La Talbotte, French Holiday Gite

Contact Susan on 00 33 (0) 67 97 61 602
Or by email

Eating outRiver bank with boatsRiver bank with boats

Writers Workshop

Stella Duffy & Shelley Silas

(prices from £680 for participants – partners welcome)

FOR ONE WEEK ONLY we have great pleasure in inviting you to join us on a writing workshop run by STELLA DUFFY and SHELLEY SILAS.

The course runs from Monday morning to Friday afternoon but arrival is on Sunday evening and departure is Saturday morning. A welcome dinner on the Sunday allows people to get to know each other and the course leaders in preparation for the week ahead.

La Talbotte is a holiday home during the summer and provides a tranquil setting for the workshop. There is plenty of room for participants to find space to write outside the formal workshop hours. The countryside is beautiful at this time of the year so bring some walking shoes or a bike if you would like to explore.

All meals will be eaten at La Talbotte and include continental breakfast, light lunch and a four course dinner. Wine is included. For more information about the area please visit the rest of our website. Any questions email Susan Comaish at or telephone - France 00 33 (0) 67 97 61 602.

Stella Duffy and Shelley Silas are both experienced and engaged writing tutors. Between them they cover just about every form of fiction from theatre and radio to novels and short stories.

Through enjoyable practical and written exercises, group discussion, and one-to-one sessions, they will look at storytelling, creating characters, writing dialogue, and overcoming those blocks that inhibit all of us from time to time. We will also take some time to discuss the basics of getting into print/on air/ on stage.

By the end of the course we aim to have each student feel confident to read or share a piece work in an informal presentation to the whole group. (NOT compulsory, but we reckon you’ll feel like it by then!)

This course is open to any level of student, and is probably most useful for those who want a kickstart to get them back on track, or to get them going in the first place!


Stella Duffy
Stella was born in South London, grew up in New Zealand, and has lived in the UK since 1986. She has written eleven novels, Eating Cake and Immaculate Conceit published by Sceptre, State of Happiness, Parallel Lies, Singling Out The Couples and The Room of Lost Things all published by Virago. The other five are her Saz Martin crime series published by Serpent’s Tail – Calendar Girl, Wavewalker, Beneath the Blonde, Fresh Flesh and Mouths of Babes. She was co-editor of the anthology Tart Noir and has written over thirty short stories and many feature articles and reviews.

The Room of Lost Things was longlisted for the 2008 Orange Prize and won Stonewall Writer of the Year 2008. State of Happiness was longlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize, and is in development with Fiesta Productions for whom she has also written the screenplay. Calendar Girl was voted fifth in the international Big Gay Read competition. In 2002 she won the CWA Short Story Dagger Award for Martha Grace.

Stella has written eight plays including Cell Sell (which she also directed) and Prime Residenit for the National Youth Theatre, Crocodiles and Bears for Steam Industry. Her verbatim piece A Guest on Other People’s Ground was part of the National Theatre’s Right Angles platforms in 2006 and she is developing it for Fireraisers to tour in 2009. She still (very occasionally) works as a theatre director and performer.

Stella has taught writing and performance workshops for the Arvon Foundation, WriteonHoliday, Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London Theatresports, Exeter University, Falmouth College of Arts among many others.

Shelley Silas
Shelley was born in Calcutta and moved to London with her family when she was a child.

Shelley’s stage plays include Eating Ice Cream on Gaza Beach (NYT/Soho Theatre), Shrapnel (Steam Industry/BAC), Falling (The Bush Theatre, Pearson Writer-in-Residence 2002), Calcutta Kosher (Southwark Playhouse, Birmingham Rep, Theatre Royal Stratford East), Mercy Fine, (Southwark Playhouse, Birmingham Rep), He Says She Says (an extract), BritBits 4 at the Kraine Theatre, New York.

Her radio plays include, The Sound of Silence (short-listed for the Imison Award), Ink, Calcutta Kosher, The Magpie Stories, Collective Fascination, Nothing Happened (with Luke Sorba), as well as adaptations of Hanan Al-Shaykh’s novel Only in London and, (with John Harvey), Paul Scott’s The Raj Quartet.

She’s written a television film for Touch Paper TV, The Wedding Dress, and compiled and edited the short story anthology, 12 Days, published by Virago. She was a winner in the ICA’s New Blood fiction competition with her short story Via Calcutta, published in the on-line anthology Endangered Species. Shelley has written and performed specially commissioned short stories at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and the Hexham Book Festival and contributed stories to The Flash (ed Peter Wilde) and the Diva Book of Short Stories.

Shelley has led writing workshops for the Arvon Foundation, the National Youth Theatre, Mandy Wheeler Sound Production, Hall for Cornwall, the Coliseum Theatre Writers' Room in Oldham, and lectured/taught workshops for various London University students.


(Maximum of 10 participants)

Twin rooms
Single Occupancy with course £780
Double Occupancy with course £680
Double Occupancy without course £550
Double rooms
Single Occupancy with course £780
Double Occupancy with course £680
Double Occupancy without course £550
Single rooms in main house
These two rooms share a bathroom/shower
£680 per week with course

Prices include all meals and wine.

Breakfast – continental with croissants, pain aux chocolat, home made jam, local honey etc
Lunch – buffet with salads etc.

Onion Tart with Goats Cheese
Haddock Boulangere
Selection of Cheeses
Petits Pots aux Chocolat
Coffee and Wine
Feta and Watermelon Salad
Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken
Sables aux fruits rouges
Coffee and Wine
Smoked Fish Selection
Joue de Boeuf aux carrottes
Apple Tart and cinnamon ice-cream
Coffee and Wine