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Angela locke MA



'If you can't find inspiration on Iona, it's time to chuck your quill into the Atlantic. This retreat at the Argyll hotel with Angela Locke, the novelist and travel writer, draws on the island's mystical rhythms and dune-fringed landscape to help writers find their muse.’ Jeremy Lazell, Travel Editor, Scottish Times.


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With the marking of D-Day 80th Anniversary in 2024 – this Spellbinding New Novel Shares a Story of Survival and the Renewal of Hope. Read more via the buttons below...



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The Universe Is Imagination Set Free...

These are the words at the heart of my organisation, where I seek to allow others to flower in their own creativity. It is a beautiful thing to see someone open like a flower, often having been crushed by circumstances for so long from expressing their true creative voice. They seem to change physically, even in a few days, particularly on special places like Iona, and it is an immense privilege to share in that process. For me, as a writer and teacher, creativity is at the heart of who we are. This may be expressed through words, through photography, painting or dance, or in so many other ways.

People say to me 'I don't have a creative bone in my body', and then go on to tell me how they have envisioned a beautiful garden or have a dream of the future by the sea, or of getting to the top of the mountain. Or sometimes they may say 'I once wrote a poem when I was a child, but I grew out of it, and I'm no good now... 'and that makes me sad. For where would the universe be without creativity? As Einstein knew when he said we should all be like children playing...

Keep scrolling to learn more about our range of courses...

The Latest review of Tamarisk: 

This novel is a romance between the Anglo-French Pierre, an SOA agent sent into occupied Northern France in the months leading up to D-Day, and the courageous farmer’s daughter, Rebecca. However, this is no Mills and Boon love tryst with the war as a backdrop. With painstaking detail, based on much research, a believable, compelling and harrowing adventure unfolds. It is at times a painful read, informed by the knowledge that while the story is the creation of the author, it is grounded in the terrible reality experienced by millions. Those darkest times are described in unflinching detail, from the fate of captured French Resistance fighters to revealing the dystopian aftermath of the war in Europe.

Yet despite the depravity and bleakness portrayed, this story is ultimately uplifting, of good triumphing over intolerance and prejudice, of the resurrection of civilised life, and of love and reconciliation between people and peoples.

While awareness of both the extraordinary bravery of the French Resistance, and the depths of carnage resulting from war, is fading fast from the collective consciousness as the last protagonists pass away, this book is a timely reminder of the danger that the rise to power of populist demagogues bring to us all.


John Lloyd Thomas


Photograph by Malcolm McGregor.

The Dream of Iona

The dream of Iona….A magical, sacred island set in a turquoise sea. An island where generations of Scottish kings are buried, where Druids and Celts and early Christians shaped the landscape of myth and dream. An island made up of the oldest rocks on the planet, where crystal clear waters lap the white sands of empty beaches, a nature sanctuary where dolphins leap in the Iona Sound and sea otters run among the rocks.

This inspirational island is the setting for a series of unique residential Writers Retreats, where beginners and published authors alike are welcomed, based at the Argyll Hotel on Iona, and led by one of the U.K.’s leading innovative Creative Writing tutors, international author and poet Angela Locke MA. Angela co-led the first British/American Writing Retreat on Iona in June 2000, and has now been teaching her very successful and inspirational series of  Writers Retreats on the island for more than 20 years.

IONA Writing Retreat with Angela Locke AND Writing and Photography with Malcolm Macgregor and Angela Locke, are now running simultaneously between the dates listed below. For the Writing and Photography Retreat please refer direct to the Argyll Hotel Iona. For Writing Retreat alone please refer to Angela Locke.'

Image by Jonny Gios

Lake District

I have just said regretful goodbyes to a talented group of writers who took part in my annual Writers' Retreat 2022 at beautiful Rydal Hall this weekend. It is really an amazing and inspiring place, full of ancient trees, impressive formal and informal gardens and an OM chapel overlooking a waterfall which Wordsworth and Coleridge loved. Wordsworth lived at Rydal Mount just up the lane and raised his family there. The de Flemings at Rydal Hall were his landlords. Many people only know Dove Cottage in Grasmere but Rydal Hall was the family home for Wordsworth and his family ( including Dorothy) for many years and Wordsworth designed the magical gardens in tune with his theories about the flow of Nature. We usually use Rydal Mount too for inspiration.


It is only a weekend course but is always popular and this time was voted the best ever, which was wonderful feedback for me to hear. The weather was mixed but we are always assured of a warm welcome and a great atmosphere and excellent food. We were able to get outside despite cloudy days and a few spots of rain. The trees, including one sweet chestnut which is 600 years old, were a particular inspiration, as was the magnificent view down the Vale of Ambleside with the glory of the Lake District fells framing trees and meadows full of sheep.


On the last night, as one of my writers was playing Debussy's Clair de Lune on the grand piano, an almost full moon shone in the great picture windows illuminating the circular fountain below with its sparkling silver light. Wow! What a very special spot in which to write. I feel very lucky to have that lovely Retreat centre as well as Iona, where I can bring writers for peace and, I hope, inspiration!


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