Novelist Clara Challoner Walker and poet Janet Dean created Awakening the Writer Within six years ago, to share their passion for creative writing and literature with like-minded people.


Now in their seventh year, the retreats, courses and workshops in Yorkshire and in South West France have received outstanding participant feedback, from both novice and established writers. As a result, Clara and Janet are delighted to be offering further workshops, courses and retreats in both locations throughout 2020, including a new series of virtual workshops and online retreats which will be launching very soon.

We have recently compiled our first anthology including outstanding submissions from previous participants and members of the  Awakening the Writer Within network. The anthology will be available from May 2020. 

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Clara’s first novel 'A Tapestry of Vice and Virtue' was published in 2015, has sold well in print and e-book formats and has received positive feedback both in the UK and abroad. 

Clara’s poems and short stories have been published in both the UK and the USA and her short story ‘The Mexican’ was selected for and published in the prestigious Lampeter Review.

Previously an IBM executive working in the Middle East, Far East and Africa, Clara now shares her time between Yorkshire in the UK and The Charente in France and works full time running Awakening the Writer Within, her company Cosy Cottage Soap Limited, writing  and in arts project management.

Janet Dean’s poetry has most recently appeared in What The Moon Was Told (Dempsey and Windle), on the Write Where We Are Now website curated by Carol Ann Duffy, and is part of the Northern Poetry Library’s Poem of the North. 


She has work published in The York Literary Review and in anthologies and magazines published by Valley Press, Paper Swans, Templar and Strix. She has been shortlisted in The Bridport Prize, highly commended in the York Children’s Poetry Competition and commended in the Poetry Society Stanza Competition, and the Charroux Literary Festival Poetry Competition.


As Janet Dean Knight her novel, The Peacemaker was longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition and she was shortlisted for the New Writing North Sid Chaplin Award in 2019 for her novel in progress.