Six-Month Online Novel-Writing Course with Suzannah Dunn

Dedicated tuition, hosted on our purpose-built learning platform, with input from our agent team and flexible scheduling so you can take part from anywhere in the world.

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Feb 20 2017 - Aug 07 2017




Suzannah Dunn




Our six-month online novel-writing course offers high-quality teaching, focused on your novel-in-progress. Featuring one-to-one tutorials and writing workshops from an experienced tutor-author, plus videos and notes on key topics from a range of our most popular tutors. Hosted on our brand new, secure, educational platform, it also features two days of live discussion with the Curtis Brown and C&W agent teams and a chance to share your work with the agents at course end. We have designed this course to enable students from across the world - some with very narrow windows for regular study - to take part in a learning experience that is as close as we can make it to our face-to-face London-based courses.


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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Anna Davis

Author and Agent

Lisa O'Donnell


Nikita Lalwani

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Jake Arnott


Christopher Wakling

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly



Author and experienced tutor Suzannah Dunn will give direct feedback to students on their novels-in-progress via weekly online workshops, one-to-one tutorials and writing exercises. The 15 students will be selected from a broader group of applicants on the basis of quality of writing material, as demonstrated in their applications. Each course module will include specially filmed video and teaching notes on an aspect of the novel-writing process from one of our CBC tutor team. Students will access course notes and videos on our new, purpose-built, online learning platform, where they'll also share their work and take part in forum discussions with Suzannah and their peer group.

Our course features live Q&As and advice on pitching with the full Curtis Brown and C&W literary agent teams – something we believe to be unique in the online-learning arena. And the literary agents from both companies will read the openings and one-page synopses from our students at the end of the course.

Our online courses are all about flexibility, and are ideal for those with busy lives or who are unable to travel to London to attend our courses.

Curtis Brown and C&W have a reputation for launching new writers in a competitive publishing environment, and for developing successful writing careers. And in the five years since it was established, Curtis Brown Creative has seen many students gain major publishing deals – including now-well-known authors Jessie Burton, Janet Ellis, Kate HamerLisa Williamson and Nicholas Searle.

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.


All our courses are designed, run and taught entirely by Curtis Brown Creative and its team of author-tutors. Unlike many other creative writing schools, we don't use third party providers to supply our online courses, and we have painstakingly developed our learning platform with our design team exclusively for the use of our students. On this course you'll get, direct from us:

• Participation in weekly writing workshops with Suzannah Dunn and your student peers, taking place in a secure group space, hosted on our exclusive Learn platform. Each student will receive three dedicated workshops on their novel-in-progress across the course.

• Two 30-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Suzannah Dunn, delivered on the phone or by Skype (depending on student’s choice), and scheduled in consultation with you.

• Bi-weekly teaching sessions on key topics. A range of our popular tutors (see Speakers section and schedule below for details) will offer their in-depth insights on a range of subjects crucial to writing novels through specially filmed teaching videos and notes. Suzannah Dunn will set homework tasks on the teaching topics and lead discussions in our dedicated forums.

• A day-long session to get answers to your questions about writing and publishing from the Curtis Brown and C&W literary-agent teams.

• A first-page workshop with Suzannah Dunn, offering direct feedback for all students on their opening pages.

• A day-long opportunity to get feedback from the Curtis Brown and C&W agents on the all-important pitch letter.

• The opportunity to get your 3,000-word opening and synopsis read by the Curtis Brown and C&W book agent teams at the conclusion of the course.

• A secure discussion space to share material and thoughts with your student peer group informally

• Teaching videos, notes and feedback from the course will remain available to participants after course-end


Weekly workshopping of students’ novels

Each week, three students will be asked to submit 3,000-word extracts from their novels-in-progress to a private online discussion space, and will receive comments from the tutor and fellow students (both private one-to-one comments and comments in the group discussion space). 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.

Weekly workshop timetable:

Workshop extracts are submitted to the tutor and group on the first Monday of each week.

By Monday, one week later, students must have read the three extracts and submitted a fully annotated version of each text plus feedback.

Following this, the tutor opens up the group workshop discussion, which takes take place across 48 hours.

At the end of the 48 hours (Wednesday), the tutor closes the group workshop discussion and delivers all one-to-one written feedback to the relevant three students.

Each student will receive three dedicated workshops on their novel-in-progress.

Students will also submit their synopses and first pages for feedback from Suzannah

Bi-weekly teaching sessions

Opening on the first Monday of each fortnight, teaching sessions will cover a range of issues crucial to the writing of novels, such as plotting, characterisation, point-of-view and rewriting.  As the course progresses, new video material and teaching notes from the CBC tutors listed below will become available to the students, and form a library of resources. Suzannah will set homework tasks for each teaching module - writing exercises or topics to prepare for discussions.

Agent advice sessions

In a special day-long session, students are given the opportunity to put questions to the Curtis Brown and C&W agent teams in the discussion space, and to gain advice on how to navigate the choppy waters of the publishing industry.

In a further special day-long session, Curtis Brown and C&W agents will give feedback to the students on their agent-pitch letters and show them how to bypass the dreaded slush pile.

The sharing of material with the agent teams at the end of the course is informal. The agent teams will get a taste of the students' work and an opportunity to express interest in seeing the completed novel at such time as the student is ready to send it to agents formally. Students are not under any obligation to send their material to the CB and C&W agents.

Individual tutorials

Each student will receive two 30-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Suzannah Dunn. These will be conducted over the phone or via Skype, and will each be based on 3,000 words from the novel-in-progress, which Suzannah will read ahead of time. Students will also be asked to highlight for Suzannah any issues they may wish to discuss and put questions to her.



Monday 20 Feb – Sunday 26 Feb
Teaching topic 1: Inspiration and Reading as a Writer (with Chris Wakling)

Mon 27 Feb – Sunday 5 March
Teaching topic 2: Writing from Life (with Nikita Lalwani)
Writing Workshop

Mon 6 March – Sun 12 March
Writing Workshop

Mon 13 March – Sun 19 March
Teaching topic 3: Openings (with Lisa O’Donnell)
Writing Workshop

Mon 20 March – Sun 26 March
Writing Workshop

Mon 27 March – Sun 2 April
Teaching topic 4: Story, Plotting and Planning (with Chris Wakling)
Writing Workshop

Mon 3 April – Sun 9 April
Writing Workshop

Mon 10 April – Mon 16 April
Teaching topic 5: Voice and Narrative Point of view (with Nikita Lalwani)
Writing Workshop

Mon 17 April – Sun 23 April
EASTER break

Mon 24 April – Sun 30 April
Teaching topic 6: Planning and Research (with Jake Arnott)
Writing Workshop

Mon 1 May – Sun 7 May

Mon 8 May – Sun 14 May
Teaching topic 7: Characterisation (with Suzannah Dunn)
Writing Workshop

Mon 15 May – Sun 21 May
Briefing from Anna Davis re Agents Q&A Day
Writing Workshop

Mon 22 May – Sun 28 May
Teaching topic 8: Building Suspense (with Erin Kelly)
Writing Workshop
Briefing re First Page Workshop
Wednesday 25 May – Agents’ Q&A Day

Mon 29 May – Mon 5 June

Tue 6 June – Sun 11 June
Teaching Topic 9: Dialogue (with Suzannah Dunn)
Writing Workshop

Mon 12 June – Sun 18 June
First Page Workshop (with Suzannah)
Briefing from Anna re Letters to Agents Day

Mon 19 June – Sun 25 June
Teaching Topic 10: Description, Tone & Style (Guest Video: Erin Kelly)
Writing Workshop

Mon 26 June – Sun 2 July
Briefing from Anna on The Synopsis (for synopsis workshop in 2 weeks)
Writing Workshop
Wednesday 28 June – Letters to Agents Day

Mon 3 July – Sun 9 July
Teaching topic 11: Endings (Guest Video: Lisa O’Donnell)
Writing workshop

Mon 10 July – Sun 16 July
Synopsis Workshop for 8 students (Guest Video: Suzannah)
Briefing from Anna re preparation of material to be read by the CB and C&W agent teams

Mon 17 July – Sun 23 July
Teaching topic 12: Editing and rewriting (Guest Video: Jake Arnott)
Synopsis Workshop for 7 Students (Suzannah)

Mon 24 July
Farewell and next steps from Anna
Summary and Final Conversations with Suzannah

Mon 7 August
Students to submit 3,000 word opening and one-page synopsis to be read by the CB and C&W agent teams


The course fee of £2,600 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. Successful applicants who have concerns about being able to pay the fee in full at the start of the course should email

We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest students make their own insurance arrangements if required.


Applications for this course will close at midnight (GMT) at the end of Sunday 22 January, after which we will read all material and make our selection of 15 students. We will  respond to all applications by Friday 27 January. Make sure to include both your synopsis and opening extract in a single document. Please email if you have any questions, or if you encounter any problems when applying.

  • Personal Details

  • Please include country code is applicable
  • eg.
  • We won't share this data
  • Application Details

  • No more than 150 words please....
  • State here the details of any previously published work, awards, prizes and other writing achievements
  • Names and contact details of two referees (professional, reputable figures able to provide a character reference on our request. NB they do not need to be able to speak about your ability as a writer)
  • Accepted file types: pdf, txt, doc, rtf, docx.
    Please upload your synopsis and opening chapter in one document. Only PDF, TXT and DOC files accepted, file size must be less than 8mb