Meet agents and publishers. Get advice from professional authors. Pitch your work direct to agents. And have fun! Everyone booking a ticket at the Festival is entitled to two ten minute 1-to-1 sessions. Those booking weekend tickets can upgrade to three for an additional £45.

30 Agents |50 Workshops | Authors | Editors | Friday Night Live

Date: 9th -11th Sept. |Price: From £185 | Location: York | Meetings: Two Agent 1-to-1



The Festival of Writing Programme



Theini ourses

Pre-booked optional extra. The mini-course costs an additional £75 to the normal Full Festival Weekend price. **3 hour workshop to start the weekend with a bang.**

 14.00 - 17.00.

• The Women’s Fiction Masterclass, with Julie Cohen
• A Do-It-Yourself MA in Creative Writing, with Andrew Wille
• The Historical Fiction Masterclass, with Emma Darwin
• Self-Editing Your Novel, with Debi Alper
• Self-Publish Like A Pro, with David Gaughran
• The Golden Rules Of Children's Fiction, with Brian Keaney

17:00 - 18:00

New for 2016. Industry Meet & Greet: come along to meet agents, publishers & book doctors

15.00 - 18.00 Registration and collection of room keys
16.00 - 17.00 Afternoon tea - dip out, drop-in
18.00 Bar opens. Mix and mingle with agents, editors and fellow writers.
19.30 Dinner

20.45 - 21.15


Literary Night Live

Your chance for a panel of experts to hear and evaluate your text. Terrifying, but useful.

In 2014, having won the Friday Night Live Comp Joanna Cannon walked away with seven offers from literary agents. She decided to sign with Susan Armstrong, and The Borough Press acquired Jo’s novel shortly afterwards. THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP was published in January 2016. Within a fortnight of publication, it reached #3 in The Sunday Times bestsellers’ list. In 2013, after reading for Friday Night Live, writer Deborah Install, was approached on the spot by agent Jenny Savill and was soon the proud owner of a six-figure publishing deal. A Robot in the Garden was a Doubleday hardback in April 2015, and was published as a Black Swan paperback in early 2016. 







Registration for Saturday arrivals

9.10 - 10.10


Festival Welcome & Keynote Address with C.L. Taylor

CL Taylor's first psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was one of the top ten bestselling debut novels of 2014. Her second novel, THE LIE, charted at number 5 in the Sunday Times Bestsellers list. Combined sales of both novels have now exceeded half a million copies in the UK alone.

10.10 - 10.40

Coffee break & booksigning

10.40 - 11.40

Workshops - Session 1

• Jeremy Sheldon - “Why aren't you writing in sequences?”
• Tracy Rees - Overcoming Obstacles to Writing Success
• Brian Keaney - Look Who's Talking; the importance of voice in children's fiction.
• Julie Cohen - First 100 Words Challenge
• Piers Blofeld - Rejection: Live!
• Kathryn Taussig - Shaping Your Commercial Novel: Pitch, Plot and Pacing in Commercial Fiction
• Laura Williams - Writing Tips: Rules are Made to be Broken

See workshops for more info. When you book your Festival ticket, you will be asked to select your workshop choice.

11.50 - 12.50

Genre Panel/ Q&As

  • Literary Fiction
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Children's/Young Adult 
  • Women's Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Crime/Thriller
  • Script Writing
In nearly all cases, panels will include both authors and agents/publishers.


Buffet Lunch

14.00 - 15.00

Industry Key note address: To be announced.

15.10 - 16.10

Workshops - Session 2

• Debi Alper - POV/Psychic Distance
• Daren King - "Thriller Plotting Techniques - For Writers of All Kinds of Fiction"
Kirsty Greenwood - Writing Commercial Fiction that will sell to a publisher Cancelled
• Jenny Ashcroft - Making Historical Fiction Relevant & Commercial
• Julia Churchill  - How to elevate your submission
• Andrew Wille - Trusting Your Voice
• Kerry Fisher - What you didn't know you needed to know about publishing
• Sharon Zinc - GROUP COACHING . Get Productive: Handy Tips for the Hectic Writer

See workshops for more info.

16.10 - 16.40

Afternoon Tea - plus author booksignings

16.40 - 17.40

Workshops - Session 3

• Emma Darwin - Showing and Telling.
• Louise Buckley - First paragraphs: How to grab the reader on the first page
• Harry Bingham - The Prose Laboratory - basics
• C M Taylor - Character is Destiny, Part One: Basis
• Hal Duncan - When is a Chapter not a Chapter?
• David Gaughran - Should You Self-Publish? A Beginners Guide
• C.L. Taylor and her literary agent Madeleine Milburn - From pitch to publication

See workshops for more info.

18.45 - 19.15

Gala Dinner Reception ~ Drinks ~ Come along to meet agents, editors and fellow writers.

19.15  -

Gala Dinner & Competition Presentations


3 course dinner, with drink on arrival. Dine with agents, editors and fellow writers. 







Registration for Sunday arrivals

09.20 - 10.00

Futurecast 2016: The future of publishing

10.10 - 11.10

Workshops - Session 4

• Emma Darwin - Literary Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction
• Harry Bingham - The Prose Laboratory - advanced
• Susan Yearwood - How to attract an agent.
• Jeremy Sheldon - "Save the best to last: Plotting and how to climax in every genre"
• Kerry Fisher - 'From pipe dream to publication: ten ways to increase your book's chance of success'?
• Andrew Wille - Raising the Tone
• How to Hook an Agent and Get a Book Deal. Featuring Slushpile Live

See workshops for more info.

11.10 - 11.40

Coffee break & author booksignings

11.40 - 12.40

Workshops - Session 5

Kirsty Greenwood - Whether to self publish, or traditionally publish your work. Cancelled
• Julie Cohen - The Art of the Rewrite
• Brian Keaney - Rites Of Passage - the role of insight in children's fiction
• James Wills - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Agents  (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)
• Daren King - "Stealth Sentence Secrets"
• Sharon Zink - GROUP COACHING . Tame Your Inner Critic
• Jenny Ashcroft - Moving from First Draft to Publishing Deal (the things I wish I’d known).

See workshops for more info.


Buffet Lunch

14.00 - 15.00

Workshops - Session 6

• Debi Alper - Dialogue: Look Who's Talking Too
• C.M Taylor - Character is Destiny, Part Two: Application
• Tracy Rees - A Creative Endeavour in a Business World.
• Hal Duncan - The Power of Point of View
• Marilia Savvides - How to globalise your writing career
• David Gaughran - The Secrets of Successful Self-Publishers
• Ruth Bennett - Hooked on Books: Creating young fiction that readers will love!

See workshops for more info.

15.10 - 15.50


Keynote Address with Jo Cannon

Jo attended the 2014 Festival of Writing, where she won the Friday Night Live competition with her story about two little girls in the summer of ’76. Within forty-eight hours of leaving York, she had received offers of representation from a number of literary agents, and she went on to sign with Sue Armstrong of Conville and Walsh.
The Borough Press (HarperCollins) acquired Jo’s novel shortly afterwards, and THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP was published in January 2016. Within a fortnight of publication, it reached #3 in The Sunday Times bestsellers’ list.

15.50 - 16.00

Wrap-up & farewells