Course details

The novel writing course, taught by Carol Birch, will run over five daily sessions from 10.30am-1.30pm.  Each session includes practical exercises, examples from well-known novels and short readings from the group.

On Friday afternoon Canongate Book's Fiction Publishing Director, Francis Bickmore, and Head of Publicity, Angela Robertson, will give you an insight into the world of publishing and the editorial process.

During the first half of the week, Psychologies magazine advice columnist Lucy Beresford will conduct one-to-one half-hour sessions with each guest to assess your hopes, concerns and any blocks that are preventing you from achieving your full potential. 

She and Carol will also host a group seminar on Sunday evening looking at motivation and the flip side of it, procrastination.

The rest of the holiday is an opportunity for you to work on your writing. To enhance relaxation and creativity, there are optional gentle yoga classes available daily from 9.00-10.15am at an additional cost of 10 euros per person.

For course fees (including accommodation and food) please go here.


DAY ONE - ARRIVAL (Saturday 19th May)

We recommend that you arrive mid-afternoon or early evening and make your way to Benirras beach where we can pick you up and transport you to Shunya Villa.  A taxi to Benirras takes 5 minutes and should cost around 5 euros.


Carol will begin by covering plot and structure, including how plot works in more experimental and non-chronological novels, and exercises for getting started.  


On day two you will learn about exposition ie how to convey the information the reader needs to know, including background and backstory.  We will also start to create characters.


Day four will develop these characters through physical description, action, thoughts and voice.


This is a free day for you to explore the island or focus on your writing. Breakfast only is available on this day. We offer an optional dinner at nearby restaurant La Paloma. (Price tbc)


Day six will focus on voice and style, from how to use dialogue to reveal character and impart information, to tightening and pruning prose.


On day six Carol will advise on how to discipline and pace yourself, and how to keep motivated.  It will also be an opportunity to discuss concerns or topics which anyone feels have not been previously covered.   

In the afternoon session Francis will talk you through how to submit your novel to an agent; the key things publishers are looking for, ways to self-publish and the 7 rules for surviving as a writer.  Angela will explore how to generate your own publicity and build a following through blogs, social media and other means.

On your last evening at Shunya there will be a farewell dinner.


Check out is 11am but you are welcome to leave your luggage at Shunya while you spend a final day on the island.

CreateEscapes can also take you to El Churungito bar on Es Cavallet beach which is very near to the airport.