As a writer on place and deep ecology, she’s impassioned by our relationship to the rest of the natural world. All her work, whether novels, poetry or essays, includes a strong sense of place and the natural world (her most recent novel, The Burning Ground, is set partly on Dartmoor during the foot-and-mouth crisis, which she documented as it happened).
Roselle is known for being an inspiring and inspired course facilitator. Her workshops and retreats take place throughout the Westcountry but also in others of Britain and France’s wild and beautiful places. Her work frequently concerns the experience of presence in a place, but also in a culture, with its stories, poems, legends, myths and beliefs. (Roselle has her own roots in the Celtic cultures of our island, a subject she also studied at university and in her later psychotherapy training.)
Her courses range from writing a novel (the first of these courses was featured in a full-page spread in The Guardian in 1998), through intensive poetry courses, to writing for health and wellbeing, and for personal change and growth.
Her favourite courses are the ones that take place outdoors, encouraging writing as environmental practice. Her long Dartmoor poem River Suite was commissioned to be taken into 9 rural Devon schools to inspire pupils to write poetry about Devon, set it to music, and perform it. Her novels explore ideas of responsibility to self and/or to others, and like her poetry always involve rural themes. (The first, Imago, is a timeslip novel set near Exeter in the 20th century and the Pyrenees in the 13th, at the time of the Cathar persecutions.)
The evening will involve some readings from Roselle’s books, and also a discussion of some of the ideas raised, as well as her journey to being a published writer via a rather crooked path.
She’ll also speak of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of making one’s way in an uncertain and precarious field, and will be very happy to discuss general questions in relation to why writing matters; the writing process; how to submit work, and other related topics.
Tickets (£8) can be purchased from Book Stop (01822 617244) or on the door.