Joining a Caribbean course for budding novelists – and discovering an island that’s a real thriller
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the beautiful Caribbean island of St Lucia where the warmth and friendliness of its people are matched only by the beauty of its landscape.
From the moment you arrive, the island is mesmerisingly otherworldly... from the chickens strutting around outside the airport, to the banana plantations lining the roads. Then there are the tropical forests packed with birds in jewel-coloured jackets.
Victoria Pepe is an experienced editor who wears her knowledge lightly. She expects nothing but that you get involved, enjoy yourself and develop your skills. I’m an experienced novelist, but there were people who had no experience, and they found it useful and uplifting.
It begins with basic word games, and develops slowly until you are writing fluently. You won’t write a novel while you’re there, but you will leave with a suitcase full of ideas.
Away from the writing, we also spent time at the hotel where the course is based. East Winds is a boutique resort set in 12 acres by a private beach near Rodney Bay in the north of the island.
It’s run by Judith Milne, an English businesswoman who moved to St Lucia to manage the hotel. She socialises with guests and is on hand with tips about the island and its heritage.
St Lucia has been passed back and forth between the French and the English through the years, as the two countries fought for ownership. This explains the language: many things have English names, others French.