Fantasy Writing Workshop

I recently returned from Oxford, England where I attended a 7-day Fantasy Writing Workshop led by David Farland. It was a fantastic trip in many ways including the sights, the sounds, the food and the people. I met many warm, generous people on this trip most especially my fellows writers in our class and on our field trips in and around Oxford.

A bit of trivia: the name Oxford is a contraction of the original Saxon name Oxen-ford.

Our first outing together was to the Bodleian Library’s J.R.R. Tolkien exhibit. Couldn’t take any pictures inside, but here’s the link:

And here’s a shot of the outside of the museum.

The Weston Library, part of the Bodleian Library.

Tolkien truly was a multi-talented individual and when you see his watercolors, sketches, calligraphy and samples of his elvish language, you can easily see why his books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, were so beautifully written.

The next day we all piled into a mini-van and a small car and drove to Stonehenge. Yes, it is as a amazing as it sounds, even if it is super windy and packed with tourists.



I spent the majority of my class and writing free time wandering around the city. It really is an amazing place, Oxford. Where ancient and modern co-exist in perfect harmony.


We all spent most of our time either in class sharing our work for critique’s, listening to Dave’s lectures, and of course, working on writing assignments. If you haven’t taken a class with Dave Farland, you really should. He’s a very successful author best known for his Runelord’s series, but is well known for many other writing accomplishments including acting as a judge for the Writer’s of the Future contest. He spends most of his time giving live workshops, but you can work through his online courses on your own. You can find the info here:

On my second the last day in Oxford I took the tour at the Oxford Castle and Prison. Originally a motte-and-bailey castle built by the Saxons (who ruled England about 500AD-1000AD), then rebuilt by the Normans, the castle officially became a prison in the 17th century. Up until recently, it was believed that St. George’s Tower was built by the Norman Baron Robert O’Dilly in 1071. But, recent archaeology has thrown that theory into question. It is now believed more likely that the tower was built by the Saxons and the Baron simply incorporated it into his design. As you can probably tell, the castle was probably my favorite part of my visit.


Overall, it was an amazing trip and this blog post only covers a small fraction of the memories and experiences I had while there. But, I hope it’s enough to inspire you to make your own journey someday.

Author: dwkavanaugh

I live and write in the Santa Cruz Mountains with my husband, dogs Rosie and Belle.

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