The White Badger Of Swanwick Writers Summer School

21st August 2019

White Badger? Yes, that’s me! For six glorious days this month I was a White Badger at the Swanwick Writers Summer School in Derbyshire. I even had a badge to confirm this.




So what is a White Badger? A White Badger is a delegate at the Swanwick Writers Summer School who is attending for the first time. To help them settle in quickly and for them to be instantly recognisable to the more experienced delegates, the newbies are given a white badge.

I loved this concept as I found myself surrounded by genuine offers of help when I looked lost or bewildered. What a fabulous way to reassure someone who may be feeling nervous attending such an event, especially when the Summer School attracts 300 delegates!

On arrival, I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the complex and the numbers of people attending the event. I was a solo delegate but quickly found others in a similar position. Coupled with the genuine friendliness of the more experienced delegates, I soon found my nervousness dissipating within a few hours.




By day two I was so settled in my surroundings that Swanwick started to feel like home. It was surprising how quickly this familiarity happened. I had never really ventured far from home without my husband before. I can honestly say this feeling of homeliness was down to the support and friendliness of my fellow delegates. Experiencing such a bond between such a large group of people was a new feeling for me. There is something quite magical about like minded people coming together for one common purpose.

I quickly settled into the routine of workshops, writing and socialising. I can liken the experience to my childhood reading books of Malory Towers. How I longed to attend a boarding school where learning and friendships developed within the four walls of a rambling, old building. And here I was at the age of 56 enjoying a similar experience with people I felt I had known all my life.

The highlight of my week was having the wonderful opportunity of seeing one of my stage plays performed on stage in front of an audience. I was extremely honoured to have been selected for this and I consider it one of the greatest moments of my life.

To see my words come alive through an actor on stage is something I never dared dream would ever happen. But last week it did. When you have dreamed something for so long and it suddenly happens, it is one of the emotional moments you ever experience. And yes, I cried as I watched the performance. I will be forever grateful to the wonderful actors and director that brought my play to life.




The week at Swanwick passed by in a blur of adrenalin rushes and too many happy memories to count. My fellow Swanwickers listened to my thoughts about my writing. They offered welcome encouragement for my projects. I learnt so much from the experienced tutors and delegates alike. I will feel eternally grateful for this opportunity to further my writing skills.

My thoughts were of sadness as I left this wonderful place, but also gratitude that I had experienced the magic that is Swanwick. My life has now taken on new meaning following my week’s stay. I have defined writing plans with a new focus and I have made friends for life. I am now counting down the days till I return next year. Sometimes in life, something takes our breath away and for me, that something is Swanwick.


Until next time dear friends

Much love 

Susanna x

10 responses to “The White Badger Of Swanwick Writers Summer School”

  1. I am so happy that you enjoyed you first Swanwick experience and I sincerely hope that you will return. You certainly contributed to the week and your play was excellent. It was such fun and your actors and director really brought it to life.

    I enjoyed meeting you and I believe that you could help me with my professional development. I have a lot to learn.

    • Susanna says:

      Hi Lance. Thank you so much. I will most definitely return! Try keeping me away! I loved seeing my play on stage. I was truly humbled and felt so honoured to be given that opportunity. One of the best moments of my life that I will never forget. Yes, I would be very happy to help you in any way I can. Email me Speak soon x Susanna x

  2. Julia Hartnett says:

    I enjoyed reading your glowing review of your first Swanwick (and I know it won’t be your last).
    It was a pleasure to meet you and look forward to seeing you next year.

    • Susanna says:

      Hi Julia. I had the most amazing time at Swanwick. It really is the most magical place. I cannot wait to return. So excited already! Is it too early to pack? 😉 x Susanna x PS.. I might swot up on quiz questions in the meantime!

  3. Dave Bromley says:

    You summed up the “White Badge” experience really well.Only 50 weeks to go and we will be “Yellow Badgers” and then we will be responsible for making the new “Whites” welcome.

    • Susanna says:

      Hi David! I loved been a White Badger but I will REALLY enjoy been a Yellow Badger even more! If only to save time not getting lost as I did this year! Can’t wait for next year already. Counting down the days x Susanna x

  4. Elizabeth Ducie says:

    Wonderful post, Susanah. And it capture completely how everyone feels during their white badger year.

    • Susanna says:

      Hi Elizabeth. Thank you for reading my post. Although I was apprehensive on the first day as a White Badger, I soon settled in and I loved it! Everyone was so kind and thoughtful and within a couple of days, I felt like I had been there for weeks! I was very sad to leave and can’t wait for next year. Susanna x

  5. Hi Suzanna
    Such a lovely blog. I have attended Swanwick for 31 consecutive years. It grabbed me from the start. Good luck with your writing. And see you in 2020.
    Sylvia Edwards

    • Susanna says:

      Hi Sylvia. Wow! You have been going to Swanwick for 31 years? That’s amazing and it makes me a little regretful that I didn’t start going to Swanwick many years ago. I never had the courage which is a shame. However I am already looking forward to next year! See you then xx

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