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OCA events: Hexham Book Festival  

This year, some festivals are staying online, to prevent having to cancel at a later date. But the established Hexham Festival, established in 2006, is planning to go ahead next month in beautiful Northumberland.  We’re delighted that three of our creative writing tutors will be running workshops at the event.

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Tutor news: Vicky MacKenzie

Huge congratulations to OCA Creative Writing tutor Vicky MacKenzie on this highly prestigious book deal for her novel. Any of her students will agree that she is a wise and wonderful writer as well as a wonderful tutor – so it’s great news to hear of the imminent publication of this fascinating book.

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What is your tutor up to? – Garry MacKenzie

In some of my previous blogs I’ve explored writing about the environment, translation, and building on other texts in your own writing. These are all issues which I’ve been thinking about for my poetry book Ben Dorain: a conversation with a mountain, which has just been published. In this blog I’ll explain what the book is about, and share what I’ve learned from writing it.

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What can poetry do?

I’ve been thinking of what poetry can and can’t do in a week which saw both  Amanda Gorman, the USA youth poet laureate, performing her poem at the inauguration ceremony of President Biden in Washington, and a reading by the ten poets short-listed for the T.S. Eliot prize in the UK. The German philosopher, Theoodre […]

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The Process of Accepting Feedback.

I critique as I read so you get my thoughts as I go. (Big smiley emoji). Excitement welled in my chest. I’d spent years writing my novel, and I was so proud of it. I’d found a critique group, posted my first chapter, and here it was: my very first critique. I could see it […]

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The Show Must Go On: Digital Possibilities in the Covid Era for Writers and Learners

  I am sure as a distance learner, you’ll likely be used to incorporating different technologies into your learning experience  – I was certainly Zooming ‘before it was cool’ thanks to OCA meetings and I can’t help but notice how many learning tools we seem to be early adopters of. We’re also lucky to have […]

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New Year Resolutions and the Seven Deadly Sins

It’s that time of year again – when we all promise we will rid ourselves of bad habits and become better people. But for writers, good people can be poor characters: it’s the flaws we’re all interested in. All crimes, for instance, can begin with one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and they may make […]

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Top of the ‘greasy’ pole!

Those of you who follow our OCA Creative Writing social media – in particular, the @ocawriters Twitter account – may have spotted a few celebratory posts earlier in the year. When we learned the course had achieved 100% student satisfaction in the 2020 NSS survey, we were all absolutely thrilled. ‘NSS’ stands for National Student […]

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Socially distanced, still smiling: a play for our times

If someone were to write a book of ‘Lessons from Lockdown’ – and I am sure they will! – then surely one of the most important is how much we should value the arts. How many of us were comforted during the worst times by reading, music or visual art or by being able to […]

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