WORKSHOP: Let’s Do Words!: Writing for Wellbeing and Resilience

Join Bethan Rees to explore the world of wellbeing-based creative writing, where the goal is: “I have written something down”… That’s it, you win!

Creative writing for wellbeing allows you to explore your feelings, the environment, your imaginative ideas and just about anything, without the pressure of spelling, grammar or inspiration holding you back. The only thing in the way of your creative limits is yourself.

Bethan will set small, attainable and fun writing exercises to encourage you to write about whatever is on your mind in that present moment.

Everything is down to choice: how deep you go, how much you share with others and how you interpret the exercises set. There will also be flexible safety guidelines in place, which will be shared at the beginning of the session.

New data from the Office for National Statistics reveals that depression rates have doubled since the Covid-19 outbreak began. Wellbeing activities, including expressive writing, have been found to boost mood, enhance wellbeing, reduce symptoms of depression, reduce intrusion and avoidance symptoms post-trauma, and even improve your working memory (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005).

Bethan Rees is currently studying for an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She is an experienced creative writing tutor who has led workshops in person and online. As a writer she has been published in a number of online and print poetry magazines and is working on chapbook/poetry pamphlet. Although she is not a counsellor, if anything should cause concern or a need for further exploration during your writing experiences, she will have signposted options available.

Note: this workshop has limited places and advanced booking is recommended.
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Age guidance: 16+

Location: Festival Hub

Please note: this event will take place in our Festival Hub on the Piazza; however, as Bethan has tested positive for covid and is unable to travel, she will appear via Zoom on a large screen at the Hub to teach the workshop.


If you long to write a novel but are struggling to get ideas on the page this workshop is for you.

Join Writing Coach Cat Lumb, The Write Catalyst, for an online workshop, in which she will introduce you to her five-step plan to outline your novel, from identifying your idea to creating your easy-to-follow roadmap to write it.

If you long to write a novel but can’t find the right idea, or you have your story but aren’t sure how to take it from in your head onto the page, this is the workshop for you.

By the end of the workshop you’ll have a clear idea of your story, who your main characters are, why they’re crucial to your novel, and an understanding of how time and place play an important role in your book.

Not only this but you’ll end up with an outline to follow and a selection of key scenes that you can build on so that you can start writing with confidence right until you get to ‘The End’.

About Cat Lumb: With‌ 10 ‌years‌ ‌of‌ ‌writing‌ ‌under‌ her ‌belt,‌ ‌Cat has ‌faced‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌struggles‌ ‌that‌ ‌come‌ ‌with‌ ‌writing‌ ‌novels‌ ‌and‌ ‌short‌ ‌stories.‌ ‌From‌ ‌writer’s‌ ‌block‌ ‌to‌ ‌overwhelm,‌ ‌and‌ ‌uncertainty‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌fear‌ ‌of‌ ‌not‌ ‌being‌ ‌good‌ ‌enough, she ‌spent‌ ‌years‌ ‌believing‌ ‌that‌ ‌she ‌would‌ ‌never‌ ‌be‌ ‌the‌ ‌writer‌ she ‌dreamed‌ ‌of‌ ‌being,‌ ‌and‌ ‌labelling‌ herself ‌a‌ ‌failure‌ ‌when‌ ‌–‌ ‌in‌ ‌reality‌ ‌–‌ ‌she ‌was‌ ‌learning‌ her ‌craft,‌ ‌developing‌ her ‌skills,‌ ‌and‌ ‌improving‌ her ‌writing‌ ‌with‌ ‌every‌ ‌word‌ ‌written.‌ ‌

She left her cultural education job in a museum she loved in the midst of the pandemic to live her dream‌ ‌life; ‌writing novels in her ‘Plotting Shed’ and supporting other writers in finding ways to live their own writing dreams. Her debut Novel – In Lies We Trust – reached #16 in the Kindle Spy Thriller Bestseller charts in its release week, and she’s been published in Writing Magazine, Women’s Weekly, and by Mslexia and Comma Press.

‌You can find out more about her via her website:


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Please Note: This workshop has limited places and advanced booking is recommended.

ONLINE EVENT: A zoom link will be sent to you the day before the event.

Age guidance: 16+

Writing Real Lives in Historical Fiction

Stephen May, author of Sell Us the Rope featuring a young Joseph Stalin, discusses the pleasures and challenges of writing historical fiction about real people with Devika Ponnambalam, author of I Am Not Your Eve, which tells the story of Teha’amana, the 13-year-old girl sold to the artist Paul Gaugin in Tahiti.

Sell Us the Rope: May 1907. Young Stalin – poet, bank- robber, spy – is in London for the 5th Congress of the Russian Communist Party. As he builds his powerbase in the party, Stalin manipulates alliances with Lenin, Trotsky, and Rosa Luxemburg under the eyes of the Czar’s secret police. Meanwhile he is drawn to the fiery Finnish activist Elli Vuokko and risks everything in a relationship as complicated as it is dangerous. ‘Original, adept and confident… What can I say except I wish I had written it myself?’ Hilary Mantel

Stephen May is the author of five novels including Life! Death! Prizes! which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and The Guardian Not The Booker Prize. He has also been shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year and is a winner of the Media Wales Reader’s Prize. He has also written plays, as well as for television and film. He lives in West Yorkshire.

I Am Not Your Eve tells the story of Teha’amana, the 13-year-old girl who was sold to artist Paul Gaugin during his first stay on Tahiti in 1891. Teha’amana can be seen in some of Gaugin’s most famous works, such as The Spriit of the Dead Keeps Watch, and is written about in Gaugin’s journals. The story explores the themes of power, abuse and colonialism, and incorporates the origin myths that underpinned Tahitian society before French colonists arrived on the island, as well as diary entries from Gaugin’s daughter, Aline.

Devika Ponnambalam is a writer and film-maker based in Edinburgh. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in Film & Video from West Surrey College of Art & Design in 1991, and from 1995 to 1998 specialised in Fiction Directing at the National Film and Television School, before moving into mainstream television, directing over 25 episodes of Hollyoaks and a number of shorts. In 2003, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. I Am Not Your Eve is her first novel.

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Location: Festival Hub