Six-Month Novel-Writing Course with Simon Wroe
Taking place in our Central London offices, this hugely popular, face-to-face creative writing course for 15 writers features visits from the Curtis Brown literary agents.
For an intensive course with an expert tutor, a peer-group of 15 fellow writers (selective applications process), lively participation from our literary agent team, writing workshops and one-to-one tuition, taking place in evenings in Central London, apply to the Curtis Brown Creative 6-month novel-writing course.
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: Melting, The Dinner, Cheet, The 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. His new novel The Fatal Tree is published on 23 February.
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.
The Six-Month Novel-Writing Course takes place at our London offices – in the heart of one of the UK’s biggest literary agencies. Costa-nominated author and tutor Simon Wroe will lead weekly evening workshops, teaching sessions and one-to-one tutorials. The course also features five special visiting speaker sessions in which literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W, paired with leading writers and top publishers, will talk to the students. At the end of the course, the Curtis Brown and C&W literary-agent teams will read the openings and synopses of the students' novels, and students get to meet the agents and discuss their works-in-progress at a drinks evening.
Thirty-one of the students who've attended our creative writing courses have gained book deals with commercial publishers. The school has celebrated its first Sunday Times number-one bestselling author – Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist and The Muse) – and several other students, including Nicholas Searle with The Good Liar, Kate Hamer with The Girl in the Red Coat and The Doll Funeral, and Lisa Williamson with The Art of Being Normal and All About Mia have featured in the top ten. 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. All workshops and visiting speaker sessions will take place in our boardroom.
The course is scheduled for evenings to suit participants with full-time jobs and other daytime commitments.
We welcome applications from anyone with writing talent and a strong idea for a novel.
What does this course give you?
This course is ideal for aspiring novelists who are serious about writing, and it includes dedicated time and attention from literary agents. We have a selective applications process in order that students will be a part of a valuable peer group operating at a high-level. Students will get:
- Weekly writing workshops led by Simon Wroe, focusing on 3,000-word extracts from students' work. Students participate in all workshops. Each student receives three workshops centred on their novels-in-progress during the course.
- Two 25-minute, one-to-one tutorial based on their novel-in-progress with Simon Wroe, who will read and comment on a 3,000-word extract from a student’s novel. Students can focus this tutorial on their particular concerns and questions on key issues such as how to develop their storyline, how to write good dialogue, etc.
- One 45-minute one-to-one tutorial with Anna Davis or a member of the Curtis Brown or C&W literary-agent team. This will be based around a 6,000-word extract of the student’s novel-in-progress, plus their synopsis, and will include both detailed feedback and an industry perspective - this takes place in the later stages of the course.
- Weekly teaching sessions on key topics with Simon Wroe, to include discussion and writing exercises (some of which may be set for homework).
- Five visiting speaker sessions (two hours each) - evening talks from Curtis Brown and C&W agents partnered with major authors and top publishing professionals. The sessions will be hosted by Curtis Brown literary agent Norah Perkins or Curtis Brown Creative’s Anna Davis or Rufus Purdy.
- Two 'mini courses' from special guest tutors Jake Arnott and Suzannah Dunn - each guest tutor teaches 3 sessions with the students
- A two-hour workshop on how to write pitch letters to agents with Anna Davis and Curtis Brown's Norah Perkins.
- Advice on how to write synopses with individual feedback from Simon Wroe.
- 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, which will be read by the agents prior to this meet-up.
WEEKLY TAUGHT WORKSHOPS AND TEACHING SESSIONS
The weekly teaching sessions will take place on Thursday evenings, from 7pm–9pm. In the first hour, Simon Wroe will cover a range of topics important to novelists, such as characterisation and narrative point of view. The second hour is the writing workshop, with the discussion focusing on 3 students' work per week. Students will be asked to submit synopses and extracts from their novels-in-progress one week ahead of their workshop, and also will receive written comments from the tutor and fellow students (so, students will each week be reading and giving feedback on 3 students' work). 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 five visiting speaker sessions and the pitch-letter workshop will take place on Tuesday evenings from 7pm-9pm, to include time for Q&As. At some of these visiting speaker sessions students will be given the opportunity to practise pitching their novels to industry professionals.
The two 25-minute one-to-one tutorials with Simon Wroe will take place on Thursday evenings between 6pm and 7pm.
The one-to-one 45-minute tutorial with Anna Davis or a member of the Curtis Brown or C&W literary-agent team will take place towards the end of the course - appointment times will be agreed with the students.
EXTRACTS TO BE READ BY AGENTS
Towards the end of the course, students will be given a date by which to submit their 3,000 words plus a one-page synopsis to be shared with the full agenting teams at 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 ahead of the drinks evening.
Dates and details
All sessions take place from 7pm–9pm at Curtis Brown's offices.
Thurs 14 Sept Introduction with Simon Wroe and Anna Davis
Tue 19 Sept Visiting speaker session - Curtis Brown or C&W agent with an author or publisher (TBC)
Thurs 21 Sept Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Inspiration and Ideas, with Simon
Tue 26 Feb Visiting speaker session - Curtis Brown or C&W agent with an author or publisher (TBC)
Thurs 28 Feb Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Plotting and Story, with Simon
Thurs 5 Oct Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Openings, with Simon
Thurs 12 Oct Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Developing Your Protagonist, with Simon
Thurs 19 Oct Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Narrative Point of View, with Simon
Thurs 2 Nov Teaching session: guest tutor Jake Arnott
Tue 7 (or Wed 8, tbc) Nov Teaching session: guest tutor Jake Arnott
Thurs 9 Nov Teaching session, guest tutor Jake Arnott
Tue 14 Nov Visiting speaker session - Curtis Brown or C&W agent with an author or publisher (TBC)
Thurs 16 Nov Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Voice and Tone, with Simon
Tue 21 Nov Visiting speaker session - Curtis Brown or C&W agent with an author or publisher (TBC)
Thurs 23 Nov Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Characterisation/ Developing the Supporting Cast, with Simon
Thurs 30 Nov Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Dialogue, with Simon
Thurs 7 Dec Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Writing Scenes, with Simon
Thurs 14 Dec Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Description and Setting, with Simon
Thurs 4 Jan Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Writing from Life, with Simon
Thurs 11 Jan Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Editing and Rewriting, with Simon
Tues 16 Jan Visiting speaker session - Curtis Brown or C&W agent with an author or publisher (TBC)
Thurs 18 Jan Writing Workshop & Teaching session: Endings, with Simon
Thurs 25 Jan Teaching session: guest tutor Suzannah Dunn
Tues 30 Jan Teaching session: guest tutor Suzannah Dunn
Thurs 1 Feb Teaching session: guest tutor Suzannah Dunn
Tues 6 Fev Letters to Agents sessions - with Anna & Norah Perkins
Thurs 8 Feb Writing Workshop & Teaching session: The Synopsis, with Simon
Half term break
Thurs 22 Feb Writing Workshop & Teaching session: The Synopsis II, with Simon
Thurs 1 March Conclusions, with Simon and Anna
Thurs 8 March Drinks with the Curtis Brown and C&W agents
* 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.
Please apply with the first 3,000 words of your novel, and a synopsis of no more than a page. The deadline for applications is midnight, end of day Sun 11 June, and we will respond to applicants by Friday 16 June. Make sure you include your synopsis and opening in the same document, as you can only upload ONE file as part of the application below. Please apply with a sample of the novel you would like to work on during the course. If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any more questions about the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.