"Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to the love of the telling."
C. S. Lewis
Writing Master Class
Spring April 2-9, 2020
OCWMC Florence June, 2020!
"The Oxford Creative Writing Master Class was above and beyond my wildest dreams. I learned so much about writing, history, theology. OCWMC has truly changed my life."
Spring 2019 OCWMC on Broad Street Oxford
Radio interview on writing historical fiction (2010, but relevant)
Oxford Creative Writing Master Class
The OCWMC Literary Tour of Middle England is an intimate, intensive writing experience (space is limited to 8 writers in each master class).
OCWMC is designed to place you, the aspiring writer, on-location in Oxford, where so many great writers, over many centuries, have wrestled with ink and paper, with their minds and imaginations, until they at last mastered their craft. In daily writing tutorials, encircled by winding Medieval streets and the Gothic splendors of the oldest university in Britain, I will share with you precisely how I have learned (and continue learning) my own writing craft. I heartily agree with Augustine who wrote, "I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." Come join me as I continue learning and writing, and writing and learning!
Since my first of twenty-eight books was published in 1999, I have come to realize just how important it is to find inspiration in the greatest authors from the past. For me, being in their places, where they lived, being surrounded by what shaped, informed, and inspired them has had an incalculable influence on my own writing. I firmly believe this Literary Tour of Middle England will do the same for you.
What will you experience?
Daily writing tutorials, discussion, readings, and writing prompts, all set amid the grandeur of the oldest university in Britain.
2 half-day trips: Stratford-upon-Avon, Bunyan's nearby Elstow/Bedford, and Newton and Cowper's home in Olney (the birthplace of my creative writing inspiration).
Participants will reside and dine together in a quaint English home in Oxfordshire.
"Mr Bond gave me a key, a treasure map. I can't wait to get home and put them to use in my writing." Rachel Ng
REGISTER by clicking on PDF Oxford travel contract, fill out, sign, and send with deposit to
"Douglas has the rare ability to communicate effectively with young and older writers alike. His knowledge of history and the significance and importance of intimate details in and around Oxford was incomparable." Dan
"I loved every minute of it! I learned more about writing and history than I ever could have expected. You gave me literary tools which I am already using and will continue to use. It was a wonderful tour, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!" Cheyenne
"The information, practical advice, and wonderful food have made the Oxford Creative Writing Master Class unforgettable--Such an investment in my writerhood!" Caitlin
"Thank you so much! This is one of the most educational, inspirational, and enjoyable times I have had in my life. Your writing tutorials and critique have been incredibly helpful for me. I am sure I will carry what I learned this week for the rest of my life." Eva
Writing themes explored at the OCWMC
What is the purpose of writing?
How does a writer portray evil?
How to create authentic characters?
How to overcome writer's block?
How to create suspense?
How to be your own worst critic when editing?
How to approach publishers and reviewers?
How to write for an audience of One?
How to write about music and visual art
and much more...
REGISTER by clicking on PDF Oxford travel contract, fill out, sign, and send with deposit to
"You do not write the best you can for the sake of art, but for the sake of returning your talent increased to the invisible God to use or not use as He sees fit."
OXFORD CREATIVE WRITING
Register today for
Spring: April 2-9, 2020
Summer: June, 2020
WRITING ABOUT MUSIC AND VISUAL ART
I have found that few things have so powerfully shaped and fine-tuned my aesthetic appreciation as listening to the finest music of Western Civilization. At the OCWMC we will hear magnificent music at college chapel evensongs and at Christ Church College Cathedral. These experiences will be important in shaping our aesthetic appreciation of other genre of art and imaginative expression, and they will provide us the opportunity to develop skill in writing about music and the visual arts. We invite musicians and other fine artists to join us in Oxford, even ones who may think they are not writers. Each genre sharpens the others, so I have long believed. I find I am a better writer when I am regularly feasting on the greatest music and contemplating the finest visual art and architecture. We will do both on this literary tour (we could rightly term it an aesthetic tour) of Middle England. Additionally, Church musicians will find special enrichment as we visit where William Cowper and John Newton wrote the Olney hymns (1779), and our meanderings in Oxford will take us to the colleges where some of the greatest hymn writers of the last centuries mastered their poetic gifts (Reginald Heber, Thomas Ken, Samuel Stone, and many others).
Sample OCWMC Daily Schedule (March 23-30, 2018):
Friday (23): Meet at Heathrow/London Terminal 2 12:00 (approx.); drive together to Oxford; Martyr's Monument; English Church history for context; history of Oxford; bishop's martyr's; Baliol College (Wycliffe), Hall and Chapel; evensong at Merton College Chapel; dinner at King's Arms; drive to Banbury Hill Farm, our Cotswold cottages north of Oxford.
Saturday (24): St. Michael's Tower; Ashmolean Museum (if it rains, subject to weather); punting on the Cherwell; Addison's Walk; Magdalen College; evensong at chapel 6:00 pm; dinner at The Quad Restaurant on High Street.
Sunday (25): Drive to Elstow Abbey for 10:00 service at Bunyan's church; explore Elstow, Moot Hall; drive to Olney and St Peter's and St Paul's, Newton and Cowper; drive back to Oxford for 6:30 worship service at St Ebbe's, Glenn Nesbitt preaching from Hebrews 2:14-17
Monday (26): Keble College (Lewis's billet in OTC WW I) and Oxford Movement; Tolkien's Oxford walk, seeing some of the houses he lived in and Merton College; St Mary the Virgin University Church, Cramner final sermon, 1555, Lewis's Weight of Glory message; writing and discussion in gallery; climb tower (if time); Bodleian Library/Divinity School
Tuesday (27): morning tutorial and critique at cottage; see what we didn't get to the day before! Stop at Winston Churchill's grave; Dinner at Eagle & Child; JS Bach organ service at Christ Church College Cathedral 7:30
Wednesday (28): morning tutorial and critique at cottage; drive to Stratford-upon-Avon, tour Shakespeare's birthplace town, Holy Trinity where he is buried; great place to do some shopping, if you care to; dinner at The Gerrick, oldest pub in town; Macbeth at Royal Shakespearean Theatre RST
Thursday (29): Kilns tour at 3:00, Holy Trinity Headington Quarry where Lewis worshiped and is buried; Shelly's Pond, Shotover Hill where Lewis liked to go for walks; dinner back in Oxford center; choral evensong at Cathedral 7:30
Friday (30): Good Friday breakfast and final time together before loading up and driving back to London and home
Flights and logistical details:
--Pack for volatile spring weather, some rain, some sun, chilly mornings and evenings
--Pack lightly, layer clothing, sweaters, etc. We will be eating out and going to the Royal Shakespearean Theatre and church services and evensong services, so plan accordingly. You don't, however, want to be lugging around an enormous suitcase. Europeans are not obsessed with wearing a different outfit every day, as are some Americans.
--Wear comfortable walking shoes. We will be on our feet a fair bit.
--Bring your favorite writing implement, paper pencil pen, laptop, goose quill, hammer and chisel!
--Plan also to bring some samples of your writing. We will be doing some writing prompts on location as well. But we will have numerous times to read and critique one another (I usually write something original on each class, and may share it with you, depending on how it goes)
--Bring Passport, phone charge cord, some granola bars for when we fudge a bit on the time of a meal (because we've gotten so engrossed in Oxford and writing), any medicine or vitamins you need, coat, umbrella or hat, if you prefer.
--Check your phone plan and add global service if needed. Plan to text with loved ones, as that is usually free on most plans.
--A debit card will be your best way to access cash, but let your bank know you are traveling in the UK. Maybe bring a backup card too.
--Some important arrival/departure logistics:
We will meet on our opening day by 1:00 so don’t book flights that arrive after about mid morning on that first day. I will meet all of you at Cafe Nero terminal 2 Heathrow/London/arrivals (not departures) at 1:00. We will load up together and make our way to Oxford. On our last day of the master class we will arrive at Heathrow late morning around 11:30 so don’t schedule flights that leave before afternoon on the last day. My flights usually depart around 3:00 back to US airports. I’m flying with Norwegian Air on this trip but usually fly with British Air, Iceland Air, sometimes Virgin Atlantic. Watch flights closely especially on Tuesdays the cheapest day to buy flights.
There will be a clean-up and food preparation assist roster for our in-house breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, so be prepared to pitch in--"Many hands make light work," as the saying goes.
All you've heard about the English being cuisine challenged--it's all rot! Don't believe a word of it! We will share hearty meals together daily--English breakfast to fortify us for the rigors of creative writing, mid-morning tea and crumpets, a plowman's lunch at Lewis's Eagle and Child during the tutorial week, steak and ale pie, Cornish pasties, and other truly English delicacies, washed down with Earl Grey tea or a variety of English ciders (or other beverages to suit your tastes, preferences, or convictions), my favorite being Thatcher's Gold.
READING LIST (Partial)
JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis's fictional works (we will be reading and discussing a number of shorter pieces on writing from both of these authors, as well as Solzhenitsyn, Churchill, Jane Austen, and others)
*Shakespeare (play de jour for the tour; we've most recently seen Macbeth)
Evan K Gibson's CS Lewis Spinner of Tales
Dorothy Sayers's Mind of the Maker
Steve DeWitt's Eyes Wide Open
Shawn Coyne Story Grid
Jan Morris Oxford
Robert Newton Peck's Secrets of Successful Fiction
*Flannery O'Connor's Mystery and Manners
*Strunk & White's Elements of Style
Gary Provost's Beyond Style
*Surprised by Oxford, Carol Weber
Testimonials from past writing students of Douglas Bond
Not only academically in knowledge, theories, and writing skill did your classes greatly enhance my life, but moreover in worldviews, philosophy, critical thinking, and fundamental paradigms of life. So much of how I view the world and understand differing perspectives is thanks to the time spent learning from you in and out of class. Thank you so much for everything. Donald Kimball
I just wanted to say that though I did email you during my college years, I gave a prayer of thanks for you much more often. If I had emailed you every time something you’d taught me came in handy, your inbox would have been flooded.
Douglas Bond was hands down the best teacher I had in high school. He always pushed his students to excel, and worked to the best of his abilities to ensure that they understood the methods and mechanics of excellent writing. Mr. Bond not only taught the history and meaning behind literature, but also emphasized the importance of good writing. Through his class, I was able to gain the experience and knowledge needed to excel in courses at the college level. Having taken multiple English classes at the University of Washington, I can attest to the practicality and usefulness of Mr. Bond’s literature and writing class. Not only were these college classes made easier, but much of the literature used in his class were also used at the college level. All in all, Mr. Bond’s literature and writing classes were some of the most useful classes I have ever taken, and the care and effort he puts into his class and students is bar none. Joel Kim
I have the highest respect for your teaching ability and your commitment to bringing out the best in your students. I learned an immense amount during my time in your classes at Covenant. In fact, the material we learned is still with me. I've been reading Paradise Lost these last few weeks and had forgotten that we memorized part of it in high school. And then I came across the lines "Speechless he stood and pale, til thus at length, first to himself he inward silence broke..." and I immediately remembered what followed. Amazing how your instruction sticks with me (1999 graduate). Patrick Connely