Thomas Hardys Ghost inspires writing weekend

  • Date: Friday, 05 March 2010

Four very different writers will gather in a historic country house hotel, which may or may not be haunted by Thomas Hardy, for a weekend of literary discussion. Sounds like a good start for a whodunnit by Agatha Christie!

The idea, however, is far from bumping each other off (whilst leaving a host of fascinating clues, plausible motives, dodgy alibis and smoking red herrings). The purpose is to entertain and enlighten guests by sharing the secrets of their writing success.

"Summer Lodge has close associations with Thomas Hardy," explains General Manager Charles Lötter. "He lived nearby and the hotel is at the very heart of the Wessex landscape he immortalised. The village pub, the Acorn Inn is featured in his novel 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' as 'The Sow & Acorn'. What's more, in his capacity as an architect, Hardy was asked to design the upper floor and the drawing room of Summer Lodge by the 6th Earl of Ilchester in 1893. So you could say the house is haunted by him - although I've yet to bump into him myself".

This gave the team at Red Carnation Hotels, the luxury collection of five and four-star family-run boutique hotels that owns Summer Lodge, the idea for the Writers' Weekend. Guests will have the opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade from four very different practitioners.

Roger Collis is an actor, broadcaster, writer and master raconteur who has earned world-wide recognition as a business travel guru through his weekly column, 'The Frequent Traveler,' in the International Herald Tribune

Marcelle Bernstein is a much acclaimed novelist, nonfiction writer and journalist. Several of her novels, such as "Body & Soul" and "Sacred & Profane", are best-sellers and were made into into successful feature films and television dramas.

Eric Clark is a respected investigative journalist who has delved into the seedier aspects of crime and drugs. His gripping thrillers "Black Gambit" and "Chinese Burn" have proven particularly popular.

Jim O'Connor is an advertising copywriter who has promoted everything from boutique hotels to fork lift trucks, Clover Low Fat Spread to Palmolive Soap, Cornish Pasties to Australian rum.

The two-night Writers' Weekend package, starting on 23rd April 2010, includes:

  • Two nights accommodation in a Classic Double Room
  • Full English Breakfast daily
  • Welcome Champagne and Canapés
  • Attendance at three Writer Workshop sessions over two days
  • Three-course dinner on the Saturday evening
  • Teas and coffees during workshop sessions
  • Complimentary signed-copy of a book by Eric or Marcelle

Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa, set in four acres of perfectly maintained gardens, is the epitome of the English country house in the picturesque Dorset village. This luxurious 24-bedroom five star hotel has swiftly earned a reputation as one of England's finest country house hotels. With a world-class spa - including indoor heated pool and rejuvenating body and beauty treatments - and an award-winning restaurant and extensive wine list created by one of the world's best sommeliers, this hotel is the perfect short break getaway. Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa is a member of Relais & Châteaux.

Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa