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Course Dates   What's New?   About Anne

Late November 2022

Writers' Surgery Retreat • Fall

Rye, Sussex, UK

In this bijoux workshop you can receive mentoring on your manuscript. Depending on your needs (or pocketbook), choose a 2.5 or 3.5-day course. Both offer 1-to-1 tutorials and Open Mic nights to share work.

Proposed course details

3 - 10 June 2023

Novel Intensive & Writing Retreat

Camós (Catalonia), Spain

A 7-day writing retreat near the Pyrenees with workshops, tutorials and evening sessions to showcase your work.

Click for details

Special Gift Idea

Wondering what special gift you might give to someone who writes or wants to? Why not give a place on one of our upcoming writing courses? There are a wide variety of workshops for all levels of ability, from beginners to published authors.

Go to the Gift Certificates page to see what you need to do to delight that special writer in your life.


Student News

I am delighted to report that Caroline Repton’s memoir, Lotus-Eating Days: From Surrey to Singapore 1923 - 1959, will be published by The Book Guild on 28 February 2022. It’s available from Waterstones, W H Smith, Foyles, Blackwell’s and Amazon.

Heart Stones, a powerful memoir by Mary Aver, honouring the memory of her two children, Zane and Kara, and how after their deaths she was able to find a way back to life. From Amazon.

Suzen Holder has the brilliant news that she has secured a two-book deal with HarperCollins. Her novel Rock ‘n’ Rose had its beginning on a writing course she did with me in the Algarve. I’m over the moon for her!

Caroline Ross has recently had two successes. In August 2021 her short story "And Her Soul Sang" won a cash second prize in the Dream Quest One 2021 contest, and in November she won Third Place in a writing competition run by Cranked Anvil Press for "The Train to Brighton". Read it at Cranked Anvil. Big congrats to her!

Jennifer Pittam’s short story, "I Remember Very Well" has been published in Wartime Christmas Tales: A WWII Flash Fiction Anthology and is available from Amazon for Kindle e-readers.

I am pleased to report that Tarik Dervish has been accepted on the MA Course in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College. Congratulations!


For someone looking to write, I heartily recommend Elise Valmorbida's The Happy Writing Book. It's for all writers—established, beginners or wannabes still dreaming of picking up a pen. Great advice is to be had between its covers.

In May 2021 Anne received news that her short story, "The House of Wild Beasts" was shortlisted for The Society of Authors' prestigious ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award. It was a great honour that, hopefully, bodes well for her novel-in-progress, The Witness from Salamanca, from which the story was excerpted. Congratulations to all writers on the shortlist!

Anne read at an evening of short story telling on 26 April 2019 @ Pentameters Theatre (above The Horseshoe Pub), 28 Heath Street, London NW3. There were six readers sharing 10-minute long stories.

On 18 February 2019 Anne gave a London reading of her award-winning story, "The House of Wild Beasts" at the Marx Memorial Library. The story is set in the Madrid Zoo during the Spanish Civil War. The reading was followed by a lively Q&A.


Writing Tips

Don’t be afraid of writing bad first drafts. It took me a long time to realise that even the worst first draft in the world can be shaped into something better. Surrender to whatever imperfect words want to come out. Even though it might not be what you want to say, there is a certain energy in a first draft that can be lost in rewriting. This is the reason I always keep the first draft of anything and why I value my writer’s journal when I am jotting down things for myself; it crackles with thoughts I wouldn’t have at my computer.

Give thanks that you are a writer, not a sculptor where one slip of the chisel can spell disaster. You can play with words to your heart's content. You can tease and tug them until they catch the illusive truth and feeling of what you want to say.

Anne Aylor

Today's Quote

"My jump isn't high enough, my spins aren't perfect, I can't put my leg behind my ear. Please don't do that. Sometimes there is such an obsession with technique that it can kill your best impulses. Remember that communicating with an art form means being vulnerable, being imperfect. And most of the time it's much more interesting. Believe me."

Mikhail Baryshnikov



Anne Aylor is a professional writer and teacher who has had short stories and poems published by the Arts Council of Great Britain, Oxford University Press, The Literary Review, London Magazine and Stand Magazine.

Her first novel, No Angel Hotel, was republished in 2012 in a revised edition. Her second novel, The Double Happiness Company, was published in 2011. She is 90,000 words into her third and is working on a fourth.

A number of her stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio. In 2008 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and in 2011 for the Fish Short Story Prize. In 2014 she was the winner of the Historical Novel Society Short Story Award.

Her stage play, Children of the Dust, won a playwrighting competition and was co-produced by the Soho Theatre and Theatre Warehouse, Croydon.

She worked in post-war Bosnia where she practised Chinese medicine and taught ballet. She taught ballet at Morley College in London and is a member of PEN and 26. In 2007 she was a shortlist judge for the story competition held by the Wimbledon Book Fest and in 2011 she was the judge in the Peter Barry Short Story Competition.

Anne received the Historical Novel Society International Short Story Award 2014. Her winning story, “The House of Wild Beasts", was adapted from her novel-in-progress about the Spanish Civil War.




© 2005 Anne Aylor  
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." A Chekhov