Press Coverage

29 November 2019

Kiss and Part: A collection of short stories

Anna Macham reviews a collection of stories about loving and losing

KISS AND PART is an anthology of short stories inspired by Michael Drayton’s celebrated sonnet “Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part”.

The anthology was commissioned by Sarah Hosking, the founder of Hosking Houses Trust, Clifford Chambers, a creative writing centre for women in a small village near the River Stour, where some of the contributors have spent residencies. The surrounding neighbourhood features strongly in the collection. “A Merrie Meeting” by Salley Vickers draws on Drayton’s local connections, his supposed rivalry with Shakespeare, and his devotion to his ageing muse, Lady Anne Rainsford, of Clifford Manor.

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19 September 2019
A haven for creative writing

I have to confess that in my first brush with the Hosking Houses Trust, I thought I was dealing with a crank. In January of 2018, an A4 envelope arrived addressed to me, with a letter and some kind of glossy brochure …
… I read the covering letter, and gradually it dawned on me that this was actually a very interesting letter indeed. It was inviting me to contribute to an anthology of short stories, offering to pay me (not the hallmark of a crank), and providing the opportunity to stay in a tiny cottage just outside Stratford-upon-Avon, free of charge, in order to write the story.

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19 September 2019
Review: Kiss and Part

‘Kiss and Part’ is a uniquely unusual book. It is a collection of original short stories by ten of the country’s most eminent women writers. Admittedly that in itself is nothing especially out of the ordinary, albeit it offers a timely snapshot of the rich trove of inventiveness that characterises British twenty-first century female literary talent. The ten stories are united by a common theme, a common raison d’objectif; but nor is that what sets this collection apart. What does make it different is the nature and ingenuity of that common theme. To explain, I must transport you to a small village close by Stratford-upon-Avon.

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16 September 2019
How we made our female writer’s retreat a reality

“I saw it all so clearly. A cottage, or house, or even several, to which women writers would be invited and would write so brilliantly they would change the world.” Sarah Hosking tells us how she set up her own female writer’s retreat – and the book that came forth from it.

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13 September 2019
Hosking Houses Trust unveil studio extension

The sun shone and a feeling of joy pervaded as journalist and Labour Peer Joan Bakewell opened a new artist’s studio in Clifford Chambers on Saturday.

The mini studio has been built as an extension to charity Hosking Houses Trust’s writer’s residence, Church Cottage, in the village square, writes Gill Sutherland.

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4 May 2019
Joan Bakewell opened new studio at Clifford Chambers

What do you get if you have the spirit of Virginia Woolf, Dame Joan Bakewell, a chocolate fountain, a red carpet, a trumpeter, a 100 bows, and glasses of fizz? Why, the perfect ingredients for a cracking launch of course!

All of the above were present on Saturday when local charity Hosking Houses Trust officially opened a new mini studio that has been built on to its Clifford Chambers writer’s residence, Church Cottage.

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9 June 2018

‘I use what is available with enjoyment, padded out with hard work’

Charity founder on how she made Virginia Woolf’s idea that writers need ‘a room of one’s own’ a reality

I am guided by the mantra in Virginia Woolf’s 1929 essay A Room of One’s Own in which she said that a woman needs £500 a year and a room of her own if she is to write. Twenty years ago I set up a charity with £5 to allow older women writers a period of seclusion in a country cottage, plus an allowance of £1,000 a month. It flourishes and shows that the most meagre resources can bear dividends.

My finances have always been modest and, in my retirement, I live on £19,000 a year. But I have three advantages: I was a wartime child and brought up by inventive parents so intense thrift did not mean you had to be miserable; I am scrupulously well-organised; and I own my own home.

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30 December 2017

‘Where do I think best? In bed’ – authors reveal their dream retreats

Joan Bakewell: Church Cottage,

Tucked away in a village cul-de-sac in rural Warwickshire is a precious gem known and loved by those who use it – female writers over 40 for whom it was created.

Church Cottage is the brainchild of a remarkable woman, Sarah Hosking. Drawing on Virginia Woolf’s remark that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”, Sarah has made this tiny cottage into just such a haven: one lower and one upper room, each no more than 15sq ft, bearing all the hallmarks of her country style: pictures, cushions, rugs, an open fire. Here are all the comforts for the focused life: downstairs a living room/kitchen/desk space (wifi, broadband, printer); upstairs a sumptuous double bed and free-standing bath.

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December 2017
Alternativity, a feast for Christmas, a service of carols and readings organised by the Hosking Houses Trust

Celebrate Jesus, Dickens and the Welfare State!

If you are up for a bit of Christmas magic, then you could do no better than go along to see Alternativity at Stratford’s Guild Chapel on Saturday, 2nd December, at 6pm.
The fun annual service is organised by Sarah Hosking and the Reverend Paul Edmondson, of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and this year takes on the themes of A Christmas Carol — playing down the road at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from next week, coincidentally enough!

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Birmingham Post

Writer creates new chapter in history about village 17 January 2014

Sarah and Sebastian

When Sarah Hosking embarked on the story of her village she was determined it would be more then a parochial pamphlet. Alison Jones hears how she rewrote the rules for such books.

Village histories can often be well intentioned yet rather uninspiring affairs.

Researched and written by a local enthusiast, they seldom trouble the best-seller lists and can amount to little more than a thin paperback for sale in the village shop or church.

It was precisely this kind of lacklustre pamphlet Sarah Hosking had in mind when she embarked on the background of the corner of Warwickshire that she calls home – as an example of what not to do.

From its burnt orange front cover to its willfully eclectic content to its contributions from respected academics and authors, Round The Square & Up The Tower: Clifford Chambers, Warwickshire, is clearly superior in its genre.

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A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN September 2012

morningMany of us dream of escaping to a country cottage for a few months with nothing to do but write – but is the reality quite so romantic?
Mary Jane Baxter spills the beans

Wading through floodwater at dawn perilously clutching a rabbit hutch containing two disgruntled occupants wasn’t really what I had in mind when I became a resident writer in the Warwickshire countryside. But, when the rains of May arrived, and with the mistress of the house away, it fell to me to ensure the safety of the menagerie at the bottom of the garden. Fortunately, a kind neighbouring family had already helped me shift the pet duck and her nearly hatched eggs and now I fervently hoped I wouldn’t have to rescue a soggy cockerel and assorted hens at half past five in the morning.

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Scottish Review of Books

Leave Me Alone: Diary Of A Writer In Retreat
Kapka Kassabova
11 August 2012

Why is it, then, that thirty years later, I still struggle to be alone? That is to say, I struggle to get alone and stay alone. Always, there is noise. Always, there is someone clamouring for attention. Often, that someone is my own social ego, interfering like an ambitious parent or a party bore who buttonholes you with boozy breath.

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The Times

Valerie Grove 25 September 2010

Anjum and Sarah
Anjum Malik, left, with Sarah Hosking in her garden in
Clifford Chambers, Stratford-upon-Avon

Tom Pilston for The Times

Sarah Hosking has created a hideaway in the country for women writers over 40. And now she’s determined to expand.

Virginia Woolf once said: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write.”

Her view, delivered to the women of Cambridge in 1928, has always been arguable (Jane Austen had neither), but for Sarah Hosking it is a mantra. So ten years ago she set up a scheme, Hosking Houses Trust, to provide a bolthole and a bursary for women who want to write in rural solitude.

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The Birmingham Post

A Woman’s room to think 17 March 2010

A Room of One's Own     Where are the poets? Where are the philosophers? Where are the physicists?
Sarah Hosking’s clarion call to intellectual women is prompted by a genuine bafflement at the lack of response from them to her offer of shelter, money and peace in which to work.
In spite of her zealous attempts bringing the existence of Hosking Houses Trust to the attention of those it is intended to benefit, she admits she has been disappointed in the lack of variety in the candidates that have been coming forward.
“If I have another novelist writing an ‘Aga saga’ in middle England I shall scream. They might be very good but we have an awful lot of them.

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