Arvon Foundation

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Totleigh Barton Manor, Sheepwash, Devon, one of the creative writing centres of the Arvon Foundation.

The Arvon Foundation is a charitable organisation in the United Kingdom that promotes creative writing. It is based in the Free Word Centre for literature, literacy and free expression in London.


It was founded by two young poets, John Fairfax and John Moat, in 1968.

Arvon runs residential creative writing courses at centres in three locations: Devon, Shropshire and Yorkshire. The courses provide an inspirational space and dedicated time to practise the art of writing.

Until 2019 the Chief Executive was Ruth Borthwick Hon FRSL. The Board of Trustees is chaired by Jeremy Treglown and consists of Judith Abbott, Lee Bilson, Alison Flood, Neil Harris, Ashley Holloway, Christian Lewis, Nick Makoha, Daljit Nagra, Meriel Schindler, Jon Teckman, Kit De Waal and Andy Wimble.

Previous tutors include Willy Russell, Ian McEwan, Andrew Motion, Arnold Wesker, Ted Hughes, Ali Smith, Carol Ann Duffy, Ian Rankin, George Szirtes and Will Self.

Arvon also runs residential creative writing courses for under-18s and partnership organisations. Arvon fundraises to ensure that those people who could not afford the full course fee can be offered grants to attend a course.[1]


The Arvon Foundation used to run the biennial Arvon International Poetry Competition, which was first judged in 1980 by Ted Hughes, Charles Causley, Seamus Heaney and Philip Larkin.[2] In 2010 the judges were Carol Ann Duffy, Elaine Feinstein and Sudeep Sen.[3] As of 2012, they no longer run the competition.


External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Charity Commission. Arvon Foundation, registered charity no. 306694.