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 and C+W literary agent teams.

CBC photo

Dates


Sep 14 2017 - Mar 8 2018

Location


London

Fees


£2,990

SUMMARY

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.

Tutors

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, was published in April 2017 and was shortlisted for the Everyman Bollinger Wodehouse prize. 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: MeltingThe Dinner, CheetThe 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, The Devil's Paintbrush and, in 2013, The House of Rumour. In 2006, The Long Firm was made into a four-part, BAFTA-nominated series for BBC 2 starring Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Strong. In 2008, He Kills Coppers was made into a three-part series for ITV1, starring Rafe Spall and Kelly Reilly. His latest novel The Fatal Tree was published in February 2017.

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

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Jonny Geller


Agent
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Norah Perkins


Agent
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Susan Armstrong


Agent
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Felicity Blunt


Agent
admin-ajax

Laura Marshall


Author
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Gordon Wise


Agent
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Cathryn Summerhayes


Agent
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Nicci Cloke


Author
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Mary Mount


Publisher
Jess Kidd

Jess Kidd


Author

Overview

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-shortlisted 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-four 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.

Format

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.

ONE-OFF TALKS
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.

TUTORIALS
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.

Schedule

Dates and details

Thurs 14 Sept
Introduction with Simon Wroe and Anna Davis

Tue 19 Sept
Visiting speaker session - Cathryn Summerhayes (CB) with Nicci Cloke (author), hosted by Norah Perkins

Thurs 21 Sept
Inspiration and Ideas, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Tue 26 Sept
Visiting speaker session - Jonny Geller with Mary Mount (Viking), hosted by Norah Perkins

Thurs 28 Sept
Plotting and Story, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 5 Oct
Openings, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 12 Oct
Developing Your Protagonist, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 19 Oct
Narrative Point of View, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Half-term break

Thurs 2 Nov
Guest tutor session: Jake Arnott

Tue 7 Nov
Guest tutor session: Jake Arnott

Thurs 9 Nov
Guest tutor session: Jake Arnott

Tue 14 Nov
Visiting speaker session - Felicity Blunt (CB) with Laura Marshall (author), hosted by Norah Perkins

Thurs 16 Nov
Voice and Tone, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Tue 21 Nov
Visiting speaker session - Susan Armstrong (C+W) with Jess Kidd (author), hosted by Norah Perkins

Thurs 23 Nov
Characterisation/ Developing the Supporting Cast, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 30 Nov
Dialogue, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 7 Dec
Writing Scenes, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Christmas break

Thurs 4 Jan
Description and Setting, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 11 Jan
Writing from Life, with Simon
Writing Workshop 

Tues 16 Jan
Visiting speaker session - Gordon Wise with Simon Block (author), hosted by Norah Perkins

Thurs 18 Jan
Editing and Rewriting, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 25 Jan
Guest tutor session: Suzannah Dunn

Tues 30 Jan
Guest tutor session: Suzannah Dunn

Thurs 1 Feb
Guest tutor session: Suzannah Dunn

Tues 6 Feb
Letters to Agents session - with Anna & Norah Perkins

Thurs 8 Feb
Endings, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 15 Feb
The Synopsis, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 22 Feb
The Synopsis II, with Simon
Writing Workshop

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.

Fee

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.

Apply

Applications for this course are now closed.