'Imagine if your favourite writer walked into your book, opened its windows, baked some cinnamon buns in its kitchen, re-hung its paintings so you saw them afresh, laid a turf fire and set it a-smoulder, lit all the candles and dusted all its hunched-up corners with a goose-wing. Imagine if your favourite writer then took your elusive protagonist for a walk in the snow and came back with all the secrets you never knew, even though you made that character, plus a bunch of hellebores. That’s what it’s like bringing a work-in-progress to Niall at Kiltumper. Except it’s also uproariously funny and touching. And that doesn’t even touch on the grace and kindness that Christine brings to it all. It’s actually quite hard to write this, because frankly I’d prefer for Niall and Christine were there exclusively for me and my book. But I fear the secret’s out, so I’m rising above my natural begrudgery to advise anyone who cares about their writing to take their book to Kiltumper as soon as possible.'
'Writing has been my career for nearly 30 years, but in just three days with Niall I learned more than I would ever have thought or dreamed was possible. He is, quite simply, a genius at imparting how a book could be better, and more importantly, helping you to believe that it will.’
Niall's workshops are life-changers. No matter where you are in your writing process, whether you are a novice writing your first book, or a seasoned author, these workshops are restorative. Infused with the love and care of a teacher who genuinely wants you to succeed in both the craft of writing and the publishing industry, these workshops allow you to see your own work and your own self as a writer in ways you cannot see in solitude. Following this magical experience; a powerful combination of wonderful teacher, brilliant fellow writers, a nurturing environment, delicious food, and the wild and exposed landscape of West Clare, you will return to your everyday life invigourated, with a fresh perspective on yourself, your work, and where you are on your journey. More than simply providing writing inspiration, like his books, Niall's workshops alter you, at a deep level, and restore your faith in life.'
'Niall and Christine offer an inimitable combination of substance and hospitality in the form and content of the Kiltumper writing workshop. I returned to my second workshop for a deeper commitment to writing, thanks to high caliber peers and the highest caliber contribution of Niall Williams.'
This workshop was a gift from a friend that evolved to become a gift from Niall, Christine and the other writers. Niall is a masterful teacher, able to create a safe and inspiring space from which to challenge our learning and our writing. The three days were extremely well structured and paced, lending a beautiful flow to what felt like an otherworldly time and place. And each day, amidst all that we were writing and sharing and learning, Christine's wondrous food and beautiful company, nourished and restored. This workshop has truly transformed me as a reader and placed me in the mind of a writer, and for this gift I am, ironically, without words. Thank you to you both, Niall and Christine, and my fellow writers for your openness, curiosity and inspiring company.'
Not sure if words are enough to describe the experience of being part of the workshops - Niall's writing workshops are life-changing, life-enhancing and both writing and reading become very different experiences - more pleasurable, more thoughtful, more necessary to being in this very odd and wonderful world - a continuing adventure into the known and unknown and becoming something on the page. A renewal of falling in love with the gift of the written word. And Christine's welcome, hospitality and culinary skills are to be savoured long after leaving. I am left with the impatience of waiting to read both of their up and coming novels, and great gratitude for their time and generosity.
It was my great fortune to be alerted to an online class with Niall Williams, whose wonderful novels I had recently discovered. Niall uses Zoom with grace. When he speaks, one forgets it’s an online class. He lectures to the group and gives individual responses to writing equally well; he has an enviable ability to manage the time and space. It is rare that the person matches the gift, but I would say that Niall is the consummate writer and teacher. It is one of the hidden gifts of Covid that now his teaching is available to people who can’t get to Ireland. Sign me up again, please.