A sense of place – with Rosanna Ley

Dorset Writers Network workshop, with Rosanna Ley, Saturday 3 February, 10-12. 

Venue: The White Room, The Chapel in the Garden, Bridport.

Anyone who has read Rosanna Ley’s novels will know how important a sense of place is to her writing.

cover of The Little Theatre by the SeaTake her latest, The Little Theatre by the Sea. It’s set in two outstandingly beautiful locations: Sardinia and the part of West Dorset we both know so well, centred around Bridport and West Bay. I enjoyed following the characters around some well known places on the Dorset coast and though I’ve never been to Sardinia I found myself longing to go there and experience all those sights and smells (and the warmth and the food) for myself.

It was a pleasure to have the chance to attend one of Rosanna’s workshops on a Sense of Place. The one in Dorchester had been such a success and there were a number of people, including myself, who had been unable to attend, so we were glad to have another chance, in Bridport, in The White Room of The Chapel in the Garden.

I had already signed up for it before I found out that I’d also be doing the introductions and handing out the feedback forms on behalf of the Dorset Writers Network, so I had two functions to fulfil, but really wanted to make the most of the chance to participate.

The workshop was as full as could be, with a nice range of abilities, from relative beginners to published novelists (some of them members of the Romantic Novelists Association). There were also writers of memoir and short stories as well as scriptwriters and poets. Not everyone was local: one of the participants came all the way from Kent!

Two hours flew past. One of the things I enjoyed most was the way Rosanna took us through a visualisation. I felt connected to the place that had popped into my mind: the banks of the Westerschelde in Zeeland, with its stalking snipe, seals on distant sandbanks and the smell of mud. There were the looming container ships out in the deep water channel, sailing boats heeling over in the wind, the futuristic towers of Breskens in the distance at the end of the long dark cycle path. I tasted the salt on my tongue, felt the cold metal of the handlebars of my bike, the wind in my face. I was there! What made it really helpful was being guided by Rosanna’s voice. I wonder if we could persuade her to produce an audio version or an app for that kind of exercise? I could do with that at home. 

Part of the fun of a workshop is spending time focusing on matters to do with writing, without distractions. It’s great to learn from each other as well as from the tutor and to have the chance to meet up with other writers, when we spend so much of our time in solitude. Some people wanted a chance to reconnect with their writing or were starting anew and looking for the focus a workshop can give, as well as the stimulation and encouragement to keep going. Some people enjoyed the chance to think about their writing in a new way. There was a great sharing of minds and we all took away something of value. Thanks to Rosanna! 

Rosanna Ley’s beautiful website is here

For information about writers’ groups, future writing workshops and other events in Dorset, click on the Dorset Writers Network logo.

There’s no membership fee. All you have to do to stay informed is to sign up for email notifications and join the 500+ writers already on the mailing list.

Coming DWN events (details will be on the DWN website soon): 

Dorset Writers Network Open House at Arts University Bournemouth. Saturday, 10 March 2018, 10am – 1pm. This is a free event.

‘Keeping it Short’ Flash fiction workshop with Gail Aldwin. Dorchester Waterstone’s, Sunday 13 May, 2018, 1.30 – 3.30pm. Cost £15. Places limited. Booking through the DWN website.

Gail Aldwin’s collection of flash fiction, Paisley Shirt, is fresh out now on Kindle with the print version coming soon! 

East Beach West Bay, Dorset
East Beach West Bay

There’s so much going on, just here in Dorset. If you’re a writer on holiday, you could think about visiting one of these events.

Or plan a holiday around it!

Writers: How important is place to your writing? Do you have any tips to share? 

Readers: What special place do you know of that would make a wonderful setting, and why?





2 thoughts on “A sense of place – with Rosanna Ley

  1. I love the sense of place in Rosanna’s novel ‘The Little Theatre by the Sea’. The idea of weaving two different locations into a story is something I have yet to try it. My WIP has a suburban setting, so the focus is on community relationships and characters. But I do love to travel and have always wanted to write something set in Papua New Guinea where I lived in the 1980s. However, I’m conscious about being challenged for cultural appropriation so I’ll have to do a lot of thinking before approaching that project.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.