What our attendees say


‘Many thanks for a wonderful event last weekend – everything seemed to go smoothly, and I found it all very uplifting and inspiring.  One of my One-to-Ones wanted to see more and the other referred me to her colleague, and I also had interest from a third agent that I was chatting with after her workshop, so fingers crossed!’

‘Thank you for a great festival!  I really enjoyed every aspect!  I thought Lemn Sissay was magic; loved his performance!  Adrienne Dines’ talk was inspirational, and very helpful. I had a very short chat with her afterwards and that was brilliant! Her presentation was excellent.  My one to ones went well. As a result of the advice I have been given I have now got a totally clear picture of where my novel…is going and am feeling very positive about its future outcome!’

‘This year I was only able to come for one day, but I got so much out of it. Lemn Sissay’s talk was worth the journey in itself, and then I was lucky enough to have 4 excellent Saturday talks.  I also particularly appreciated both of M.G.Leonard’s talks – about the internet and about research. I knew I didn’t know enough about social media so that was really enlightening. I didn’t realise how useful the research I have done for my children’s historical novel might be when/if I ever get to the stage of promoting it, so that talk was encouraging and affirming.  And of course, it’s just lovely being around other writers, and feeling part of a community – which I feel even more part of now that I have followed M.G. Leonard’s advice and become more active on twitter! 

This is my third Winchester, and I’ve also been on various other courses, so occasionally I think that I really don’t need any more advice about writing, but then I come along to Winchester and feel so inspired, and learn all sorts of stuff that I didn’t know, and it’s just a wonderful experience.’

‘I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the Festival this weekend. I found the sessions very insightful – particularly Madeline Milburn’s and the Mslexia session on writing a synopsis. I met some amazing people and I was impressed with the way the speakers so easily mixed with everybody. The one-to-ones were so helpful and having a full 15 minutes made such a difference as it allowed a proper conversation to spark. Finally, I think providing feedback on our competition submissions is thoughtful as well as useful.’


‘Starting on Friday with Jasper Fforde, moving through the four different subjects of the talks on Saturday and ending with Magic on Sunday, was my idea of Heaven.’

‘It was my first visit, and I really enjoyed the quality of the lectures and agent meetings. Meg Rosoff’s talk was a real high point. I was delighted to come away from the agent meetings with two requests for full manuscripts, so fingers crossed!’

‘The one-to-ones with literary agents are an exceptional opportunity to meet professionals who work in the industry at the cutting edge of the vocation we writers are trying to access.’

‘I met four agents and, in every case, they were complimentary and positive. The point is, though, that while praise is nice, all agents offered me ways I could make my novel and the package that goes with it more accessible and potentially successful.’

‘I’m now clear about what I need to do to make my novel leap from the page and surge forward.’

‘Winchester is such a positive place.’

‘I spoke to an interesting and kind lady who talked to me about PhD opportunities at Winchester and I came away really excited. I met lovely people-new writers from Rome and Paris and Stoke-on-Trent.  We three travelling writers came away having been improved and delighted and inspired.  I couldn’t have had a better weekend.’

‘I absolutely LOVED my weekend at the writer’s festival. One of the best weekends I can remember and I look forward to next year.’

‘Excellent Friday workshop, polished to perfection.’

‘A most excellent Festival – well organised, such knowledgeable speakers and many fab opportunities – all in a very friendly environment. Thank you.’

‘The appointments covered a wide range of topics and complimented one another well (one requested a full manuscript but suggested improvements needed to be made, a second gave lots of notes on how to make those improvements).’

‘In my case, they [the agents] had all taken a great deal of time and trouble to assess my work.’

‘I had one very positive appointment and two where the agents have asked for all my work and requested I contact them first if anyone else offers to represent me. The festival has obviously been an amazing experience for me.’

Networking – ‘One of the best parts of the festival, knowing we’re all in it together-even the pros!’

‘Thanks to this festival, I was able to not only exchange advice and opinions with fellow writers but also get a work opportunity in book illustration.’

‘It was a brilliant experience overall, the one to ones were the highlight, and the connections. Am very very pleased I came, and was most impressed by efficient friendly way the conference was run. Thank you.’







‘As a first-timer I had the most brilliant experience and will definitely be coming again next year. My overwhelming reflection is how each of the speakers in each workshop I attended seemed genuinely keen to help us progress as writers. I have to say the same about the one-to-one agents. Each workshop I attended whizzed by.’

‘It was my first time at a writing festival and I loved it. It’s an excellent venue, there was a good mix of sessions, the organisation was spot on, plus there was a great keynote speaker with Sebastian Faulks! It was also nice to compare notes with fellow writers and chat to a range of speakers and tutors at mealtimes too. I’ll certainly be back!’

‘I only came on the Friday during the day but the place was buzzing. I attended the Madeleine Milburn masterclass which was excellent – properly thought out and genuinely helpful.’

‘I attended Jasper Fforde’s Sunday workshop and it was superb, especially the bit about spiky balls…’

‘The high points for me were the one-to-ones and the master class with Sallyanne Sweeney. The 1:1s were excellent – I was really impressed by the care taken by the four people I saw and their warmth and engagement. The masterclass was very practical and focused and Sallyanne provided lots of useful feedback and advice, and an insight into the work of a literary agent.’

‘I attended the Sunday workshop run by Paul Dodgson. I think it was one of the best workshop experiences I have had. This was in part due to the skill and knowledge of the tutor but also because of the widely differing backgrounds of the learners. Paul was excellent at drawing on the human material in the classroom to illustrate a range of approaches available to us as writers.’

‘I just wanted to say it was my first time at the festival and I felt the weekend could not have been any better, the organisation was excellent and the people I met were so helpful and friendly, and I will certainly be attending again next year.’

‘The highlight for me was the full day workshop on the Sunday with Sarah Mussi. She shared all the secrets she uses to write page-turning fiction and I am now re-writing my story as a result.’

‘Stephen Thompson’s dialogue workshop was comprehensive, encouraging and supportive. Stephen has an inspirational energy.’

‘At each stage of my writing career, the Winchester experience has come up trumps! I’ve been an author without an agent, an author with an agent but without a book deal, an author with an agent and a book deal and, at each stage, the choice of talks, workshops and support provided by the organisers have been spot on! I’ve been able to have one-to-ones, to learn about both the craft and commerce of the writing life and made many fabulous writing friends along the way. Also, for the past two years I’ve been lucky enough to have been asked to present a workshop and have worn my Author badge with such pride and much, much gratitude!’