Essay / Non-Fiction with Tabitha Lasley & Peter Ross, Guest Gavin Francis

Essay / Non-Fiction with Tabitha Lasley & Peter Ross, Guest Gavin Francis

Date(s) - Mon 29th Aug - Sat 3rd Sep, 2022
All Day

Get the World Down on Paper


The essay is a broad and rich literary form that can be seen as an attempt to articulate and explore ideas, experiences, emotions and the everyday. It can be intensely intimate or engaged with the lives of others, sometimes both at once. But how do you write an essay and write it well? This course will cover a range of techniques and issues, drawing upon examples of fine work from across decades. We will explore the mechanics of non-fiction from beginnings and endings to descriptive prose, the ethics and challenges of personal writing, the creation of a sustained voice, and the pleasure of getting the world – or one’s inner world – down on paper.

Peter Ross is the author of A Tomb With A View: The Stories & Glories of Graveyards, which won the Saltire prize for non-fiction book of the year in 2021. He is an Orwell journalism fellow and a nine times winner at the Scottish Press Awards. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Times and the Smithsonian Magazine among many other titles. His Boston Review story on reading Orwell in the age of Trump was named as a notable essay in The Best American Essays collection of 2018. He lives in Glasgow with a view of the tombs. 

Tabitha Lasley was a journalist for 10 years. Her work has been published in the Guardian, Esquire, the London Review of Books, and others. Her first book Sea State was longlisted for the Folio Award and shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and the Portico Prize.

Gavin Francis qualified in medicine from Edinburgh in 1999, then spent ten years travelling, visiting all seven continents.  He is the author of six books of non-fiction. True North, Travels in Arctic Europe (2008); Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins (2012) which was SMIT Scottish Book of the Year 2013 and shortlisted for the Costa, Ondaatje, Banff, & Saltire Prizes; Adventures in Human Being (2015), which won Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2015, was the Observer’s Science Book of the Year, and was a winner in the BMA Book Awards; and Shapeshifters: On Medicine & Human Change (2018), which was a book of the year in the Sunday Times and the Scotsman.  Island Dreams – Mapping an Obsession (2020) was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year; Intensive Care: a GP, a Community, & Covid-19 was published in January 2021 and was a notable book of the year in The Herald, Scotsman, Financial Times, Observer, Irish Times, and New Statesman.  Recovery – The Lost Art of Convalescence was published in January 2022.  His books have been translated into eighteen languages.  

He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners.  He lives in Edinburgh, where he also works as a GP. 


The full fee for this course is £650. This includes your accommodation in a single room with shared bathroom, all meals, hot drinks and snacks from Monday afternoon until Saturday morning, and your tuition. A limited number of en-suite rooms are available for a £50 surcharge. For more information about the practicalities of our courses and retreats, please visit our About the Courses page.

Please let us know if you have any access requirements, for example a ground floor bedroom and / or access to a wheelchair-accessible shower room. For more information about access to our courses, please visit our Access page.


This course is now fully booked. Please contact us on or 01463 741 675 to be added to the waiting list.

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