Six-Month Novel Writing Course with Simon Wroe

The hugely popular and intensive course for 15 aspiring novelists, featuring direct input from our literary agent team, and based in Curtis Brown's offices.

CBC photo


Feb 06 2017 - Jul 20 2017






Our Six-Month Novel-Writing Course is designed to give aspiring novelists everything they need to make their novels fly. Award winning novelist Simon Wroe will lead weekly evening writing workshops, teaching sessions and one-to-one tutorials. CBC's director Anna Davis will give individual tutorials. Students share their work at course end with the agents from Curtis Brown and C&W.


Simon Wroe, author

Simon Wroe's first novel Chop Chop was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for Desmond Elliott Prize and the winner of a Betty Trask Award. His second novel, Here Comes Trouble, will be published in April 2017. He writes books and arts reviews for The Economist and features for The Guardian.

Anna Davis, Director

Anna is the founder and Director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. She is the author of five novels, published around the world in 20 languages: The DinnerMeltingCheetThe Shoe Queen and The Jewel Box.  She has worked for Curtis Brown for more than a decade as a book agent and has served on the management committee of the Association of Authors' Agents.

Jake Arnott, author

Jake is the author of six highly acclaimed novels. The Long Firm was the bestselling debut novel of 1999, and was followed by He Kills Coppers, Truecrime, Johnny Come Home and The Devil’'s Paintbrush. His latest novel The House of Rumour was published in 2013. In 2006, The Long Firm was made into a four-part, BAFTA-nominated series for BBC 2 and in 2008, He Kills Coppers was made into a three-part series for ITV1.

Suzannah Dunn, author

Suzannah Dunn wrote six critically acclaimed contemporary novels and a short story collection before her first historical novel, The Queen of Subtleties, was published in 2004. It has been followed by five more Tudor novels, the latest of which, Lady of Misrule, was published in May 2015 by Little, Brown.

Guest Speakers


Jonny Geller


Felicity Blunt


Alice Lutyens


Karolina Sutton

image credit Jochen Braun

Julia Rochester


Norah Perkins

Tammy c

Tammy Cohen

luck luck 1

Lucy Luck

mark r 2

Mark Richards


Sarah Savitt



This six-month course features dedicated writing workshops, in-depth work feedback on students' novels-in-progress and a series of talks from the agents at Curtis Brown and C&W with leading publishers and major authors. The course concludes with the full literary-agent teams of Curtis Brown and C&W reading the synopses and openings of the students' novels, after which students will have the opportunity to meet the agents and discuss their works-in-progress at a relaxed drinks evening here in the Curtis Brown offices.

We're incredibly proud of having launched the careers of twenty-six published authors to date, including Jessie Burton, Nicholas Searle, Kate Hamer and Janet Ellis. While we can't guarantee publication or representation, we lavish our expertise on our students. The agents of Curtis Brown and C&W are hungry for new authors and actively looking for clients among our students.

Based in our London offices, classes are all scheduled in the evenings to accommodate participants with full-time jobs and other daytime commitments.

We welcome applications from anyone with talent, passion and a strong idea for a novel. Please submit the opening 3,000 words of the novel you want to work on during the course, plus a one-page synopsis giving us a sense of where your novel is heading.

What does this course give you?

With years of experience and demonstrable success, we've assembled a great package here, and we're confident that we're offering great value-for-money. This course is ideal for aspiring novelists who are serious about writing. To keep the standards as high as possible, we are selective about who we offer places to. The 15 selected students will receive:

• Weekly writing workshops led by Simon, focusing on extracts from students’ work. Each student has 3 workshops centered on his/her own work during the course

• Weekly teaching sessions on key topics with Simon

• Two 25-minute one-to-one tutorials with Simon based on the novel-in-progress

• One 45-minute one-to-one tutorial with Anna Davis (or one of our agent team) close to the end of the course to enable the student to discuss the novel, review course progress and gain advice on next steps

• Five visiting speaker sessions from Curtis Brown and C&W agents, in each case paired with a leading author or publishing professional.

• A teaching session on how to present work to literary agents, with Anna Davis and an agent from Curtis Brown or C&W - including feedback on students' letters to agents

• A teaching session and feedback on how to write a synopsis, with Simon

• Two 'mini courses' from special guest tutors - each guest tutor teaches 3 sessions with the students

• Drinks with the Curtis Brown and C&W agent teams at the end of the course. Students will submit 3,000 words of their novel, plus a synopsis for the agents to read


The workshops run from 7pm–9pm and will initially take place on Monday evenings, and then moving to Thursday evenings following the Easter break. Students will be asked to submit synopses and extracts (up to 3,000 words each time) from their novels-in-progress for discussion at the workshop and will receive written comments from the tutor and fellow students. This provides focused feedback and encourages students to develop their capacity to self-edit, to read as writers, and to receive and provide constructive criticism. The evening sessions will also include teaching on a range of issues crucial to the writing of novels, such as characterisation, point-of-view and the art of rewriting.

Five visiting speaker sessions will be run on Tuesday evenings from 7pm-9pm. These will be one-off talks from Curtis Brown and C&W book agents, partnering with leading writers and publishing professionals, with the opportunity for Q&As. The sessions will include industry advice from the agents and pitching practice for the students. Anna Davis will also partner with one of the agent team to lead a two-hour session on how to write pitch letters to agents.

We believe our students benefit from different teaching voices and perspectives. Our six-month course features two special ‘mini-courses’, each taught by a special guest tutor, who takes the students for three sessions.

Each student will be given two, 25-minute one-to-one tutorials with Simon, scheduled for before the main teaching session on Thursdays. In these, students can discuss their novel-in-progress, and will be asked to consider, ahead of time, the questions and issues they wish to focus on. Simon will read up to 3,000 words of material for each tutorial.

Each student will be given an individual, industry-focused tutorial with Anna Davis or a member of our agent team (duration 45 minutes). The feedback will focus on 6,000 words from the novel and its plotline/synopsis. On request, suggestions will be made as to potential agents to submit work to (inside and outside Curtis Brown and C&W).

Towards the end of the course, students will be asked to submit 3,000 words plus a one-page synopsis to be shared with the full agenting teams of Curtis Brown and C&W. This is not a formal submission to the agency but a chance for students to share work-in-progress with our literary agents. A drinks evening then provides the opportunity for students to meet the agents and their assistants, to talk about their books and get to know the agents in a relaxed and supportive environment, and to consider who at Curtis Brown and C&W they would like to send their novels to when they're ready to be submitted formally.

Student workload

At the start of the course, each student will be given three dates by which they must email extracts (up to 3,000 words for each session) from their novel-in-progress to Simon and fellow students. In addition to receiving written feedback from Simon and the other students, the extracts will be discussed in the following week's workshop. Each student will have their material workshopped three times during the course.

The students also submit a further 3,000 words to Simon one week ahead of their tutorial date – to get the best value from this course, we advise students to choose a different section of material from those being reviewed in the workshops. The 6,000 words sent to Anna for the longer tutorial (towards the end of the course) should include their opening, and should be accompanied by their one-page synopsis.

Each week the students will be given ‘homework’ tasks related to the teaching topic for the next class. These will frequently be written exercises and may involve working with material from the novels-in-progress (for example, rewriting scenes from different perspectives, transforming sections of dialogue, etc). Students will also be asked to prepare and deliver elevator pitches, produce synopses for analysis in class and write sample approach letters to agents for discussion.

Each week the students will be asked to read the workshop submissions of three students and to contribute written feedback as well as to prepare their thoughts for discussion in the next workshop.


Dates and details

All sessions take place from 7pm–9pm at Curtis Brown's offices.

Mon 6 Feb Introduction with Simon Wroe and Anna Davis

Mon 13 Feb Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Inspiration and Ideas, with Simon

Mon 20 Feb Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Plotting and Story, with Simon

Mon 27 Feb  Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Openings, with Simon

Tue 28 Feb Visiting speaker session - Karolina Sutton (CB) with Julia Rochester (author)

Mon 6 March Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Developing Your Protagonist, with Simon

Tue 7 March Visiting speaker session - Lucy Luck (C&W) with Mark Richards (John Murray)

Mon 13 March Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Narrative Point of View, with Simon

Mon 20 March Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Voice and Tone, with Simon

Tue 28 March Visiting speaker session - Jonny Geller (CB) with publisher/author tbc

Thurs 30 March Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Characterisation/ Developing the Supporting Cast, with Simon

Tue 4 April Visiting speaker session - Felicity Blunt (CB) with Tammy Cohen (author)

Thurs 6 April Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Dialogue, with Simon

Easter Break

Thurs 20 April Teaching session: guest tutor Jake Arnott

Tue 25 April Teaching session: guest tutor Jake Arnott

Thurs 27 April Teaching session, guest tutor Jake Arnott

Thurs 4 May Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Writing Scenes, with Simon

Thurs 11 May  Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Description and Setting, with Simon

Thurs 18 May Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Writing from Life, with Simon

Tue 23 May Visiting speaker session - Alice Lutyens (CB) with Sarah Savitt (Virago)

Thurs 25 May Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Editing and Rewriting, with Simon

Bank holiday week

Thurs 8 June Letters to Agents sessions - with Anna & Norah Perkins

Tue 13 June Teaching session: guest tutor Suzannah Dunn

Wed 14 June Teaching session: guest tutor Suzannah Dunn

Thurs 15 June Teaching session: guest tutor Suzannah Dunn

Thurs 22 June Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Endings, with Simon

Thurs 29 June  Writing Workshop & Teaching session: The Synopsis, with Simon

Thurs 6 July Writing Workshop & Teaching session: The Synopsis II, with Simon

Thurs 13 July Drinks with the Curtis Brown and C&W agents

Thurs 20 July Conclusions, with Simon and Anna

* Please note, teaching topics, speakers and dates are subject to change.


The course fee of £2,990 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest that students make their own insurance arrangements if required.



This course has now closed for applications.