We created the partnership for Word Space, our new talent development programme for South West writers, with five organisations who share our focus on inclusion and opportunity for writers.

Over the next year, we will be working together to maximise the impact of Word Space, share knowledge and connect our twelve Word Space writers with a wide range of opportunities within and beyond the programme. During that time, we’ll be profiling our partners and highlighting some of the great work they do to support writers. This month, we’re featuring Gloucestershire based Dialect Writers.

Dialect is a writer development platform offering courses, workshops, mentoring and residencies to people in rural and under-served communities. With a focus on removing barriers to access, Dialect uses a hybrid model of online and in-person approaches to support rural writers who want to develop their craft. Their upcoming summer writing retreat ‘Exploring Genius Loci: writing about place’ is an example of this. This non-residential retreat will be tutored by Philip Rush, JLM Morton and visiting writer Madeline Bunting, former Associate Editor of the Guardian.

Over four-days, participants will explore writing about place in poetry and creative non-fiction. ‘Place writing’ is an exciting subgenre that includes eco-poetry, nature writing, psychogeography and travel writing. The retreat will take place in the walled garden at Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stroud. Days will be split into morning workshop sessions and one-to-one meetings and writing / reading time in the afternoon. There will be time for discussion and feedback from the tutors. The retreat will culminate in Dialect’s Summer Social and an evening of readings in the pavilion of Museum in the Park.

You can find out more about this retreat and discover a recommended reading list here and discover more about Dialect’s upcoming programme of events and opportunities here.