Creative writing and publishing

Writing in nature with Mary Reynolds Thompson

Ref: SSS08962

Suitable for all

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About this course

Use diverse writing techniques including journaling, poetry, and creative non-fiction to explore the relationship between inner and outer landscapes. Learn how to creatively respond to nature using metaphor, and discover a greater sense of self and place in both your writing and walks.

Course Description

On this course you will explore creative writing, poetry, and journal techniques that advance your understanding of the relationship between inner and outer nature. Everything in the natural world is potentially symbolic and has the ability to reflect aspects of hidden forces (energies, patterns of behavior) within. When you engage nature's metaphors, you unearth wild and uncharted aspects of your own psyche, from which to explore greater authenticity and depth in your writing.

Each session will take you outside to explore a fresh aspect of the gardens and grounds. You will be invited to turn your attention both outward to the natural landscapes, but also inward, to how these places awaken and accentuate different feelings, memories, and qualities within you. You will draw inspiration from writers like Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, Linda Hogan, and others. You will also be introduced to a diverse range of journal techniques and learn how to use different ways to express what is important to you in the moment. You will discover how to use different styles of writing to explore the full range of your voice.

By the end of the course you will have developed a diverse body of writing and will recognise how and when to use certain writing techniques to effect different outcomes. You will have attuned to nature writing as a path to develop ideas and techniques, as well as personal growth. Through the sharing and community building that happens during this course, you will also feel more alive to your particular creative strengths and ability to give voice to your deeper self in powerful, metaphoric ways. For as John Muir famously wrote: " œI only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." 

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for your summer school week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

Special Summer School features:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A swap-over session to another course of your choice

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (pre-booked)

• A celebration with dinner, entertainment and music

• Workshop displays of students' work and informal end-of-course group reviews


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes the cost of providing an A2 pad, a sharpie, some glue and coloured pencils.

What students need to bring

  • Clothing and footwear suitable for walking and working outdoors
  • A journal dedicated just to this course.

Available to buy

  • Notebook or sketchbook for journaling
  • Pens


Mary Reynolds Thompson

Mary is a facilitator of journal and poetry therapy and an international teacher and speaker. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and her book Reclaiming the Wild Soul was a 2015 Nautilus Award Winner. She is core faculty for the Therapeutic Writing Institute, the leading training institute for expressive writing therapy.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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