Frequently asked

If you can't find the answer you are looking for here please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Do I need to have a certain level to attend a course?

    Our courses cater for all levels, from beginner to advanced. Please check the course details on each individual programme.

  • What will I gain from a course?

    A lot! But this also depends on what you are prepared to put in. Students arrive with different levels of expectation. No one can give you all the answers, but each student can learn from the group as a whole and as a consequence, a retreat can be nothing short of magical.

  • Which course is right for me?

    Each course is different - and is outlined on our website. Some courses specialise in a particular area: memoir, literary fiction, historical fiction, writing for children. Others courses concentrate on an area of work: The Novel, or Poetry. Some courses are a mixture of genres and will be very much guided by our speakers. It is important to read the profile of our speakers and authors and to find which course most appeals to you as a writer. With each application we ask for a submission. This can be a page of writing if you are a beginner, a chapter if you have a novel in progress, or perhaps some poetry. It is helpful for our tutors to see an example of your work before, and to know which areas of work you would like to look at – which is why we ask students to fill in the paragraph 'Areas of Interest.' Perhaps you have been writing a novel and are struggling with Point of View, or Dialogue. The more you can tell us about your work, the more we hope our speakers will be able to address your needs.

  • Can the Speaker Change at the last minute?

    Our speakers fly in from all around the world, and sadly the unexpected can happen. In case of a cancellation due to work or ill health, or simply a delay with a flight, it is possible that we may change a speaker at short notice rather than cancel a course.

    In the unlikely event that a speaker cancelled on the day or at the last minute, a chapter away promises to replace the speaker and to offer alternative tutorials.

  • Will there be any free writing time?

    Courses run in the mornings and afternoons, with free time to write or to explore the area.

  • Can I stay on after the course has finished?

    It is possible to stay on in certain circumstances. Please ask at the time of your booking. It may be possible to stay on in Miradoux House for larger groups, or at a smaller sister house for one or two guests.

  • Is my work protected from plagiarism?

    The courses by their nature encourage discussion and sharing of ideas.If students are concerned they might like to copyright their work before attending a course (there are a number of online companies available) although in our experience, we have found that students are very much committed to their own writing and do not wish to attend such courses to copy the work of others. There is of course no copyright on ideas and students should be aware of this before sharing.

  • Do you cater for disabled students?

    We are able to offer one double ground floor room with disabled access and an ensuite shower room. The room has a double bed and is suitable for a single person or a couple. The kitchen, toilets, library, dining room (used as a teaching room) are all on the ground floor and area accessed without steps. However, access to the pool is down a flight of stone steps from the garden or through the lower gardens by road.

  • Do I need to bring sheets and towels?

    All sheets and towels are provided. There are separate towels provided for the pool.

  • Do I have to share a room?

    All rooms are private. Cost vary according to whether these are single or double rooms with ensuite private or shared bathroom facilities.

  • Can I bring a partner or spouse who is not attending the course?

    Partners and spouses are welcome to share your room. Food and board is provided. There are plenty of local tourist attractions and lots of various events throughout the year, though naturally there are more local festivals and events in the summer than in the winter months.

  • Do you cater for students with food allergies or for vegetarians and vegans?

    Our food is all home-made, locally sourced and prepared by a local caterer. When completing your application form IF YOU HAVE ANY ALLERGIES OR SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS please let us know.

  • Do I need to bring food?

    All your meals and snacks will be provided. We hope the time you spend with us in Miradoux house will be an intellectual and culinary delight. You will not go hungry - and there will be plenty of opportunity to sample our fine local wines.

  • Will I be warm in winter?

    Miradoux House is an extremely comfortable manor house that offers every comfort to its guests. It is not a draughty cold ruin! There is full oil central heating in winter, and a cosy log fire in the drawing room/library.

  • Is it very hot in summer?

    Gascony can be very hot in July and August. However, Miradoux House is a fine example of 18th Century local architecture and is built in impressive local stone, with thick 90 cm walls which keep the house lovely and cool in the summer. If students are concerned that their rooms may become too warm, it is a good idea to follow local example, and keep shutters closed, except at sunrise and after sunset. The gardens offer many cool and tranquil nooks to sit in the shade, and the house is open at all times to students who may choose to work inside or out.

  • Do I need to speak French?

    Not all all! - although this may be the time to have a go! There is every opportunity to walk to the shops and mingle in the village or nearby towns with the locals. However there is no need to speak French - the course is in English and run by English speakers.

  • If I can't manage to carry over a PC could you provide one??

    Yes, but please advise of this at the time of booking.

  • Is there Wifi?

    There is excellent Wifi connection in every room.

  • Will you be able to print work for me?

    If you would like to show a large volume of work to an agent please print your work before the course. Almost all agents prefer work to be sent by email. We are happy to print course work written during the week for our readings.

  • Will I have to share a room?

    No, all rooms are private. Here at 'a chapter away' we believe that you need your own space for private writing time and reflection. In the event where courses are full and you do not mind sharing, this will be reflected in the cost. Please advise us at the time of booking if you do not mind sharing a room or wish to attend with a friend or partner.

  • Can I launder my clothes?

    At Miradoux House there is a fully equipped laundry room separate from the kitchen, which students may use.

  • Which is the nearest airport?

    Depending where you are flying from, there are several airports close by. The most convenient is Toulouse, which is around an hour and a quarter from the house. Bergerac and Bordeaux are each 1 hour 40 minutes. Further afield are Carcassonne or Pau. Connections on Eurostar via the fast train (TGV) from Paris or Lille to Agen is another possibility.

  • Can you collect me from the airport or the Station?

    We work with several local taxi services who are happy to meet and greet you at the airport. The cost of this is supplementary to the course. Students wishing to be collected from the airport, station or bus, should advise us at the time of their booking. Wherever possible, it might be possible for students to be collected in small groups. It is also very easy to organise car hire at any of the local airports. The nearest bus station is in LECTOURE, the closest train station AGEN.

  • What is the area like?

    Gascony is often referred to as the Tuscany of France. It is famous for its gentle rolling hills, stone bastides, market towns, hilltop farms and pigeon towers. Miradoux is on the famous St Jacques de Compostelle pilgrim's route - and if the mood takes you, at the end of the course you could just keep on walking...