Arvon Foundation

Literary charades: The Writing School, by Miranda France, reviewed

A recent YouGov survey found that 60 per cent of Britons dream of being writers, compared with 31 per cent who dream of being film stars. Although the chances of success, or even subsistence, are equally remote in both professions, aspirant authors flock to the country’s ever-proliferating creative writing courses. Miranda France’s splendid third book, blending fact and fiction, is set on one such course: a week-long residency in a rural retreat house, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Arvon Foundation at which France has taught. The unnamed narrator, a Spanish translator and travel writer with two novels to her name, leads an eclectic group of 12