• 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
• The Secrets of a Successful Self-Publisher, with David Gaughran
• The Golden Rules Of Children's Fiction, with Brian Keaney


The Mini Courses: Friday 9th. From 14:00 to 17:00. Pre-booked optional extra. The mini-course cost is only an additional £75 to the normal Full Festival Weekend price. **3 hour workshop to start the weekend with a bang.**

The Women’s Fiction Masterclass, with Julie Cohen

Women’s popular fiction accounts for a large percentage of the adult fiction market, ranging from the commercial to the literary crossover, from contemporary comic romance to multigenerational sagas, historical fiction, and issue-driven ‘book club’ novels. Women’s fiction is about the woman’s story, her hopes, fears, fantasies and empowerment. This mini-course looks at the building blocks of women’s fiction: character, conflict, emotional impact, and connecting with your readers. It will include practical exercises and include a discussion of the current markets.

Award-winning novelist Julie Cohen writes emotional, character-driven women's fiction novels. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages and sold nearly a million copies worldwide. Her latest paperback, Where Love Lies, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Award. Dear Thing was a Richard and Judy 2014 Summer Book Club selection. Julie is also an experienced teacher, recently leading writing courses for the Guardian, Random House, the V&A Museum and Literature Wales.

A Do-It-Yourself MA in Creative Writing, with Andrew Wille

Can writing be taught? Even the most gifted writers can gain from studies in creative writing. A formal qualification is one route, but there are many other resources and lessons available to writers who know where to look. Inspiring and practical, this workshop will equip writers with the tools and knowledge for improving their creations and managing their careers, covering topics such as:

•    defining your intention in writing and your success as a writer
•    understanding the conventions and techniques that will make your writing stronger
•    the writer’s bookshelf and reading as a writer
•    drafting, revising, and working with feedback
•    choosing the right courses, conferences, and mentors
•    writing groups, writing partners, writing communities, and professional networking
•    submitting your work to agents, working with publishers, and self-publishing

This workshop will be of value to beginners keen to build their own self-directed programme of studies as well as experienced writers seeking to sustain a productive working practice.

Andrew Wille was senior editor at Little, Brown UK, acquiring and editing many critically acclaimed and award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. He has freelanced for many publishers, 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. More info at www.wille.org.

Historical Fiction Masterclass, with Emma Darwin

How do you root your fiction in history without getting stuck in the mud? How do you write gripping prose when you have to look everything up? This mini-course will draw on Emma's new book Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction (John Murray Learning) to explore how to write this exciting genre.From imagining the voices of the past to digging in the archives, historical fiction demands that bit more of the writer, but is correspondingly rewarding: the practical exercises and examples of bestselling writing will help you develop your skills and understanding, and you should go away with new energy and insight, and even perhaps some story ideas.

Emma Darwin 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) was published in March 2016. 

Self-Editing Your Novel, with Debi Alper

In this 3-hour session, Debi will be condensing the hugely popular 6-week online self-edit course (now in its fifth year) to demonstrate what to look for when you edit your own novel and how to make your story as good as it can possibly be. We'll be covering every aspect of self-editing: structure, pace, plot, characters, voice and prose style.


Debi Alper's first two novels, Nirvana Bites and Trading Tatiana, urban thrillers set among the sub-cultures of South East London, were published by Orion to critical acclaim. Over the years, she has also worked as a charity finance officer, a photographer, farm labourer, life model and wig maker. She wrote her first novel as a direct result of being in a local writers' group and still writes in long hand, lying on the settee.

These days, Debi spends most of her time helping other writers to perfect their novels through critiques, mentoring, Book Doctor sessions and creative writing workshops. She edits in all genres and many authors that she has worked with have been signed up with agents and gone on to see their books published. She also runs the Writers' Workshop Self-Edit Your Novel course, together with Emma Darwin.

Self-Publish Like A Pro, with David Gaughran

We'll cover the current state of the industry, delve into the incredible new opportunities that exist for writers today, and teach you how to self-publish like a pro. You will learn:

•    How to find an editor, cover designer, and formatter, and how to put the package together in a professional way (that doesn’t break the bank).
•    Pitfalls you must avoid as a writer in the digital age, and how to spot scammers.
•    Building a readership: Facebook, blogging and Twitter don’t really sell books. We’ll cover what does.

The course will also cover common myths, piracy, and the biggest mistakes self-publishers make (and how to avoid them). We'll finish at looking at the marketing strategies of successful self-publishers, and how they have taken over a quarter of the UK e-book market (and a third in the US).

David Gaughran is the author of the historical novels Mercenary and A Storm Hits Valparaiso, as well as the popular books for writers Let's Get Digital and Let's Get Visible.

The Golden Rules Of Children's Fiction, with Brian Keaney

Potentially good manuscripts are frequently undermined because the author has made a fundamental error about the way that children's fiction works. This mini-course is designed to prevent aspiring children's authors making those critical mistakes.

Organized around a set of golden rules, the course aims to help writers:

•    understand what publishers are looking for
•    navigate a highly segmented market
•    avoid common viewpoint pitfalls
•    create plots that will resonate with young people today
•    present a world that children will recognise.

Brian Keaney has written twenty novels for young people  and worked as Series Editor for three major publishers. Until 2014 he regularly taught Creative Writing on the University of Cambridge summer programme.