We’ve been running our flagship creative writing courses from Curtis Brown’s London offices since 2011, and it’s always quite something to look back and take stock of our student successes in recent years.
From discovering new voices and honing talent to guiding authors through practical aspects of the industry, working with serious, hard-working writers is what makes this job special. In the spirit of celebration and, yes, a bit of self-congratulation, here’s just a selection of some of the talent we’ve had the privilege to work with, right here in the heart of central London.
To the next six-years – and beyond…
JESSIE BURTON (Spring 2011)
Jessie took our very first course way back in 2011, which was taught jointly by Anna Davis and Jake Arnott (a course which Jessie described as ‘world class’). Jessie worked on the novel that eventually became the phenomenally successful The Miniaturist, which was sold to Picador in 2013 after a fierce bidding war. A vividly written historical novel set in 17th-century Holland, Jessie’s debut was named Waterstones Book of the Year, helping it to become one of the biggest sellers of 2014. She followed that spectacular success with another bestseller, The Muse, which came out late in 2015, and which firmly cemented Jessie’s place as a significant voice in contemporary British fiction.
KATE HAMER (Autumn 2011)
Kate was one of the chosen 15 on CBC’s second creative writing course in the autumn of 2011. She credits the course, and the intensive workshopping process at the heart of it, with helping her hone the complex and highly praised dual-narrative structure central to her debut The Girl in the Red Coat. Her novel is the unforgettable account of a beloved young daughter, stolen away from a mother without warning. It drew the attention of Curtis Brown agent Alice Lutyens, who was able secure a healthy two-book deal for Kate with Faber. Off the back of an eye-catching poster campaign, Kate’s novel shot up the bestseller list. She followed her debut with 2016’s chilling The Doll Funeral.
TIM GLENCROSS (Autumn 2011)
Alongside Kate was fellow student Tim Glencross, who was working on his superb political satire Barbarians. Tim has said that he was intrigued by the idea of a creative writing school run by an agency in the heart of literary London, and gave up a coveted place on UEA’s Creative Writing MA to join the course at CBC. Karolina Sutton was so impressed by his submission at course-end that she managed to sell his book to John Murray on the basis of a partial manuscript alone, and it was published in 2014. Tim followed the success of Barbarians (which was shortlisted for the Paddy Power Political Book of the Year) with the equally accomplished Hoffer in the spring of 2016.
JANET ELLIS (Spring 2014)
CBC’s (then) team of two – Anna Davis and Rufus Purdy – were rather excited to see an application from beloved Blue Peter presented Janet Ellis drop into their inbox. They were even more excited when she quickly proved to be a seriously talented writer of top-drawer historical fiction. Janet impressed course tutor Erin Kelly early on, and was signed up by Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown. Following a three-way auction, her novel was sold to John Murray imprint Two Roads. A coming-of-age story set in Georgian London, Janet’s debut won a huge amount of praise for its sensual style and her convincing depiction of English 17th-century life. Published in 2016, it was longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize (as well as receiving a more dubious nomination for the Literary Review’s ‘Bad Sex Award’).
LAURA MARSHALL (Autumn 2015)
Laura secured a place on our three-month London based course in autumn 2015, after applying with a killer psych-thriller hook – what if someone you thought was long dead sent you a friend request on Facebook? Laura worked hard to hone her novel and craft with tutor Erin Kelly and her fellow 14 students. She was signed up by CB’s Felicity Blunt and her debut sold to Little, Brown’s imprint Sphere. Friend Request was published in July 2016 to enthusiastic reviews across the board, and we were delighted to see Laura’s debut reach the top of the Kindle charts this summer.
For more of our student success stories, have a look at our testimonials page.
For an in-depth course as part of a group of 15 (in which students are selected on the basis of their submission) with a great tutor and participation from our literary agents, apply for:
Three-Month Novel-Writing Course in London with Charlotte Mendelson (deadline for applications is Sun 8 October).
For a dedicated online course for those writing for young adults or children as part of a group of 15 (in which students are selected on the basis of their submission), with a top children’s author, apply for:
Writing YA and Children’s Fiction with Catherine Johnson (deadline for applications is Sun 28 Jan).
We’re also offering two low-cost ‘taster’ courses, featuring tuition from CBC director Anna Davis:
Starting to Write Your Novel course (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 23 October).
Edit & Pitch Your Novel course (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 16 October).