What Students Say…..
Ardella Jones and Jo Hepplewhite miss nothing and to listen to them dissect and reconstruct a story so that it becomes something ten times more intriguing than it was at first draft stage is something to behold. You will also laugh a lot and have a ball, but for me it’s that forensic eye for which I am truly grateful. I became a better writer.
Sally Nettleton, film editor, Morden
I’ve been writing professionally all my life, and yet struggled to take the time and direct the inner energies needed to explore fiction writing. The excellent prompts, supportive feedback and camaraderie of the Chalk the Sun course offered me a true breakthrough and allowed me to enjoy the creative process.
Lisa M. Jacobs
Attorney at Law
I found the sessions on the Italian retreat great fun but at the same time I really appreciated the structured building blocks of exercises we were given to do. I applied the session to my afternoon writing attempts – and was really pleased with the results. Food for thought – and lovely food it was too!
Lesley Strachan, theatre director and arts editor at Radio Wandsworth Lesley’s intriguing tale about Noel Coward in Vegas was voted best story at the 2015 retreat
Jo and Ardella of Chalk the Sun are an expert double-act who bring a lot of fun and insight to creative writing. Rob West, film-maker, Balham
View a sample of Rob’s work here
I just wanted to say how fab Chalk the Sun is. I’ve been to a few writing groups over the years and Chalk the Sun is the best I’ve been to. I am learning so much from the coverage given to a variety of formats and the different speakers, all with their unique approaches to common themes such as character, plot, voice and dialogue. The exercises in the sessions are really helpful, too, even when I’ve not quite got it, I’m learning so much from that deviation! I have used the framework for developing my character profiles that was suggested by Danusia Iwaszko in her equally inspiring session. Catherine Veitch, senior editor, children’s publishing, High Wycombe
Joining Chalk the Sun has really built my confidence as a writer. Before I joined I had not let anyone read my work. Now, I can’t wait to read out my latest effort in class. It’s fantastic to have a sympathetic audience that provide hugely constructive feedback. As an added bonus working in a group is really helpful as you see different writing styles and get to meet like minded individuals. Channa Karunaratne, an engineering consultant from Balham (sporting a sponsored moustache for Movember to raise money for prostate cancer research).
View a sample of Channa’s work here
A former pupil of Ardella, when I heard of the grand plan for Chalk the Sun my immediate reaction was one of terror, way out of my depth, never would I survive in such exalted company. After all I am only a simple steel erector, more comfortable with a podger* [spanner] than a pen. More manual than mental if you get my drift [tapered steel pin]. I need not have worried, Jo and Ardella cater for each individual need. How they managed to tap into something I never thought I possessed, I’ll never know. This dedicated duo’s a class act, always there to point you in the right direction with lots of help and encouragement. After five years, I still find it a joy to be in class, a real feel good factor. I go home fired up and on a high! Jim “Spiderman” Sanderson, steel erector
Jim now writes poems for children for Storybox magazine.
View a sample of Jim’s work here
I’d always wanted to write, but never had the confidence or knowledge to know how to go about it. With excellent tutors giving encouragement, constructive criticism and advice, I really look forward to each session. It’s serious, but not too serious, and I’ve had fun with Sunchalkers outside the classes too, from impromptu drinks in the bar to the fantastic residential writing workshop in Italy. Jerilyn Bence is a busy mother and grandmother from Clapham
I highly recommend the Chalk the Sun residential course. Finding the time to write amidst the chaos of family life is sometimes a struggle, but the warm sunshine, beautiful setting and sumptuous food at Impisi made it an inspiring location. The peace to write with fun, like-minded writers has given me such a great boost. Best of all, the concentrated time with the tutors gave me a clear vision for my novel. I came away feeling inspired and refreshed. Dr. Fiona Parker Cole, Kent Fiona Parker Cole, right, with Shelley Hoppe, left
I’ve always fancied myself as a ‘real’ writer (as opposed to the corporate stuff I do for a living) and have tried quite a few disappointing courses over the years…until I found Chalk the Sun. Instead of fobbing you off with lame exercises and polite (but rather useless) ‘feedback’ from classmates, Ardella and Jo spend time reading your work themselves, and they tell you what’s bad as well as what’s good about your work. They also provide lively, fun and genuinely stimulating course materials and lessons – and they do it in the pub. With cups of tea. And sometimes even biscuits. What’s not to love? Shelley Hoppe, Director, Spoon Agency, Balham
I have been loving the workshops this year and all of the excellent guest speakers. Helen Shewry, child carer, Middlesex, Children’s Fiction
Writing kept my brain functioning – there is creativity after Motherhood! Anne Marie Turner, PA and Mum, Tooting
Try “Chalk the Sun” run by Ardella Jones (ex South Thames College Creative Writing tutor, poet and all round “good egg”), I found the course very constructive and motivating. They have fired up me to complete my book that I started two years ago and I am now using their manuscript reading services for a final edit before sending to agents. Colin Bruce, Retired Business Owner, Wimbledon
I love this course. It feels totally self-indulgent to be creative for three hours on a Saturday afternoon with an eclectic, interesting and talented bunch of like minded people. E. Smith, Parent and Teacher, Tooting