Workshop Schedule

When you book your place at the Festival, you'll be asked for your workshop preferences. We will do everything we possibly can to accommodate your choices, but it's first come, first served.

We recommend you select a good mix of workshops on technique (eg: plotting), on genre (eg: writing for kids), and on the business side of things (eg: what agents or editors are seeking). Please note that some 'workshops' will be highly interactive; others will be more in the nature of talks. All events will include ample Q&A opportunities. If you have any questions, please contact us.

 

Workshop 1 (Saturday 10.40 - 11.40)



1A) Philippa Pride (info, info) - The Toolbox
Philippa Pride is Stephen King's British editor (at Hodder), with responsibility for his entire range. As the Book Doctor ®, she also teaches writing and self-editing to first-time writers.
Drawing on Stephen King's On Writing and her own work with new writers, Philippa will talk about the writer's toolbox - those things that a writer needs to master to succeed.

1B) Nicola Morgan (info, info) - What's Wrong With Your Manuscript?
Nicola Morgan is an award-winning and best-selling author of around 90 books, former chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland, creator of the writing consultancy Pen2Publication, and writer of one of the UK's best-loved blogs on publishing, Help! I Need a Publisher! She is also the first google result for the phrase Crabbit Old Bat.
You might think your MS is near perfect or you might be quivering with self-doubt - whichever, the Crabbit Old Bat will shine a spotlight in dark places and help you polish your MS till it sparkles or improve your WIP till it sings. Not so much a workshop as an interactive talk that aims to getting you looking at and self-editing your work constructively.

1C) Jean Fullerton (info) - Show, Don't Tell: Easy to Say ... [Beginners]
Jean 's first novel, No Cure for Love, won the 2006 Harry Bowling prize . Her second, A Glimpse at Happiness, was shortlisted for the 2010 Romantic Novel Award. Her third, Perhaps Tomorrow, is out in February 2011. She is published by Orion.
The art of showing emotions and character is something all writers grapple with. However, it is an essential skill to master if you want to write a page turning novel. Using examples and exercises, Jean will set you on the right path.

1D) Tom Chalmers, Guy Mankowski, Matthew Crow & Andrew Kirby (info) - Getting Published: Publishers' & Authors' Perspectives
Tom Chalmers founded Legend Press in 2005, when aged 25. Paperbooks Publishing and Legend Business have followed. Tom has been shortlisted for the UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year, UK Young Publisher and UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur Awards. The talk includes contributions from Guy Mankowski, author of THE INTIMATES, Matthew Crow, author of ASHES, and Andrew Kirby, short story author in EIGHT ROOMS and TEN JOURNEYS.
An inside view into getting writing published, including tips and common mistakes, current trends and what the future holds.

1E) Jane Holland (info, info) - Writing Romance
Jane Holland has been a pro snooker player, an award-winning poet, a novelist - and now an editor at new Salt imprint, Embrace Books.
Jane's career has ranged from the highbrow to the popular, and she works as both writer and publisher. Now at the head of new romance imprint, Embrace Books, Jane will tell everything she knows about writing romance: what works, what sells, and how to deliver it.

1F) Tom Tivnan (info) - Publishing: Present and Future
Tom Tivnan is features editor of The Bookseller, the bible of the publishing industry. As such, he has been perfectly placed to witness the profound transformations that are altering publishing for ever.
Today’s book trade is changing day by day, almost minute by minute. A look at how digital publishing is transforming the industry now, where it is going next... and what that means for authors.

 1G) John Jarrold (info) - The market for SF & fantasy
John is a hugely experienced agent and editor, who knows the SF/fantasy market better than anyone else in the UK. If you write for this market, you MUST come to this workshop.
John will talk about the market for science fiction and fantasy and how new writers should aim to shape their work to suit it.

 

Workshop 2 (15.10 - 16.10)



2A) Patrick-Janson-Smith (info, info) - Making Bestsellers
Patrick's long career has been quite simply one of the most influential and passionate in contemporary publishing. As publisher at Doubleday/Transworld (for part of the time as joint MD), he had a huge gift for finding (and making) bestsellers, including Andy McNab, Bill Bryson, Joanna Trollope, Armistead Maupin, Sophie Kinsella, John Irving and Terry Pratchett. He then moved briefly into agenting (at Christopher Little, home of a certain boy wizard), then back into publishing with Blue Door, his own imprint at HarperCollins.
Patrick will talk about a lifetime of creating books that sell: how he chooses manuscripts, how he publishes them, what he looks for in an author, what makes things sell. His talk will be rich with case studies - regarding both the books that sold, and those that didn't. Unmissable.

2B) Matt Hilton (info) - Writing crime & thrillers
Matt is a Cumbrian policeman, whose Joe Hunter novels (out with Hodder) have become a huge international sales sensation.
Crime and thrillers have always been a huge part of the book trade, and arguably are more influential than ever. Maintaining tension is key to the success of such books - and indeed, to almost all authors, no matter what they're writing. In this workshop, Matt shares all he knows. Very warmly received last year.

2C) Ashley Pharoah (info) - Pitching the idea
Ashely Pharoah is one of the mostr influential writers for TV today. His most recent mega-hits include Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars, but his credits include Bonekickers, Wild at Heart, Hustle, and more.
Any author needs to be able to construct a compelling 'elevator pitch' (a 20 second outline of their concept). Pitching the idea has been brought to a fine art in the screenwriting world ... and it's something most novelists need to do a heck of a lot better. A must for screenwriters and novelists alike.

  2D) Debi Alper (info) - Breaking the Rules
Debi is the author of gritty, funny, contemporary novels with Orion - and a hugely respected tutor and book doctor with the Writers' Workshop.
This workshop is for those who already know the rules, but aren't sure they feel like sticking to them. You CAN get away with playing fast and loose with the rules, but you need to know what you're doing. Debi is here to show you how.

2E) Jeremy Sheldon (info) - Plotting
Author of classy literary fiction with Jonathan Cape, Jeremy is also a script consultant for Miramax, teaches Creative Writing at the University of London, and an internationally respected workshop leader.
Nothing matters more to a book than its story - and plot is the machinery which drives story. Jeremy will explain what to do and how to do it.

2F) Jen Hamilton-Emery (info) - Internet Marketing for Writers
Salt Publishing is a publisher of internationally award winning poetry and related work. But though Salt has a huge reputation for quality, as a small player, it's had to be particularly adept at marketing its work and achieving sales. Jen is a Director of Salt Publishing and oversaw Salt's relaunch and expansion from 2002 onwards.
Jen will talk about how the internet can be used to market you and your work.

2G) Marcy Posner (info) - International Publishing
Marcy has spent 15 years in publishing in the US, and a similar period working as an agent, including at William Morris, one of the biggest agencies in the US. What Marcy doesn't know about the US and international market ain't worth knowing. See also her biog on the one-to-one page.
Marcy will talk about the publishing scene in North America, and beyond. In particular, can it make sense for UK authors to venture over there - and if so, when?

 

Workshop 3 (16.40 - 17.40)



3A) James Gurbutt & Craig Taylor (info, info) - The Market & the Muse (or Write what you love but make sure it sells)
James Gurbutt was a senior publisher from Random House, who now has his own imprint (Corsair) at Constable & Robinson. Craig (writing as C M Taylor) is a literary writer whose first mainstream offering - Premiership Psycho - is published by Corsair in early 2011.
Writers want to write books they love. Publishers need books they can sell. Finding an intersection between the two can be desperately hard - but is always essential. James and Craig pool their thoughts.

3B) Zoe King (info) - From Slushpile to Book Deal
Darley Anderson is one of the most commercially successful literary agencies, and Zoe is Head of Non-fiction there (though she'll also handle fiction when it really grabs her).
Zoe will talk about what it takes for an agent to take on an author (and what will make her scream with frustration). She'll also walk you through what an agent does for a new author: from finding a publisher through to negotiating a contract.

3C) Tim Murgatroyd (info) - Establishing Character Through Setting 
Tim Murgatroyd has been fascinated by ancient China since his teens, when he discovered a slim volume of Chinese poetry in a second hand bookshop. He is the author of Taming Poison Dragons and Breaking Bamboo.
Settings have an impact on how your readers perceive your characters. Tim will lead you into a re-imagined York University, where strange people wander the campus. And the person creating those people will be you! A must for writers who wish to create rounded characters.

3D) Louise Allen (info) - The Mistakes We Make [Beginners]
Louise is a prolific author of genre romance. She also runs the hugely successful New Writers Scheme for the Romantic Novelists Association.
Through her work with the RNA, Louise sees a large number of first time manuscripts ... and is deeply aware of the most common mistakes those writers make. In this workshop, she runs through the boo-boos and how to avoid them.

3E) Vicky Blunden & Elizabeth Haynes (info, info) - From manuscript to publication
Vicky is the Fiction Editor at Myriad Editions, an independent publisher of literary fiction. Before joining Myriad, she worked for a literary scout and taught English at the University of Sussex. Elizabeth is a police intelligence analyst turned suspense-novelist.
Vicky and Elizabeth will talk about the process that turns a manuscript into a book - and how an author can most usefully contribute.

 3F) Lyn Vernham (info) - From the melting pot to the shelf
Lyn is the Marketing Director at Choc Lit, an ambitious new publisher of women's fiction.
Come hear our story and how we're developing such a delicious selection of Choc Lit. Choc Lit's an independent publisher, specialising in quality women's fiction with romantic content, where the writing clearly develops the hero's point of view.  Authors include: Sue Moorcroft, Christina Courtenay and Jane Lovering.

3G) Jane Smith (info) - Getting Published Isn’t Enough: You Must Be Published Well
Jane writes the How Publishing Really Works blog. She has worked as an editor, a researcher, a ghostwriter and a writer. She is currently working on a fourth novel and a couple of non-fiction books.
In this workshop, she will discuss the problems that being published badly can cause a writer (poor publishing leads to poor sales which inhibits future publishers from considering your work), and how writers can do their best to be well-published.

 

Workshop 4 (10.10 - 11.10)



4A) Hannah Westland & Rebecca Connell (info, info) - Getting Published: a case study
Hannah is a newish agent at the prestigious Rogers, Coleridge & White literary agency in London, where she is currently in the process of building a client list. Rebecca is one of her authors. Her first novel The Art of Losing came out with 4th Estate in 2009. Told in Silence came out in 2010. She is now at work on a literary crime novel.
This workshop will be an interactive dialogue between an author and her agent, and will discuss everything from the moment when Hannah picked The Art of Losing out of her slushpile, right through to the first book deal and beyond.

4B) Donna Condon (info) - Publishing from Passion
Piatkus was founded 30 years ago from Judy Piatkus' spare room. Since then, it's grown to become a leading international publisher and is now part of the Little, Brown group. Donna is a commissioning editor on the fiction side.
Passion is what drives publishing ... but that passion also needs to end up making sales. Donna will talk about how a major publisher operates, and what she looks for in a new manuscript.

 4C) Louise Allen & Jean Fullerton (info, info) - Writing Women's Fiction
Louise Allen is a prolific author of genre romance. She also runs the hugely successful New Writers Scheme for the Romantic Novelists Association. Jean's first novel, No Cure for Love, (Orion) won the 2006 Harry Bowling prize. Her second, A Glimpse at Happiness, (Orion) was shortlisted for the 2010 Romantic Novel Award.
Louise and Jean know the women's fiction market tremendously well. This workshop combines their very different approaches to give new writers a wonderful perspective on what publishers want and how to deliver it.

4D) Nicola Morgan (info, info) - So You Think You Can Write for Teenagers and Children?
Nicola Morgan is an award-winning and best-selling author of around 90 books, former chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland, creator of the writing consultancy Pen2Publication, and writer of one of the UK's best-loved blogs on publishing, Help! I Need a Publisher! She is also the first google result for the phrase Crabbit Old Bat.
The worst slush-pile horrors come from people who think writing for young readers is easy. Nicola Morgan is an award-winning, critically acclaimed writer for teenagers and children. Let her show you what young readers are really looking for. An interactive talk that aims to get you thinking like a writer.

4E) Lesley Eames (info) - Sparkling Dialogue [Beginners]
Lesley has sold a huge number of short stories to the women's magazine market. She has also won and been runner-up in the annual Elizabeth Goudge Trophy.
Dialogue propels and enlivens fiction like almost nothing else ... but it can be a challenge to get it right. Lesley is here to share her secrets.

4F) Adrian Magson (info) - What's the difference between a crime novel and a thriller?
Adrian writes espionage and crime novels for Allison & Busby and others.
The crime and thriller market is a huge area of sales, but has its own ecosystem and subcultures. If you are writing for this market, you need to make sure that you are directing your work at what the trade is looking for. Adrian shares all he knows.

4G) Penny Legg  (info) - Stunning synopses and cover letters
Penny is a British freelance writer and author who loves taking photographs to illustrate her work. A magazine editor for several years, she’s currently the editor of Bulletin magazine for the Diplomatic Service Families Association and a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists (SWWJ). Penny tutors non-fiction students for the Writers Bureau and gives workshops on aspects of writing. Penny will speak about how to create covering letters and synopses that grab and hold the commissioning editor's attention.
Penny will speak about how to create covering letters and synopses that grab and hold the agent's attention.

 

Workshop 5 (11.40 - 12.40)



5A) Julie Cohen & Jane Lovering (info, info)- Laughing till you cry: the funny & serious sides of romantic comedy
Julie writes women's commercial fiction for Headline Review; she's also the author of eleven books for Headline's Little Black Dress romance imprint and for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She's also a course leader for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. Jane Lovering is an author of romantic comedies with Choc Lit, among others.
Romantic comedy novels are light entertainment.  But they have their darker sides, too.  Women's commercial fiction author Julie Cohen and romantic comedy author Jane Lovering will talk about how to create humour, and how to use it to create emotional complexity and depth.

5B) Alan Mahar (info) - Title tbc
Alan Mahar is the Publishing Director of the tiny - but massively successful - Tindal Street Press. Of Tindal's 48 published titles, no fewer than 12 have been nominated for national literary prizes including the Booker, the Costa and the Orange - an extraordinary record.
title tbc.

 5C) Lorella Belli (info) - What rejection letters really mean and how to avoid them.
Lorella represents many bestselling and award-winning authors, most of them were first timers when she took them on.
Lorella will talk about what agents mean when they reject writers, what agents are looking for in new writers - and how you can deliver it.

5D) Tom Harper (info) - Doing Your Research
Tom's historical fiction and thrillers have sold in twenty languages, from China to Brazil. As Edwin Thomas, he was runner-up for the CWA Debut Dagger and is currently Chair of the Crime Writers' Association.  His latest novel is The Lazarus Vault, published by Arrow.
Writing fiction is an imaginative art - yet research matters. It matters because nothing alienates a reader faster than factual shoddiness, and because a solid grasp of the facts liberates your imagination. This workshop shows you how to use your research without encumbering your book or overwhelming the reader.

5E) Emma Darwin (info) - The Writer's Voices [Advanced]
Emma is that rare thing: an acclaimed literary author who's graced the bestseller lists. Her historical fiction has been shortlisted and longlisted for numerous prizes and sold extensively overseas
For your writing to be really compelling it must speak in your own, unique writerly voice, but the voices of your characters must also be vivid and individual. Emma will explore voice, narrators, free indirect style and more, to help you work with all your voices.

5F) Jeremy Thompson (info) - The Self-Publishing Seminar
Jeremy is Managing Director of Troubador Publishing, which has run the successful Matador self-publishing imprint for over 10 years.
Self-publishing has emerged as one way for authors to publish their work. But it isn’t right for everyone. This workshop looks at the pros and cons of self-publishing, and the wide range of options available, from Print on Demand to Ebooks to retail distribution.

 

Workshop 6 (14.00 - 15.00)



6A) Harry Bingham (info) - The Prose Laboratory 
Harry is a bestselling novelist and non-fiction author with HarperCollins / 4th Estate. He also runs the Writers' Workshop, and is author of The Writers' & Artists' Guide to Getting Published.
Agents reject 90-95% of submissions without reading them in full. That's because writers have either got a concept that doesn't work or a prose style that let's them down. This workshop will focus relentlessly on the most common errors - and how to write prose that sings.

 6B) Ed Handyside (info) - Title tbc
Ed runs Myrmidon Books, an eclectic independent publisher.
Title tbc.

6C) Toby Frost (info) - Creating Worlds
Author of the funny, energetic and wonderfully successful Space Captain Smith novels. This is SF for the modern marketplace - twisted & unforgettable. Toby is also currently writing historical fantasy and developing new Space Captain Smith adventures.
Science fiction is one of the toughest of all literary marketplaces - and Toby Frost has cracked it! If you're writing SF, then come and learn from a modern master. Moustaches should be worn, if possible.

6D) Julie Cohen (info) - Pacing [Advanced]
Julie writes women's commercial fiction for Headline Review; she's also the author of eleven books for Headline's Little Black Dress romance imprint and for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She's also a course leader for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.
How do you make sure your novel has page-turning quality and yet still give your reader time to breathe?  Julie discusses techniques and tricks for keeping your story rattling along without going off the tracks.

6E) Jeremy Sheldon (info) - Point of view
Author of classy literary fiction with Jonathan Cape, Jeremy is also a script consultant for Miramax, teaches Creative Writing at the University of London, and an internationally respected workshop leader.
How are you going to tell your story? First person or third person? Single viewpoint or multiple? Omniscient narrator, or a partial one? These things can seem frighteningly technical, yet they will also make a huge difference to the success or failure of your novel. Jeremy will talk you though what works, what doesn't - and how to tell the difference.

6F) Zoe King, SWWJ (info) - Short stories [beginners]
Zoe is a prize-winning short story writer and the Vice Chair of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.
Zoe will talk about the art of writing short stories, and where to find markets for them.





Jeremy Sheldon
Plotting / Points of view
Workshops 2E & 6E



Patrick Janson-Smith
A publisher's life
Workshop 2A



Tom Chalmers
Getting Published
Workshop 1A



Nicola Morgan
What's Wrong with your MS / Children & YA
Workshops 1E & 4D



Zoe King
Slushpile to book deal
Workshop 3E



Debi Alper
Breaking the Rules
Workshop 2D



Jean Fullerton
Show vs Tell / Women's Fic
Workshops 1F, 4C, 5B



Tom Harper
Doing Your Research
Workshop 5D



John Jarrold
Market for SF & fantasy
Workshop 1D




Toby Frost
Creating Worlds
Workshop 6C




Julie Cohen
Romantic Comedy
Workshop 5A




Harry Bingham
Prose Laboratory
Workshop 6A



Emma Darwin
The Writers' Voices
Workshops 5E




Matt Hilton
Crime & Thrillers
Workshop 2B



Tom Tivnan
State of the Industry
Workshop 1C