Programme Description

This is a weekend programme based at Cambridge Muslim College, designed for those who would like to become creative and confident writers of poetry. The programme combines writing time, discussion, and readings from different genres of poetry. A tutor will discuss poetic devices and terms using poems from the Islamic literary tradition, as well as English literature. Participants will have the opportunity to develop poems from predetermined prompts. At the end of the weekend, participants will have an opportunity to solicit feedback on their new writing or previous ones in one-on-one sessions with the tutor.

Day 1:
The first day will consist of a workshop-cum-walk to Grantchester, observing the beauty of nature. Participants will learn to name fauna and flora and relate location and historical moment to nature in view. During the afternoon, participants will have a chance to work more on their poems from the morning and hear the tutor read studied nature/visionary poems from different traditions. This encompasses the outward aspect of the weekend, though there are many spiritual connotations in nature poetry.

Day 2:
On the second day, the writing session will concentrate on ‘thingness’, showing an object to inspire writing. This to encourage close observation with precise description. Participants will concentrate and only slowly makes any abstract comments, in order to transition from description to thought as natural as possible. Participants will have the opportunity to sit in the College garden or choose from one of the quiet locations in and around the College to write. The remainder of the day will consist of an exploration of different masters of mystical/ visionary Islamic and Christian or Jewish poetry or agnostic masters.

During the weekend, evening sessions will allow participants to have informal discussions over dinner and listen to the delivery of a lecture. Participants will have the opportunity to bring up questions or reflections that might have come up during the day and share creative insights from their own writing practices.

No requirements. All levels of writers welcome! 


Paul Sutherland is Canadian-British award-winning poet. A Muslim since 2004, he has eleven collections, editing seven others. He’s founding editor of Dream Catcher a national-international journal in its 35th issue. He performs his poetry, runs creative writing workshops and retreats, leads seminars, mentors, and collaborates with musicians and visual artists. His works include Poems on the Life of the Prophet Muhammad (saws); A Sufi Novice in Shaykh Efendi’s Realm, (first pub. In Romania in a bilingual book 2014; re-printed in UK 2015), and A New and Selected Poems, from Valley Press.  The University of Lincoln archives his writings in poetry and criticism.

Evening speakers to be confirmed.

Cambridge Muslim College, 14 St Paul’s Road, Cambridge, CB1 2EZ.

Date & Time
Friday – Sunday, 11 – 13 August 2017
(Programme begins at 5PM on Friday, ending at 5PM on Sunday.)

The programme fee is £150 (includes: lunch, dinner, and tea/coffee). Space is limited! Please register early.

For more information, please contact Amara Siddique at

For local accommodation please check airbnb or university rooms.
**Update – 10 July: Rooms are available in our student accomodation. Please email for rates.