Arvon Foundation

Arvon -- -- is a charitable organisation in the United Kingdom that promotes writing. One of Arts Council England's National Portfolio Organisations, its central office is in the Free Word Centre for literature, literacy and free expression in Farringdon, London. Andrew Kidd is CEO and Artistic Director, Jeremy Treglown Chair of the Board of Trustees.


Arvon was founded in 1968 by two young poets, John Fairfax and John Moat. It runs residential writing courses at centres in three rural locations: Totleigh Barton, a medieval farmhouse in Devon; The Hurst, a manor house in Shropshire that formerly belonged to the playwright John Osborne; and Ted Hughes's former home, Lumb Bank, a mill-owner's mansion hear Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. The courses, some open to all-comers, others specially organized with partner charities or schools, provide an inspirational space and dedicated time to practise the art of writing with help from published authors. There are also opportunities for retreats, whether in the company of tutors or self-directed.

Over the years, Arvon tutors have included Bernardine Evaristo, Simon Armitage, Mark Haddon, Colin Grant, Willy Russell, Ian McEwan, Andrew Motion, Angela Carter, Arnold Wesker, Ted Hughes, Ali Smith, Carol Ann Duffy, Ian Rankin, George Szirtes, Lindsay Clarke, Will Self and many others. The charity fundraises to ensure that people unable to afford the full course fee can be helped to attend a course:

Arvon's Chief Executive and Artistic Director is Andrew Kidd. Each of the regional centres has its own director: Natasha Carlish (The Hurst), Mary Morris (Totleigh Barton) and Rosie Scott (Lumb Bank: acting director Helen Meller).

The Board of Trustees currently consists of Judith Abbott, Lee Bilson, Alison Flood, Neil Harris, Ashley Holloway, Christian Lewis, Nick Makoha, Meriel Schindler, Jon Teckman, Jeremy Treglown (Chair) and Andy Wimble. Trusteeships, which last four years (renewable to eight), regularly become available and are publicly advertised.


The Arvon Foundation used to run the biennial Arvon International Poetry Competition, which was first judged in 1980 by Ted Hughes, Charles Causley, Seamus Heaney and Philip Larkin. <ref>"About Us — History of Arvon" Archived 2016-07-13 at the Wayback Machine. In 2010 the judges were Carol Ann Duffy, Elaine Feinstein and Sudeep Sen.<ref>{{Cite web |url= |title=Archived copy |access-date=2010-07-29 |archive-url= |archive-date=2011-07-19


    • Official website
    • Charity Commission. Arvon Foundation, registered charity no. 306694.
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