Literary Salons at Waterstones Piccadilly

Please see below for a full listing of our upcoming evening events.

These sessions will take place at Waterstones Piccadilly from April 24th, with one a month thereafter until July 31st. Tickets are on sale at £45 (cost includes a glass of wine on arrival). Unless otherwise stated, all sessions will start at 18.30 and wrap up by 21.30.

Spaces are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

April 24th: 'Life Sucks, Then You Grow Up': The Difficult Subject of Coming-of-Age

Sales of both young adult fiction and memoir have remained resilient in a publishing environment where little else seems quite as predictable and coming-of-age narratives have never been more popular as a result. This session will discuss the archetypal components of the genre before suggesting that the presence of certain thematic elements will help a writer elevate their material above that of their peers in a marketplace that’s increasingly overcrowded. As always, it comes back to character, but also, more importantly, how plot drives characters to the most difficult and climactic choices possible.

Jeremy Sheldon is a screenwriter and author. His feature film credits include Best Laid Plans (2012), Allies (2014), Montana (2014), Writers Retreat (2015) and Golden Years (2016). Jonathan Cape published his collection of short stories The Comfort Zone in 2002 and The Smiling Affair, a supernatural thriller, in 2005.

Q&A with a panel consisting of:
• Gemma Cooper, Agent with the Bent Agency
• Julia Churchill, Agent with AM Heath
• Jeremy Sheldon, Author
Gemma Cooper joined the Bent Agency in 2012 having previously worked for literary agencies in London and New York. She represents authors who write for all ages of children – from picture books to young adult fiction and non-fiction. Working with a global agency, Gemma represents authors from all over the world, although she does love to champion UK talent.

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. She represents some fabulous writers, but is always on the treasure hunt for new writing talent. She’s looking for debut and established authors with storytelling magic, from picture book texts right up to YA fiction. 

 May 29th: A Getting Published Masterclass

Everything you need to know about how to find agents, how to approach them, and how to write a compelling synopsis and covering letter.

Harry Bingham is a bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction. Harry's work has been published in the UK, the US, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, Japan and numerous other territories besides. He has been short-and long-listed for major literary awards and his crime fiction has been critically acclaimed worldwide. He is also the author of The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook's Getting Published and How To Write, each of them among the leading texts on their subjects.

Q&A with a panel consisting of:
• Sallyanne Sweeney, Agent with Mulcahy Conway Associates
• James Wills, Agent with Watson, Little Ltd
• Harry Bingham, Author

Sallyanne Sweeney is an agent at Mulcahy Associates. After graduating she joined Watson, Little Ltd, becoming a Literary Agent in 2008 and a Director of the company in 2011. She joined Mulcahy Associates in August 2013 and is building her list of fiction and non-fiction authors for children and adults, as well as a small number of picture book illustrators. Passionate about working with debut authors, her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from the literary to the very commercial, but she is particularly looking for voice-driven narratives with a strong hook. In non-fiction, she is interested in memoirs and food writing.

James Wills 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. James was Secretary of the Association of Authors' Agents from 2009-2011.

June 26th: Inspiration: Clarifying and Adding Structure to Initial Inspiration - Learn Pro Tools & Tricks.

We often hear the question, 'Where do your ideas come from?' But for writers, the more important question is often, 'Why did I get this idea?' Because clarifying your own inspiration and motivation is vital when it comes to making those huge decisions about plot, character and theme. In this talk, C. M. Taylor will use his own work-in-progress to explain the pro tools and tricks he uses to add structure to initial inspiration, and to keep in touch with a book's emotional heart.

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 last 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.
Breakout Group Work:
In small groups we’ll put some of these ideas into practice.

July 31st: Self-Editing: Revising Your Words

Revising and Editing
This workshop presents practical suggestions on revising your own work as well as prompts and tricks for self-editing. It will be useful for writers preparing to submit to agents or editors as well as self-publishing authors.

Andrew Wille was a senior editor at Little, Brown UK, acquiring and editing critically acclaimed and award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. He has tutored for Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and Falmouth University, and is a book doctor and freelance editor.
Prose Microscope: Which Words? What Order?
Writing a novel is about choosing the best words and putting them into the best order. Easy, right? But which words do you choose? And how do you decide when and where to use them? This workshop covers all aspects of prose style: vocabulary, sentence construction, point of view, when to show or tell, how to use dialogue to good effect and much more. This practical workshop will help you to explore how sound, rhythm, words, images and sentence structure can make your storytelling come more alive than you thought possible.

Debi Alper is the author of gritty, funny, contemporary novels with Orion - and a hugely respected tutor and book doctor with the Writers' Workshop.
Breakout Group Work:
In small groups we’ll put some of these ideas into practice, editing samples and discussing ways we can tighten and brighten our writing.