• Picture:  Kristina Banholzer
It never fails to charm
08 Aug 2018 / / Written by Claire Dyer

Claire Dyer is a novelist and poet. She has a BA in English and History from the University of Birmingham, an MA in Victorian Literature and Culture from the University of Reading and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. She’s published four novels and two poetry collections. Her latest novel, The Last Day, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @ClaireDyer1 or visit her website www.clairedyer.com

Claire is here for our Summer Retreat.

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This is my sixth stay at Tŷ Newydd and it never fails to charm.

The welcome is fulsome, the accommodation, setting and food are stunning but what’s of greater value to those who wish to write is that there is a spirit here which says, ‘It’s OK, you’re allowed to immerse yourself in your words. If you wish, leave the real world at the gate and fold yourself into the hills, let the view soothe you, listen to the owls at night and watch the bats flit across the lawn. Let these be the things that matter. Give yourself the space and time to write. You deserve it.’

And, if I track my own journey over these six visits, spanning ten years or so and encompassing a range of tutored and non-tutored retreats, I see myself change from unpublished poet and author to published. Some of the poems in my first collection, Eleven Rooms, were written here; I’ve also learned some of the tips and techniques I’ve since applied to my novels here. I feel that the words ‘Tŷ Newydd’ are stamped inside me like those in a stick of rock!

However, what’s of greater importance are the friendships I’ve made within its walls: lasting connections with poets and authors without whom my life would be so much poorer.  These are the true blessings of this place.