The Friday Mini-Courses

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. 

**Pick one of our Three Hour Workshop to start your festival weekend with a bang.** 

• The Women’s Fiction Masterclass, with Julie Cohen
• Plotting Masterclass, with Andrew Wille
• From Pipedream to Publication, with Clare Wallace & Kerry Fisher
• Self-Editing Your Novel, with Debi Alper
• Self-Publishing Success, with Joanne Phillips
• The Children's Fiction Masterclass, with Tamysn Murray
• Perseverance and Motivation for Writers, with Isabel Costello & Voula Grand


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.

Plotting Masterclass, with Andrew Wille

Plotting Masterclass

Embracing the idea that plot is a verb, as well as a noun, this masterclass examines plotting as an active and artful practice of shaping our stories. Through readings and discussion, we shall look at specific aspects of craft that bring energy and form to our plotting:

•    Characters, conflict, and change

•    Structure and pacing

•    Genres and types of story

•    Narrators and storytelling

•    Symbols, themes, and obsessions

•    Plotting through drafting and revision


We’ll do some in-class exercises, and you’ll also take away writing experiments to try on your work at home. 

Andrew Wille has devoted his career to working with books and writers. As senior editor at Little, Brown in London, he edited and acquired many bestselling and critically acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, and subsequently as a freelance editor has worked for most of the UK’s largest publishers as well as many independent presses. He has lived in the United States and Australia, and studied and taught at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado, where he developed a strong interest in contemplative and holistic approaches to writing and creativity.

Andrew regularly speaks and offers editorial guidance at writers’ events, and as a book doctor supports many writers from the start of new projects through to publication and beyond. He also writes fiction and nonfiction. More information as well as resources on writing and publishing can be found at

From Pipedream to Publication, with Kerry Fisher and her agent, Clare Wallace

Bestselling ebook author, Kerry Fisher and her agent, Clare Wallace from Darley Anderson, will give you tips and techniques to make sure your manuscript has the best chance of success. This mini-course encompasses everything from:

•    The most common writing mistakes

•    How to approach feedback and options for getting published

•    Those all important covering letters 

•    What to look for in an agent  

•    How to keep going when the going gets tough.

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-Publishing Success, with Joanne Phillips

In this 3 hour session we’ll dive straight into the exciting world of self-publishing, with an up-to-the-minute look at the state of the industry and a detailed and tailored exploration of the incredible opportunities for writers like you.

You will learn:

•    How to navigate your way through self-publishing terminology, routes and common pitfalls.

•    How to find great people to work with, such as editors and cover designers, without breaking the bank.

•    How to sell your books and build a solid, loyal readership.

The session will also cover formatting your ebook and uploading to Amazon, common myths, piracy, and the most common mistakes made by self-publishers - and how to avoid them!

Joanne Phillips is an Amazon bestselling, award-winning author of contemporary mysteries, romantic comedies, and women’s fiction. She has a Masters degree in creative writing and is a high-profile indie author, and a champion of quality in self-publishing. Joanne can be found at where she blogs about writing, publishing and all things books.

The Children's Fiction Masterclass, with Tamysn Murray

Writing for children is one of the most joyous activities under the sun - but also one of the hardest.
There is probably no more creatively satisfying enterprise than writing a book for children. If you get it right, the pleasure you give will be enormous and may even last a lifetime.
The afternoon course will cover: 
•    Voice, concept, story and character. 
•    Understanding and controlling voices for different age groups, including young adult
•    What agents and publishers are looking for today
•    The business side: submitting to agents, etc
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, wpublished by Simon and Schuster. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at City University London, teaching their Writing for Children course.

Perseverance and Motivation for Writers, with Isabel Costello & Voula Grand

Perseverance and Motivation for Writers is an energising and interactive workshop combining presentation, discussion and written exercises. Our three aims are to help you:

•    Develop a bespoke set of skills to cope with setbacks encountered as a write
•    Stay motivated to progress towards your goals
•    Protect and nurture your love of writing

As the core of the workshop we’ll be introducing ‘resilient thinking’ skills, a process that makes it possible to recognise and adapt unhelpful beliefs and thought patterns triggered by setbacks so you can recover more quickly and continue to move forward.  Our approach is honest and realistic but above all, positive and practical. We’ll be sharing strategies that have made a real difference to us as writers.

Isabel Costello is an author and host of the Literary Sofa blog. Her candid posts on overcoming rejection have attracted a wide audience and resonate with both new and experienced writers.  

Voula Grand is an author and corporate psychologist.  She is an expert in the current hot topic in her field: the development of the skills of psychological resilience.