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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2018 > Swsaenvweicnkt at seventy

Swsaenvweicnkt at seventy

Chairman Phil Collins looks back at the history of the much-loved writers’ summer school
Founder Cecil Hunt

1949 and post-war Britain is slowly getting back on its feet. In the world of literature Enid Blyton’s character Noddy makes his first appearance and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is published. Meanwhile in the Derbyshire village of Swanwick, the first Writer Circles’ Summer School takes place during August.

Fast forward to 2018 and August will see Swanwick Writers’ Summer School or, ‘Swanwick’, as it’s affectionately known, celebrate its platinum anniversary. In a much-changed world how has this school continued to take place for seventy consecutive years? What’s the secret that has kept it going? A look through its history helps provide an answer.

The idea of a Summer School was put forward in 1948 by Cecil Hunt, Chairman of the London Writer Circle. Having spoken at many small meetings throughout the country he wanted to bring together members of different writers’ circles, where the more successful could pass on their knowledge. The purpose of the school was defined as: ‘To provide a meeting place for writers where, amidst congenial surroundings, they may give and receive help and encouragement in the art of writing.’

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Bumper issue! Your guide to 2018's writing events and festivals Inside the new issue, discover what you can learn about writing by studying Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle, and get up to speed on what's happening in the grip lit genre. Learn how to conquer rejection and move your writing on, and see how our star interviewee, Katherine Arden, took inspiration from folklore and history for her magic realist historical fantasies. • Keep up to date with the latest writing competitions and opportunities in Writers' News.