Happy New Year Linda and thank you for all your help. Thought you might like to know that since the first course with you end of July/beginning of August I’ve clocked up near as dammit 50,000 words and that doesn’t include the rewrites. See you later in this year. Daphne Milne

Hi Linda, today was absolutely brilliant. I don’t know where you get your ideas from but you just got us all buzzing. And beautifully crafted and as usual real value for money xxx Angela Stoner

Dear Linda, a huge thanks to you. Your workshop caused quite a stir. And I am not sure I thanked you for the conceiving of it – quite brilliant the way you ushered us into that territory, and tightly held exercises to bypass the critical ponderous mind. Kay Parkinson

I would recommend the Short Story course to anyone interested in writing fiction, and particularly those who lack confidence.

The course frees you from the idea that you have to produce ‘perfect’ writing, encouraging you to take risks and experiment with short pieces in different voices and genres. It felt rather like trying on clothes – clothes you would never normally consider wearing – and then feeling your way into the perspectives of the sort of people who might wear them. The freedom to put yourself to one side is worth experiencing in itself.

I’ve also found that the course has altered the way I read (quite something considering I’ve been reading fiction continuously since childhood!).

The other revelation from my point of view was understanding how a small, fleeting idea can be developed and transformed into a story that might interest other people.

Linda Cleary is a natural teacher with an impressively wide knowledge of English literature, and she uses this to provide a deeper context to the writing exercises and discussion of techniques. She also gives sensitive, constructive feedback on all work, whether in class or written at home.  Josephine Gardiner

Linda`s Dream Writing Course was fantastic; engaging, colourful, detailed, formless, structured, materially productive, surreal, encouraging, informative, challenging, invigorating, appreciative of asyndeton! Brilliant, wonderful, intriguing…I could go on…a veritable paean! Thank you, Linda.  Jude Brickhill

I really enjoyed Linda’s course. It was a rich and rewarding experience, well-planned and full of useful exercises which a writer can take home and use again and again.  Sarah Lane

Hi Linda- I’ve enjoyed the creative writing course so much, I’d like to have a go at the Short Story course.  Thanks, Gillian McWilliam

I attended Linda’s Creative Writing Course on a whim…. I never saw myself as a ‘writer’ so a safe and supportive environment was essential to me. We met in the beautiful and serene ‘God Room’, a small group sat around the table, some published, some not. To my surprise I found that the writing exercises enabled me to respond with credible results. Personal circumstances meant I had to leave the course before the end, but Linda emailed them to me so I can pick them up when I have some free time. I look forward to doing that, and would jump into another class of Linda’s without hesitation.  Nina Martin

I found the Short Story Writing Course a veritable treasure trove of inspiration, education and instruction from Linda – wonderfully energising hard work and all swiftly and comprehensively reviewed. I now have tools that will last me a lifetime.  Thanks again, Linda. I have entered my story into the Myslexia competition – you never know!  Best wishes, Jude Brickhill

Hi Fellow Writers, this January I took the Short Story course run by Linda. It was a well-attended, enjoyable course that gave me new ways of creating characters. I have already recommended the course to a fellow poet as it is very good value.  Vicki Morley

‘4 Week Short Story Course’ – Very useful indeed. Would like to continue.  Patricia Le Gallez

I just wanted to say thank you so much for all your help and time on the course, I really enjoyed it and found your advice really useful.  Heidi Ball

To take a writing course with Linda is to see the world a little differently and to experience your own creativity in a completely new way. It’s a little like Alice’s rabbit hole; allow yourself to fall through and everything is possible if you keep your mind open and your senses alert. It often means exploring a world of writing outside your comfort zone, but Linda gently guides you through, with her unique creative exercises, and more often than not, you end up surprising yourself with work that is fresh and exhilarating. I highly recommend Linda as a writing instructor and mentor to anyone who wishes to journey deeply into the creative process, and develop as a serious writer. Thanks for these inspiring exercises. It’s helped me take chances with my writing, and I think that’s what art should be about – learning to explore possibilities, and not being scared of the unknown. I’ve always been a bit scared, and very unsure of myself as a writer, even though I’ve never wanted anything more than to write. It’s been a long journey, often very slow, and invariably lonely. It’s always good to have support :) Anyway, I’m loving it!  Fatima El Kalay

Hi Linda, I hope you are fine. I am sorry that the Creative Writing class has come to an end, but am looking forward to the Short Story Writing class. You are a marvellous teacher with the skill of bringing out the best in each person. Also all the classmates were nice people. It was an interesting experience for me to become a student once more and joining your courses has benefited me greatly, you have broadened my horizon of writing and thinking. You are a great teacher. Have a good day. Regards, Sossy Neredian

Linda, you have no idea how happy I am  with your feedback, I’m over the moon. I wouldn’t be able to make it if it weren’t for you :) :) :) thanks a lot Linda and thanks for the inspiration. It’s been a great pleasure knowing you Linda, and the three courses are the best experience I’ve ever had. I never thought that I can write any of those pieces. I can’t even find the words on how to thank you, I’m grateful for the help and the inspiration :))))  Rana Hamdy

I would gladly wish to join your next Short Story course. I really benefited a lot from the Creative Writing course and you are a wonderful instructor. Please count me in. Thank you for a great class.  Sara El Adl

I must say, I truly enjoyed your class. Thank you.  Ohoud Saad

Everyone in this class inspires me ina unique way.  Esraa Khairy

I’d like to use this chance to thank you a lot for your help throughout this course indeed it was very beneficial to me not just on writing skills but it also psychologically had helped me to think outside the box and outside of my career. So, thank you :)  Cheers, Aida

Please tell me you are giving more courses!  Thanks Linda :))  Nadine Okasha

Honestly all the thanks is to you, Linda. I’m inspired and so grateful.  Nadine Nashed

Well, I am ecstatic. I sat down and had one tiny idea in mind that got this shape. This is what the course does, the Linda effect as I like to call it!  Omar Refaat

It’s been a pleasure and an honor working with you in this course and the previous ones as well, Linda. I’m so grateful for everything you’ve given us, from exploring new techniques to constructive criticism, you’ve just provided a creative work environment and gave us the courage to achieve bigger goals and aspire towards becoming better writers. I wanted the course to continue but I know that even if it did go on for a while longer, there had to be an end to it. Just wanted to say again that I’ve felt myself develop gradually, almost unconsciously. But looking how far I’ve come since the first day of the first course back in November, I can see the change you’ve helped make and I believe one of the best decisions I’ve made last year was to attend that first course, and eventually the rest. Thank you, and I mean it :) Thank you, thank you, and thank you! :))  Rana El Bowety

Linda, it’s been an amazing experience working with you :) Your support and encouragement is incredible .. you really helped us in so many ways to explore our writing styles and develop ourselves .. Thanks a million.  Monda Mahmoud

Ohhh Linda !! Thank you so much !!! This was one of the most exciting courses i have ever taken! It was very fruitful and I really learnt a lot, I never ever thought I could write a story :D and the best thing is that I got to know you and everyone through all three courses! It’s really annoying this is the last session! But hopefully we will stay in touch and always share with each other our accomplishments :)  Alaa Mohamed

Linda, I have enjoyed this course as if I am on cocaine! And loving it… I became addicted to you and your courses! You inspire me more than anything and you open the gate of creation ajar… my only regret is that it’s finished and I didn’t join on the last two sessions… I have enjoyed the group so much… I love you all… thank you all for the minds, inspiration, cleverness and for being there. Linda, pleassssssssssssssse, create more courses…. I need to be inspired.  Gehane Aziz

Thank you Linda. You have been a great mentor. You made me explore new levels of writing and you set my style free. I am also grateful to have known such great writers as the people I met in all your three classes. I am appreciative to your effort and hope to meet again in another great work as such :) Your classes gave me great insights in writing and tremendous will to continue what I have started. Thank you for your classes, they really set my mind differently on writing. Regards, Sarah Ayman

I’m discovering myself in this course, and I’m writing things I never thought I’d write. Eman Omar

Thank you so much for all your help! It’s made a huge difference to my writing. Honestly your course has been tremendously insightful! One of the best things I did last year. You’ll definitely be hearing from me again :)  Mariam Ibrahim

I have good news to share with you , I have been accepted into the MFA program in Columbia University, thanks to you and all your support. I couldn’t have done it without you :)  Mohamed El Manasterly

Dear Linda, Good day, hope everything is doing fine with you, and I would like to thank you for your class, it was awesome. We are blessed to have you, and we appreciate your kind efforts and assistance.  Dr Islam Hanafy

Thanks for your support and for being a passionate writer to all the writers! :)  Shahenda A Jabi

Thanks again for your consideration and efforts, you really taught us a lot, and you explored our talents as well :) Yours, Dawlat El Mossalamy

Dear Linda, I started to enjoy the techniques you are giving and appreciating literature much more, strange enough it gives me a sense of relaxation. Thank you for all. I like :)  Nadine Bittar

I enjoyed being a part of the creative writing course as well as the short story course. I have gradually improved so much in a very short time, and it shows when I re-read all my works in chronological order. Thank you so much Linda for being such a wonderful teacher :) I’m looking forward to your next course. :)  Aya Yasser

I’m writing to you to thank you so much for those courses, they are REALLY one of a kind. and thank you for being such a nice person to everyone, and for keeping that pretty smile on your face, though I know people can sometimes drive you nuts because of those little cultural barriers! I’m definitely repeating this course soon, so I’ll be seeing you again akeed. Until then, keep being as charming as you are :)  Fatma Ibrahim

Dear Linda, I have always enjoyed writing, and have wanted to learn how to do it properly. I have benefited a great deal from both the Creative and Short Story courses that you offered, and hope to have the chance to join your Advanced Writing course. All the best, Reine

Thank you so much for your effort and care during this awesome course. Definitely, it improved my writing skills. It drew my attention to several important perspectives in writing especially displaying emotions and building atmosphere. The soul we share at your class is unique; it’s not the usual educational type of course. We had much fun. Also, I really appreciate your care towards every student because even when the course ended you were keen on teaching me the ranga and senses of the story which I missed at the Creative Writing Course. I’ll always remember your words “A short story is like a sharp knife with very little movement”. Thank You.

Your wonderful course had a great effect in me writing this way. Thanks.  Alia Abd El Latif

I really do thank u for making this course such a pleasant time for me, begad I’m enjoying myself enormously :) Dalia Hussien

I really can’t believe that the course is almost over but I would like you to know that it exceeded my expectations..Thank you for such an amazing course :) Regards, Mehra Magd

Hello Mrs.Linda, it’s my favourite 2 hrs of the week =)  Mahy ElAref

I just wanted to tell you that I had a lot of fun, and learnt a lot as well, from your course. It was a pleasure meeting you and hopefully we will meet again soon.  Thank You.  Hatem El Akkad

Thanks again, Linda. You really helped me in developing my writing and I still use your methods till today whenever I’m writing something new.  Pacinthe Abou Senna

Thank you Linda for the wonderful course, I had so much fun and inspiration in that small room of ours :)) You are an amazing tutor so thank you for all the help and effort…hope we all meet again soon isa.  Hala El Sayed.

I miss our classes, a lot! But thanks again for them, they were both enjoyable and beneficial. Can there be an advanced short story course? Thanks again Linda for providing such opportunities and amazing courses for us! Thanks Linda for everything! Regards, Mehra Magd

Miss you. Wish you all the best. I really enjoyed that course so much and it really helped with my work. Thank you so much, Mariam Shaalan

Creative writing courses with Linda are always a thrilling experience!  Especially meeting with Linda herself: one of the magnificent literary minds.  She has the ability to inspire and simply give your heart and mind a pen!  Having taken the Creative Writing Course, Short Story Course and the Advanced Creative Writing Course (which was my favorite) – they added incredibly to my experience and on the subject of writing itself.  By exploring the world of the word and quite exciting tricks she can make you write.  Saleh El Habashy

Hello there!  I can honestly say taking the Creative Writing Course with Linda last year not only added incredible value to the quality of my writings but also encouraged me to keep writing and showing it off to the world! A heartfelt thank you!  Hala Al Kaderi

I attended the Creative Writing Course with Linda Cleary at Diwan and found it extremely useful. It is not just the topics she chooses to discuss, but also the practical ways she comes up with to drive the topics home by means of practice. I strongly recommend the course to anyone interested in creative writing whether a beginner or a professional.  Abeer El-Gamal

It was a short yet deep journey through all my senses and emotions that were in need to be moved.  Nevine Khair

It has been a creative penning into the deserts and oases of my life which hopefully will continue until the dragon has been tamed!  Lucia Salgado Oliveira



Feedback on Creative Writing Holidays

The White Desert Creative Writing Holiday was stepping inside another dimension, and enjoying every second of it.  Thanks, Linda – the gate keeper of dreams.  :)  Mona Yassin

The course was truly an amazing experience for me and as brief as it was, was an eye opener for me in reference to things I should work on and in terms of trying to explore my potential and stretch my writing, versus, sticking to doing what I have always done.  The workshop, has also helped me identify my strengths as a writer, which I have come to conclude lies is in my ideas, and not in the eloquence of my writing. Having said that, I still will work on my writing, to make it more “powerful” with creativity and possibly by utilizing more subtle forms of expression.  Amany Eid

It’s been an unforgettable experience, one that I will constantly look back on and smile.  Passant Rabie

I’m truly grateful to have attended this creative retreat with such a genuine group of people. I would do this again anytime without a moment’s hesitation. There are two complementary sides to Linda’s creative writing course, each of which is reason enough to take the course over and over again. The first is that it opens up your writing in the way that it needs; if you often get blocked then you will learn to inspire inspiration, and if you often use the same clichés then you will learn to construct new forms of vivid and poetic images. The second side is the profound human experience that the course offers; the mere meeting of aspiring souls with common interest who share and interact and find refuge in their collective understanding is empowering, to say the least. Thank you Linda!  Mostafa Hashish
I signed up for this course not knowing what to expect. At most I was hoping to learn a couple of techniques that I could maybe use and like the shy student I always was in class, hoped that I wouldn’t be called on too much to read. Of course it turned out to be so much more — a truly profound experience on all fronts. Eye-opening, inspiring,constructive, delicious, relaxing (a bit itchy at times)…and to share it with a group of people like all of you, it just couldn’t have been more perfect. Linda you are a truly inspiring and amazingly talented woman! Thank you for guiding us through this profound experience.  Amira Ahmed

Like everyone else, I’m still on a Fayoum high. It’s funny how I’m having a hard time putting into words the way I felt about a writing course!  You should know that signing up for this course was completely out of character. Breaking my routine and spending a weekend away with 10 people I’ve never met is so unlike me. Little did I know that it would be the most amazing, inspiring experience and that I would grow so attached to the group. We are a very diverse group of people and to me that is what made us special.  I’m glad we were the first 10 students to go on this residential course and I don’t know how anyone can follow that :)  Dalia Rabie

Maybe we don’t know that much about each other, but we have reached a place, a sanctuary, where we know we can always be, and where no one else will fit the bill, except us The Ghosts of Fayoum, in that island of creativity.  I came to the course as a suffocating petrified writer. My words were stifled, unwilling to be uttered. They evaded me, almost like they disapproved of me, and so were punishing me by not being there. With the first assignment they seemed to group together and decided to give me another chance.  As the minutes went by and the written pieces kept coming, my words have finally forgiven me I think, for letting them be stifled, and by my own hands.  On a more down to earth note, Linda, you have opened a new window in my form of expression. As a writer, I was more concerned with structure, plot and story-line. You opened the window onto a vast universe of words, forms and a new fusion thereof. You have set me free.  Zeinab Mubarak

It’s so hard for me to express how I feel because I’m in a state of mind where if I really think in-depth about that amazing weekend I would be incapable to face the facts I’m dealing with now. It has left a huge impact on my life and perspective. Bless you.  Nawara Belal

4 Comments on “Testimonials”

  1. mary oliver

    Just finished the Creative Writing Course; informative and fun; really enjoyed it. Linda inspires you to write reflectively in entirely new ways. A natural teacher, whose classes are well-planned and presented. Work is promptly marked with very helpful feedback. A wholly positive experience. Thanks Linda, see you on the Short Story Course. MJ Oliver

  2. Faye wilson

    I have recently finished the 4 week short story course. I haven’t done any creative writing since college 20 odd years ago and seldom write more than a shopping list these days but Linda is such an inspiring teacher I found lots to write about and really enjoyed it. I will definitely sign up for another course in the future.

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