Six-Month Novel-Writing Course with Louise Wener

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


Sep 22 2016 - Mar 21 2017






Our Six-Month Novel-Writing Course is designed to give aspiring novelists everything they need to make their novels fly. Author Louise Wener 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 Conville & Walsh. Applicants of limited financial means may be eligible to apply for The Sarah Quinn Scholarship – a fully funded place, generously provided by a former Curtis Brown Creative student.


Louise Wener, author

Before embarking on a writing career, Louise Wener was the lead singer in Britpop band Sleeper. When they split in 1998, Louise bought a typewriter. She has since published five novels, including Goodnight Steve McQueen and Worldwide Adventures in Love. Her memoir, Just for One Day recounts her awkward 1980s childhood and subsequent rise to fame.

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.

Christopher Wakling, author

Christopher’'s six acclaimed novels include What I Did, The Devil’'s Mask, and On Cape Three Points. Born in 1970, he read English at Oxford, then worked as a farm hand, teacher and lawyer, before turning to writing full-time in 2001. As well as writing fiction, Christopher is a travel writer for The Independent. He has tutored numerous creative-writing courses for Curtis Brown Creative and The Arvon Foundation.

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

The Poetry Society

Naomi Wood


Kate Hamer


Alice Lutyens


Jonathan Lloyd


Sophie Jonathan


Sophie Lambert


Norah Perkins

cs the one

Cathryn Summerhayes

Harriet Bourton pic EDIT

Harriet Bourton



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 Conville & Walsh with leading publishers and major authors. The course concludes with the full literary-agent teams of Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh 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.

At Curtis Brown Creative, we're incredibly proud of having launched the careers of over twenty published authors to date. While we can't guarantee publication or representation, we lavish our expertise on our students. The agents of Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh 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.

Applicants in financial hardship may be eligible to apply for The Sarah Quinn Scholarship – a fully funded place, generously given by a former Curtis Brown Creative student. Find out more here.

We welcome applications from anyone with writing talent 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 explaining where the plot 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 better value-for-money than our rivals' courses or indeed university creative writing courses. This course is ideal for aspiring novelists who are serious about writing. We are selective about who we offer places to in order to keep the standards as high as possible. Students will receive:

• Weekly writing workshops led by Louise, 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 Louise

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

• One 45-minute one-to-one tutorial with Anna Davis 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 Conville & Walsh 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 Conville & Walsh - including feedback on students' letters to agents

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

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

• Drinks with the Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh 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 will take place on Thursday evenings, from 7pm–9pm. 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 Thursday-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, initially on Wednesday evenings from 7pm–9pm, and then on Tuesday evenings from 7pm-9pm following the Christmas break. These will be one-off talks from Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh 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 Norah Perkins (Curtis Brown) 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 Louise, 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. Louise 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 (duration 45 minutes). The feedback will focus on 6,000 words from the novel and its plotline/synopsis. On request, Anna will make suggestions as to potential agents to submit work to (inside and outside Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh).

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 Conville & Walsh. 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 Conville & Walsh 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 Louise and fellow students. In addition to receiving written feedback from Louise and the other students, the extracts will be discussed in the following Thursday’s workshop. Each student will have their material workshopped three times during the course.

The students also submit a further 3,000 words to Louise 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.

Thursday 22 Sept Introduction and Reading as Writers, with Anna Davis and Louise Wener

Thursday 29 Sept Teaching session: Planning and Openings, with Louise

Wednesday 5 Oct Visiting Speaker session: Cathryn Summerhayes (CB) with Naomi Wood (author) hosted by Norah Perkins (CB)

Thursday 6 Oct Teaching session: Inspiration and ideas, with Louise

Wednesday 12 Oct Visiting Speaker session: Kate Hamer (author) with Alice Lutyens (CB) hosted by Rufus Purdy (CBC)

Thursday 13 Oct Teaching session: Story versus Theme, with Louise

Thursday 20 Oct Teaching session: Plotting, texture and suspense – how to keep people reading, with Louise

Break week

Wednesday 2 Nov Visiting Speaker Session: Sophie Lambert with Sophie Jonathan (Picador) hosted by Rufus Purdy (CBC)

Thursday 3 Nov Teaching session: Voice and narrative point of view, with Louise

Wednesday 9 Nov Teaching Session: Special guest tutor Chris Wakling

Thursday 10 Nov Teaching session: Special guest tutor Chris Wakling

Thursday 17 Nov Teaching session: Special guest tutor Chris Wakling

Thursday 24 Nov Teaching session: Developing your protagonist, with Louise

Thursday 1 Dec Teaching session: Developing Minor Characters, with Louise

Thursday 8 Dec Teaching session: Dialogue, with Louise

Thursday 15 Dec Teaching session: Genre and Structure, with Louise

Christmas break

Thursday 5 Jan Teaching session: Description and Tone, with Louise

Thursday 12 Jan Teaching session: Landscape and Scene-Setting, with Louise

Tuesday 17 Jan Visiting Speaker session: Jonny Geller (CB) with Nicholas Searle (author), hosted by Anna Davis

Thursday 19 Jan Teaching session: Special guest tutor Suzannah Dunn

Tuesday 24 Jan Teaching session: Special guest tutor Suzannah Dunn

Thursday 26 Jan Teaching session: Special guest tutor Suzannah Dunn

Thursday 2 Feb Teaching session: Editing and Rewriting, with Louise

Tuesday 7 Feb Visiting Speaker session: Harriet Bourton (Orion) with Jonathan Lloyd (CB) hosted by Norah Perkins

Thursday 9 Feb  Endings, with Louise

Break week

Tuesday 21 Feb Letters to Agents session - Anna, with Norah Perkins (CB).

Thursday 23 Feb Teaching session: The Synopsis, with Louise

Thursday 2 March  Teaching session: The Synopsis II, with Louise


Thursday 16 March Conclusions, with Anna and Louise

Tuesday 21 March Drinks with the Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh 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.

Applicants in financial hardship may be eligible to apply for The Sarah Quinn Scholarship – a fully funded place, generously given by a former Curtis Brown Creative student. Find out more here.



This course has now closed for applications.