The Festival of Writing. University of York.

 



 

 

 

We recommend you select a mix of workshops on technique (eg: plotting), on genre (eg: writing for kids), and on the business side of things (eg: one of our "Meet the Industry" panels). Some 'workshops' will be highly interactive; others will be more in the nature of talks. All events will have Q&A opportunities. When you book your place at the Festival, you'll be asked for your workshop preferences. These take place on the Saturday and the Sunday.


 

 

 

 

1A) Allie Spencer - The Essential Writer's Check List
Writing your first novel can be exhilarating – but also fraught with pitfalls. This informal, friendly class will help to diffuse the mystery of ideas such as ‘conflict’ and ‘show not tell’ and give you the information and tips you need to polish your first draft with confidence so that it is ready for submission. Questions andqueries welcome. Award-winning writer Allie Spencer  is the author of five romantic comedy novels (three of them set abroad in exotic locations), an experienced creative writing tutor, (including devising and teaching online courses for Writers' Workshop) - and a graduate of the English Department here at York University. Her most recent novel, Save the Date! Is available from Arrow Books. 

1B) Nelle Andrew - The Arc and the Impetus
This first part of this lecture will consist of the importance of the ‘journey’ within the novel, of both the core story and the plot within it. It will focus on the arduous journey of creating a plot and guiding a novel through the stages of this. The B-side to the lecture, this will focus on the need for compulsion within a novel. Through looking at other novels and techniques on what makes a compulsive read and keeps someone hooked onto a novel and keep going. Nelle Andrew is an agent at PFD. Nelle did a masters in Creative Writing at Trinity College Dublin and then moved back to London in 2007 where she almost immediately began working in publishing. After working at Pan Macmillan she moved to work at a literary agency while also writing and pursuing a career as a novelist on the side.The Legacy of Eden is her first novel, published under the name Nelle Davy. She has finished writing a second novel based on the civil rights movement in Louisiana in 1963.

1C) Kerry Fisher & Clare Wallace - Author Agent relationship
Ask Us Anything. An inside view into finding representation and getting your work published, traditionally or otherwise. Kerry Fisher is a top five Kindle bestselling author, who, three years ago, was at the York Festival of Writing, unrepresented and unpublished. After successfully self-publishing her début novel in December 2012, Kerry signed a two-book deal with Avon/HarperCollins in 2013. Her first title, The School Gate Survival Guide was published in September 2014, followed by The Island Escape in May of this year. Clare Wallace, a literary agent at the Darley Anderson Agency, represents Kerry and is scouting for new talent. 

1D) Julie Cohen - Learning Story Structure from Pixar Films
Disney Pixar films are fun. They're also emotional, action-packed, and exquisitely structured. In this workshop Julie will talk about what these films can teach us about three-act structure, narrative economy, motifs, emotional arcs, plot and subplot. If you've ever enjoyed Finding Nemo, Up, or The Incredibles—or been forced to watch them by your kids—you'll learn a lot from this workshop, back by request from last year. Award-winning novelist Julie Cohen writes emotional, character-driven women's fiction novels. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages. Her latest paperback is Dear Thing, and her latest hardback is Where love lies, both published by Transworld. Dear Thing is a Richard and Judy 2014 Summer Book Club selection. Julie is also an experienced teacher, recently leading writing courses for the Guardian, Random House, and the V&A Museum.

1E) Robert Caskie - Self-Publishing
Awaiting Class Description. Robert Caskie is both a Book and Journalism Agent at Peters Fraser and Dunlop. He represents an extensive list of journalists and writers of both fiction and non-fiction.

1F) Debi Alper - Breaking the Rules
Many people get hung up on the so-called 'rules' of  writing fiction.Just as a creative spark is about to emerge, it's clobbered by someone wielding a big stick and shouting,'You can't do that!'. On the other hand, many drafts don't work because the POV switches round so much the reader gets dizzy, or it's impossible to work out where we are in the timeline. In this workshop, we will define what those so-called rules are and show why they matter; we'll demonstrate the consequences of breaking them and stress that an author needs a good reason to do so ...and then we'll provide the tools that will enable you to go ahead and do just that. Debi is the author of gritty, funny, contemporary novels with Orion - and a hugely respected tutor and book doctor with the Writers' Workshop.

1G) Piers Blofeld - Don’t Give up the Day Job – how to have a writing career.
It’s all to easy for writers to fixate on just getting their book published, but the publishing landscape is littered with authors who have been dropped by their publisher after one or two books - successful writers plan for far beyond the point of publication. Writing careers are hard to build and difficult to maintain, but the rewards can be amazing. This workshop will focus on what you can do now to prepare for the future. Topics covered will include – being clear about what you write and what kind of writer you are, understanding what agents and publishers will expect of you and where the money really is. Piers Blofeld is an agent at Sheil Land. Sheil Land Associates is a long established literary, theatrical and film agency.


What's Your Genre? Featuring Slushpile Live (Saturday 11.50 - 12.50)

You don't need to pre-book for these panel shows - just turn up on the day to the one that takes your fancy. And we've got plenty for you to get your gnashers into:

  • Literary Fiction
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Children's/Young Adult
  • Women's Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Crime/Thriller
  • Script Writing with Jeremy Sheldon

 

  

 

 

2A) Andrew Wille - Trusting Your Voice
'Find your voice' is one of the great myths of creative writing. You have a voice already, so let's look at ways to bring your writing to life with your natural speaking voice. Andrew was managing editor and then senior editor at Little, Brown UK, acquiring and working on many critically acclaimed and award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. Subsequently he has freelanced for many of the industry’s most notable imprints, worked as a book doctor, and taught for Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and Falmouth University’s MA in Professional Writing. His own fiction has been published in literary magazines.

2B) Hal Duncan - How to Write a Sentence
Words are the only substance. While it's a given that good prose needs to communicate, good *narrative* prose is about more than communication; it's about conjuring. Your job is not just to convey the basic gist of a sequence of events to the reader, but to invoke that sequence of events vividly in their imagination, from the cumulative import of every word and phrase. Applying six simple principles in hands-on editing of examples, this workshop will show you how to rip your prose apart and put it back together, how to make it vivid and vital, how to pare and hone it, to turn the most leaden purple prose into gold--or steel, at least, solid and sharp and wielded as a precision weapon. Hal has over twenty years critiquing experience as a member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle, and a half dozen years writing for a living, mainly fiction and poetry but also a considerable amount of literary criticism and commentary via his regular 'Notes from New Sodom' column for BSC Review. A blend of pulp and postmodernism, his first novel, Vellum, was described by Lucius Shepard as 'the Guernica of genre fiction', and shared awards shortlists with everyone from Neil Gaiman (BFS Award) to Brett Easton Ellis and Haruki Murakami (World Fantasy Award). 

2C) Claire McGowan - Just get on with it! How to finish your book
Ground to a halt with your writing? Learn tips and tricks to get back on course, including daily word counts, retreats and courses, personal goal-setting, and most of all how to trust the process to come up with a finished novel. Claire McGowan has published three acclaimed crime novels, was the first Director of the Crime Writers’ Association, and now runs the first MA in Crime Writing at City University, where she teaches and mentors students to complete their first novels. She has also run courses for the Arvon Foundation, and workshops for Guardian Masterclasses, the Plymouth Book Festival, Camp Bestival, the Lichfield Literary Festival, the Essex Book Festival, Queen’s University Belfast, Get Writing, and the York Festival of Writing, and more. 

2D) Lorella Belli - How to attract the attention of an agent and make your submission stand out: dos and donts
This popular workshop talks you through the realities of what agents are looking for - and how to deliver it. Lorella represents many bestselling and award-winning authors, most of them were first timers when she took them on.

2E) Julia Churchill and Penny Holroyde - How to elevate your submission from slushpile hell to slushpile heaven
With many agents receiving between 20 and 50 submissions every single day, how can you make yours stand out and get into the right hands? There is a lot of information for writers on the internet but hear it from the horses’ mouths in this workshop. A vital list of common transgressions and real life examples of good, and bad submissions. How a writer submits is a crucial part of the process. Never get it wrong again. Julia Churchill joined AM Heath in 2013 as Children's Agent, after four years building up the UK side of the Greenhouse Literary Agency, and six years at the Darley Anderson Agency where she grew the children’s list. Penny Holroyde is in the process of establishing her own agency, after nearly a decade at the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency.

2F) Dave Gaughran - Should I Self-Publish?
David Gaughran - author, blogger, self-publisher - will help you answer a question that many writers are asking themselves: should I self-publish? He goes through the pros and cons of self-publishing, and deals with some of the many myths that writers are subjected to. He also warns about the sharks in the self-publishing world and teaches you how to avoid them. Finally, he explains his view that even if you are focused on the traditional path,it would benefit you to self-publish something, and that some of the most successful writers today are taking a hybrid approach. David is the author of the South American historical adventure A Storm Hits Valparaiso and the short stories If You Go Into The Woods and Transfection as well as the popular self-publishing guide Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should. He runs the popular publishing blog Let’s Get Digital and the history site South Americana, has a regular column at Indie Reader, and his work has been featured in the Huffington Post, the Sunday Times, and the Irish Time

2G) How to Hook an Agent and Get a Book Deal. Featuring Slushpile Live
Want to know how to choose an agent? Or write a covering letter or synopsis? Or understand rejection letters? And do you want to know what agents and editors are looking for? Of course you do! So come and ask them.
Panel to include:  Alison Hennessey, Hellie Ogden, Hannah Sheppard, Ben Illis.

 

 

 



3A) Norah Perkins & Carrie Plitt - There Are No Stupid Questions
What do agents do? What makes a good pitch letter? How do I get a job in publishing? Should I self publish? Will my agent help me edit my book? Can I submit a partial manuscript? Why DID Fifty Shades sell so many copies? Carrie Plitt of Conville & Walsh and Norah Perkins of Curtis Brown answer your questions about any and all aspects of the industry. No question too small.
Carrie Plitt is a literary agent at Conville & Walsh Ltd where she is building a list of both non-fiction and fiction with a focus on literary and upmarket commercial titles. Prior to joining C&W in 2011, she worked in the rights department at Penguin Books. In her spare time, she hosts a monthly books talk show on NTS Radio called Literary Friction. Norah Perkins represents many of Curtis Brown's literary estates and is building her own list of fiction and non-fiction writers. She joined Curtis Brown in 2013, after four years as the managing editor at Canongate Books. When she’s not at her desk, she’s restoring an old Golding Pearl printing press.

3B) Hellie Ogden & Chris Wellbelove - The All Important Pitch
This workshop will focus on the cover letter pitch, so the four lines that go into the covering letter that say what the book is about. Delegates will attempt to write their own pitches during the session. Before joining Janklow & Nesbit in 2013, Hellie Ogden spent three years at Greene & Heaton Literary Agency where she built up her list of clients and managed the translation rights. Chris Wellbelove joined Greene & Heaton in 2010 and represents commercial and literary fiction and non-fiction.

3C) James Law - Talking the walk – Advanced Dialogue
Talking the walk - At every festival somebody shows up and tells you how to format dialogue, ensures that you get the ‘singles’ and ‘doubles’ the right way around. This workshop isn’t that! We’re going to go beyond the basics. We’re going to talk about how to write great dialogue. We’re going to talk about what dialogue should accomplish, how it sets up relationships between the speaker and the speakee (is that even a word?), we’re going to talk about what dialogue should tell you about those speaking, their background and motivations, and also what it tells you about those around them as they speak, we’re going to talk about getting to the point and how some characters do and others don’t, we’re going to talk about how people’s speech changes, ebbs and flows, and how we can use that to great affect to shock, entertain or inform our readers, and if, after all that, we’ve some time left, we might talk about quotation marks and speech tags, but just be sure to bring a pad, a pen and an open mind, because we’ve got dialoguing to do.
James Law is both and Armed Forces and Festival of Writing veteran. Recently picked up by Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown, his debut novel Tenacity (Due out on July 30 2015) went to a multi-publisher auction in the UK and sold within days in the US.

3D) C M Taylor - 'Character is destiny'
'Character is destiny' wrote Heraclitus two and a half thousand years ago.  In this workshop we'll be looking at how to create deep characters that chime with your plotting to really 'deserve' their fates. Craig (writing as C M Taylor) is the author of five novels. Premiership Psycho (Corsair 2011) and the Amazon best-selling Group of Death (Corsair 2012) form two thirds of a savagely satirical trilogy about contemporary celebrity culture described as 'Brilliant' by The Sun, and 'Horribly entertaining' by The Mirror. He's also the author of Light, Cloven and Grief, the latter a dystopian fantasy described by British Science Fiction Association as a work of 'breathtaking originality' and nominated for their 2005 Book of the Year.

3E) Tamsyn Murray - So You Want to Write for 8-12s?
It's official: children's books are outselling adult for the first time ever. Even better, publishers are actively looking to build their lists for readers aged 8-12, AKA Middle Grade, so it's the perfect time to write for this age range. But WAIT - before you start scribbling, you have to understand your audience; how old they are dictates how many words you need and you have to know how far you can go - what's OK and what's not. And you need to know about the gatekeepers: the mythical creatures who stand between you and your reader, like Gandalf but with less beard. Luckily, Tamsyn has the elixir of Middle Grade success and she's sharing it here. Tamsyn Murray was born in Cornwall but now lives in Hertfordshire with her family. She writes mostly funny books for children of all ages, from picture books (Snug as a Bug, Simon and Schuster) to teen (the Afterlife series, Piccadilly Press). She is currently working on the cringe-along Completely Cassidy series, published by Usborne and featuring disaster-prone Cassidy Bond and her embarrassing family. Tamsyn writes for adults under the pen-name Holly Hepburn and her novella series, The Star and Sixpence, will be published by Simon and Schuster in November 2015. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at City University London, teaching their Writing for Children course.

3F) Jeremy Sheldon - 'Hold Back The Monster!: What Horror Has To Teach Me About Everything.'
The world of vampires, psychos stalkers, killer sharks and zombie attacks might seem a long way from the style and characters you're interested in as a writer, but this session will show that in fact the core processes and principles working at the heart of the horror story give writers in all genres and forms some useful principles for telling stories of all kinds. We know storytelling is about "conflict": no matter what you're writing, this session will help you develop skills that will allow you to better identify, sustain and control the forces of threat and conflict in your writing, and so tell more engaging, complete and coherent stories in the process. Jeremy is an author and screenwriter. The Comfort Zone (2002) and The Smiling Affair (2005) are published by Jonathan Cape. His feature films include Best Laid Plans (2012), Montana (2013), Allies (2014), Writers Retreat (2015) and Golden Years (2016). Jeremy also works in a development role for a number of leading producers, including Mark Foligno (The King's Speech, Moon) and Deepak Sikka (Mandela).

3G) Shelley Harris -The Shark and the Iceberg: How to be Brilliant at Backstory
Deftly-handled backstory can transform your fiction, but too many manuscripts are stalled by clumsy exposition. How do you keep the plot ticking over and still  inform your reader? Is it possible for backstory to be more than just bare information? Can it multitask?  Can it be fun? This workshop (which borrows a shark from Jeremy Sheldon and an iceberg from Ernest Hemingway) will equip you with a range of techniques to make your exposition a thing of beauty. Bring salted caramels. For beginner and intermediate writers. Shelley's debut novel Jubilee was ‘discovered’ at the The Festival of Writing. It has been a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club choice, a Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. Her second novel, Vigilante!, is due out in paperback in July.

 

 

 


4A) Jennifer Parker - Self-Publishing: Making the Right Choices
Self-publishing has developed dramatically in the last ten years; once seen as the last resort of a desperate author, it’s now the first choice for many. With the rise of ebooks in particular, self-publishing has moved centre-stage. But is it right for everyone? With so many different routes to publication -- ebooks, print ‘on demand’, short run digital — how can anyone considering self-publishing ensure they are making the right choice for their work? This session looks at the different routes to self-publishing available, and the considerations authors need to make when approaching it for the first time. It also considers the pros and cons of different forms of self-publishing, and the mistakes most commonly made by self-publishing authors. Jennifer Parker is Production Manager of Troubador Publishing Ltd, which runs the UK’s most widely-recommended self-publishing service, Matador. Troubador also organises the UK’s only dedicated Self-Publishing Conference (now in its third year), and publishes the quarterly Self-Publishing Magazine. She is a regular speaker at writing conferences, workshops and publishing industry forums.

4B) Andrew Wille - Showing and Telling and Storytelling
Show, don’t tell – or so we’re told. But once upon a time we told stories, didn’t we? And in practice, any successful piece of storytelling needs to balance both showing and telling. In this workshop we’ll look at examples of both narrative modes, and find ways to blend them into our own writing.
Andrew was managing editor and then senior editor at Little, Brown UK, acquiring and working on many critically acclaimed and award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. Subsequently he has freelanced for many of the industry’s most notable imprints, worked as a book doctor, and taught for Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and Falmouth University’s MA in Professional Writing. His own fiction has been published in literary magazines.


4C) Ben Illis and Gabrielle Kent - Great Expectations: The agent and writer relationship
So you’ve written your book and are on the lookout for an agent. Agent Ben Illis and his client Gabrielle Kent discuss what you can do to get noticed over the hundreds of other authors querying agents every month, as well as author/agent expectations and what makes an agent/client relationship work.
This session will take the form of a talk, followed by an ask us anything Q&A session and will look at: Baiting the hook - Drawing agents to you, pitching to agents and the all important cover letter; hooking the right agent - What to expect from a literary agent and what an agent expects from their client; the market and the pitching calendar - How does the pitching process work and when is best to approach agents? And finally: spit and polish - Making your manuscript shine (aka how to avoid being passed over in the slush-pile pile-up).
Gabrielle Kent is an author for middle grade, who, two years ago, won Friday Night Live at York Festival of Writing, going on to sign with Ben at The BIA. Gabrielle is the author of the Alfie Bloom magical realism series for 9+. She currently lectures in Computer Games Design at Teesside University where she also directs Animex, the UK's largest Games and Animation Festival.  Ben Illis is founder of The BIA, a literary agency specialising in kids fiction, and is always on the lookout for new MG and YA talent.  In June 2014 Gabrielle and Ben signed a 3 book world rights deal with Scholastic and Gabrielle's first title, Alfie Bloom And the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle, was published in June 2015.

4D) Tamsyn Murray - Worldbuilding: We're Not in Kansas Anymore
Think of your favourite fantasy or science-fiction stories. Whether they're set in the Emerald City or a galaxy far far away, I'm willing to bet they have one thing in common: fantastic worldbuilding. It's a term often associated with stories where the rules of everyday life are unfamiliar and strange and done right, it enriches your story and lifts it out of the ordinary. But you don't need to worry about that 'rules' stuff in contemporary fiction, right? Everyone already knows how this world works...don't they? In this session, Tamsyn explains why every writer needs a winged monkey or two and explores the best ways to catch them.
Tamsyn Murray was born in Cornwall but now lives in Hertfordshire with her family. She writes mostly funny books for children of all ages, from picture books (Snug as a Bug, Simon and Schuster) to teen (the Afterlife series, Piccadilly Press). She is currently working on the cringe-along Completely Cassidy series, published by Usborne and featuring disaster-prone Cassidy Bond and her embarrassing family. Tamsyn writes for adults under the pen-name Holly Hepburn and her novella series, The Star and Sixpence, will be published by Simon and Schuster in November 2015. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at City University London, teaching their Writing for Children course.

4E) Jeremy Sheldon - 'Chit-Chat And The Necessary Evils of Dialogue'
It was the film director Fred Zinnemann who described dialogue as a "necessary evil”, but is this also true for writing fiction? This session will review and explore some of the core techniques for writing better dialogue in our fiction, focusing on standard techniques relating to formatting, pace, originality and subtext. But we’ll also engage in a detailed comparison of the process of writing dialogue for the page and that of writing for the screen to see if there’s anything else we can learn as a result. Alfred Hitchcock wisely advised screenwriters to "let the talk be part of the atmosphere” and in the end we’ll discover that this couldn’t be a more useful piece of advice for novelists also. Jeremy is an author and screenwriter. The Comfort Zone (2002) and The Smiling Affair (2005) are published by Jonathan Cape. His feature films include Best Laid Plans (2012), Montana (2013), Allies (2014), Writers Retreat (2015) and Golden Years (2016). Jeremy also works in a development role for a number of leading producers, including Mark Foligno (The King's Speech, Moon) and Deepak Sikka (Mandela). 


4F) Emma Darwin - Historical Fiction
How do you root your fiction in history, without getting stuck in the mud? How do you tell a great story when you have to look everything up? This practical workshop will explore both imagining and researching the past, and then how to work with period voice and language to embody your story. You will leave with ways to write through the historical facts to the heart of your story, and maybe even have inspiration for future projects. Emma is that rare thing: an acclaimed literary author who's graced the bestseller lists. Her fiction has been shortlisted and longlisted for numerous prizes and sold extensively overseas. Her latest book, Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction, (John Murray/Teach Yourself) will be published in October.

4G) How to Hook an Agent and Get a Book Deal. Featuring Slushpile Live
Want to know how to choose an agent? Or write a covering letter or synopsis? Or understand rejection letters? And do you want to know what agents and editors are looking for? Of course you do! So come and ask them.
Panel to include: Diana Beaumont, David Haviland, David Maybury, James Wills

 

 

 

 



5A) Shelley Harris - Who Dares Wins: How To Take Risks and Supercharge Your Writing
We want so much to ‘get it right’ that sometimes we’re tempted to make very cautious choices in our writing: we follow structural rules, worry about creating ‘likeable’ characters, and make ‘show, don’t tell’ our mantra. After all that effort, it’s an irony that the most exhilarating writing often comes when we let go and give ourselves permission to take risks. In this practical, fun workshop, Shelley will take you through some ways to approach the blank page in a spirit of derring-do. Shelley's debut novel Jubilee was ‘discovered’ at the Festival of Writing. It has been a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club choice, a Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. Her second novel, Vigilante!, is due out in paperback in July.

5B) David Maybury - Ask an Agent: Writing for Children
Awaiting Class Description. David is Commissioning Editor at Scholastic Children’s Books. Publishing some of the best authors and illustrators and partnering with the best creators in the world. He's also worked at some of the best companies in children's media and publishing - including Brown Bag Films and Penguin Children's Books.


5C) Jo Unwin and Sam Copeland - DO YOU DARE?
Agents may well receive 50 unsolicited manuscripts a week. With each submission, they have to make a rapid, commercially driven decision about whether to (A) reject the MS immediately, (B) read the submission package, but then reject it, or (C) read the submission package, then ask to read the full MS. This fairly mischievous version of Slushpile Live will show you how agents make those decisions - and there to show you how YOU can make sure your manuscript is not one of those rejected.. Jo joined Conville and Walsh Literary Agency in 2008 and took to being a Literary Agent like a duck to water.  She was in a shortlist of three for the Bookseller Industry Awards Literary Agent of the Year in 2010, and was picked out as one of the Bookseller’s Rising Stars in 2011. Jo's since set up her own agency JULA, based at and working in close association with Rogers, Coleridge and White.  Sam is an agent at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Sam's first job in publishing was at Curtis Brown, where he started in 2001.  He left in 2006 to help create the Robinson Literary Agency, and joined Rogers, Coleridge and White in 2009 when the two companies merged.

5D)Allie Spencer  - There Be Dragons: Creating a Sense of Place out of the Unknown
'Write about what you know' is a piece of advice often given to aspiring authors - but what if you can't? What if you are writing about a geographical location, or a period of time, that you are not able experience first-hand? How much research is enough - and what is too much? Where do you even begin? And how doyou ensure that your readers are able to believe in the brave new world you create? Bring your queries, questions, WIPs and top tips to this interactive session. Award-winning writer Allie Spencer is the author of five romantic comedy novels (three of them set abroad in exotic locations), an experienced creative writing tutor, (including devising and teaching online courses for Writers' Workshop) - and a graduate of the English Department here at York University. Her most recent novel, Save the Date! Is available from Arrow Books.


5E) Hal Duncan - Point of View
Awaiting Class Description. PoV: Focused on third person limited & third person omniscient
Hal has over twenty years critiquing experience as a member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle, and a half dozen years writing for a living, mainly fiction and poetry but also a considerable amount of literary criticism and commentary via his regular 'Notes from New Sodom' column for BSC Review. A blend of pulp and postmodernism, his first novel, Vellum, was described by Lucius Shepard as 'the Guernica of genre fiction', and shared awards shortlists with everyone from Neil Gaiman (BFS Award) to Brett Easton Ellis and Haruki Murakami (World Fantasy Award).

5F) Claire McGowan - Writing Crime Fiction
What makes a novel count as crime fiction? We’ll discuss body count, whether you even need a body at all, different sub-genres of crime, and what readers expect in terms of pacing, structure, and resolution. We’ll also look at how to create suspense and keep the reader turning the pages, plus an overview of the current market for crime fiction and how to break into it. Claire McGowan has published three acclaimed crime novels, was the first Director of the Crime Writers’ Association, and now runs the first MA in Crime Writing at City University, where she teaches and mentors students to complete their first novels. She has also run courses for the Arvon Foundation, and workshops for Guardian Masterclasses, the Plymouth Book Festival, Camp Bestival, the Lichfield Literary Festival, the Essex Book Festival, Queen’s University Belfast, Get Writing, and the York Festival of Writing, and more. 

5G) Anna Lewis - How to create an awesome print book: the Ins and Outs of Print-on-demand publishing
So, you've written a remarkable book. How can you ensure that you do justice to the words inside when publishing it?Jam-packed with practical tips, real life examples and solid design principles, this workshop will take you through the essentials of creating a book that is beautiful, will make you proud and, crucially, will sell to readers. Drawing on experience from working with many different flavours of books and authors, Anna will be here to help you find the path to print that is right for you. Anna Lewis is the co-founder of CompletelyNovel.com - a unique publishing platform that specialises in beautiful print books and advice for authors.

 

 

 

 



6A) Debi Alper - Psychic Distance: Getting inside your characters' heads
How deep do you (and therefore your reader) go into the heads of your characters?  Are you able to move in and out as necessary?  Learning how to use the full spectrum of Psychic Distance will bring your writing to life.  It will also help you to understand show not tell, POV and much more.  In previous workshops, Psychic Distance has been responsible for more lightbulb moments than any other single theory and is a vital tool for an author. Debi is the author of gritty, funny, contemporary novels with Orion - and a hugely respected tutor and book doctor with the Writers' Workshop.

6B) Emma Darwin - Writing Sex: 'It's harder' than you think.
Writing sex is no different from writing anything else, except that it’s more difficult, and you keep finding yourself saying things like “it’s harder”. You also have dreams of the Bad Sex Awards, and nightmares of your mother-in-law. This practical workshop will explore why writing sex so often goes wrong, and what a writer can do to make it go right. By the end you should have a new understanding of how to write sex which is as heavenly or as hellish as your story needs. Emma is that rare thing: an acclaimed literary author who's graced the bestseller lists. Her fiction has been shortlisted and longlisted for numerous prizes and sold extensively overseas. Her latest book, Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction, (John Murray/Teach Yourself) will be published in October.

6C) James Wills - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Agents  (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)
Ask James Anything! James is Managing Director of Watson, Little Ltd and is passionate about reading and good writing. He looks after a dynamic and wide-ranging list of writers and is always searching for new, exciting material, especially from debut authors. Watson, Little Ltd was founded in 1970 and represents a number of bestselling and prize-winning authors and estates. James was Secretary of the Association of Authors' Agents from 2009-2011. 

6D) Deborah Install - Sticking your head above the parapet: marketing and networking for authors
In a crowded marketplace, a little bit of marketing knowledge goes a long way. Debut author Deborah Install talks social media, networking, and how to be the driving force behind your book…even when you feel like a rabbit in the headlights. In 2013, after reading for The Festival of Writing Friday Night Live, writer Deborah Install, was approached on the spot by agent Jenny Savill and is now the proud owner of a six-figure publishing deal.


6E) Julie Cohen - Finding Your Novel's Theme
This is a hands-on, practical workshop that will help you examine your work in progress and make it sharper, deeper and more moving, by finding and exploiting its underlying meaning. Good for anyone at any stage of writing their novel, from the beginning to the final revisions. Award-winning novelist Julie Cohen writes emotional, character-driven women's fiction novels. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages. Her latest paperback is Dear Thing, and her latest hardback is Where love lies, both published by Transworld. Dear Thing is a Richard and Judy 2014 Summer Book Club selection. Julie is also an experienced teacher, recently leading writing courses for the Guardian, Random House, and the V&A Museum.

6F) C M Taylor - Boosting the Emotional Power of Plot
In this workshop we'll be using a very simple and powerful technique to show you how to increase the emotional effects of your plot by yoking it to both sub-plot and the relationships of your characters. We'll be looking at common mistakes about what sub-plot actually is, and showing how the emotional development of your protagonist, and the way their relationships evolve, can feed back into plot developments to provide layered and powerful pay offs. Craig (writing as C M Taylor) is the author of five novels. Premiership Psycho (Corsair 2011) and the Amazon best-selling Group of Death (Corsair 2012) form two thirds of a savagely satirical trilogy about contemporary celebrity culture described as 'Brilliant' by The Sun, and 'Horribly entertaining' by The Mirror. He's also the author of Light, Cloven and Grief, the latter a dystopian fantasy described by British Science Fiction Association as a work of 'breathtaking originality' and nominated for their 2005 Book of the Year. A keen collaborator, Craig has established a company to create narrative apps. He has been a book editor with the Writers' Workshop since (almost) its inception.

6G) Dave Gaughran - The Secrets of Successful Self-Publishers
This class will focus exclusively on the techniques successful self-publishers use to sell books. Useful for those already self-publishing, and those yet to start. Packed full of practical info on mailing lists, advertising, etc. David is the author of the South American historical adventure A Storm Hits Valparaiso and the short stories If You Go Into The Woods and Transfection as well as the popular self-publishing guide Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should. He runs the popular publishing blog Let’s Get Digital and the history site South Americana, has a regular column at Indie Reader, and his work has been featured in the Huffington Post, the Sunday Times, and the Irish Time.

 

Speakers / talks are subject to change, but we do aim to replace like with like - or (if you prefer) rebook you for a different event.