A writer from Braintree has won the chance of a lifetime as part of the Essex Book Festival.

Madeleine Swann, who specialises in weird fiction or tales of the macabre, is one of a select few people to receive a place on a writer’s retreat at Southend’s Chalkwell Hall next week.

Run in partnership with Metal Culture, Miss Swann with join nine other writers who throughout the week will receive advice, hear from international speakers and exchange ideas with other participants.

Miss Swan said: “I am really excited and I am also terrified.

“I cannot wait and also I feel like I am about to start school again.

“I hope I can live up to what they expect of me.”

Miss Swann studied creative writing at university, and has had three novellas published as well as short stories in different anthologies.

She said: “I had to send a sample of my work and also a personal statement explaining what I have done in the past and what I was hoping to get out of the project.

“You have to have a special project which you need help with.

“I have an idea which I came up with at a workshop which I want to develop so that I can send it off to an agent when it is complete.”

The Essex Book Festival this year will see dozens of events take place across the county, and Miss Swann admits she has always wanted to get involved.

She said: “I have been to some readings in the past and it is always something I have wanted to get involved in, but there is normally a waiting list for writers to take part.”

Internationally renowned and award-winning writers Paavo Matsin, from Estonia, and Agnieszka Studinska, from Poland, will be present during the week long workshop and available to speak to participants.

Find out more about Miss Swann at madeleineswann.com.