Gaskell House Blogs

Learn English through Creative Writing

22nd September 2017
in blog

Liam Starkey will be leading our new English through Creative Writing Course which starts on 1 November. We invited Liam to to tell us more about the course.

“I’ve been teaching English for 2 years now. This partly grew out of my interest in languages as a whole. I have myself tried to learn many including Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and Japanese. I am not some language genius and I am no way fluent in any of those languages. I study one for a while then move onto something else.

One thing I found when studying languages that a lot of language classes didn’t suit me. I have a butterfly brain and like to float off in interesting directions and get bored with the rote and structure of language drills and exercises. Once I have a grasp of the basics I am much more interested in expressing myself and that is what this class is designed for.

The sessions will include some input on spelling and grammar but the bulk of the class will be about time for writing. In the past other students have told me they appreciated the time to write creatively. Time that is hard to make in a busy schedule perhaps if you are studying something else or working or looking after children or a loved one.

The Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is a lovely place to hold a writing class and I am honoured to be asked.

The time to write is important. It stimulates right brain activity which is associated with right brain thinking and advanced problem solving (see the work of art therapist Lucia Cappachione). It can also help with well being and relaxation. Elizabeth Gaskell’s House with its calm, modestly decorated rooms and its quiet garden add to this feeling of calm. Whenever I have attended writing events (such as the great one run by Phillip Watts and Edwin Stockdale-Whiles) at the house I have come away feeling more centred.

In the class we will just keep it simple. There will be some prompts (maybe poetry or a short passage from a book, maybe some interesting images). Then we will write for at least half an hour. At the end we will get the chance to share our work and receive feedback (if requested).

I would also like to know what the students would like so I can shape the class to their needs.

November is a great time to start the class. It is the depths of autumn. Outside it may be cold and rainy with leaves collecting on the ground but inside we can have the warmth and joy of creativity and keep the fires of the imagination burning.”

Liam –


English through Creative Course
1, 15, 29 Nov, 2.30-4pm

£7 per class. Book all three classes for only £15.

Click here to book


The guides brought the home alive. It was inspiring to hear about this woman and extraordinary family

Visitor to the House in 2021