We launched in 2011 with our flagship London-based Writing Your Novel courses with the aim of finding talented writers and helping them to get the best out of their writing and to develop their novels to their full potential.
We put together a teaching team of acclaimed authors to work with our students, and we brought in literary agents from Curtis Brown and its sister agency C&W to demystify the publishing industry and empower our students to pitch their novels with confidence.
Our teaching approach was – and still is – practical and positive. We help people to write the story they want to tell rather than trying to push them in a direction that is not their own. If you’re writing a crime novel, we won’t try to make you turn it into literary fiction. And we help writers find their trusted readers – this can be hugely important, and time and again we hear feedback that this is one of the best things writers get from our courses.
Fast forward to over a decade later and we now run lots of courses online as well as in London. We still run our three- and six-month courses for small groups of talented writers who are selected from a much larger group of applicants to work on their novels – and in 2020 we also unveiled an elite course on Writing an Original TV Drama Serial, with input from Curtis Brown’s film and TV agents.
But we also now offer a growing range of short online courses at a lower price point – covering not only novel writing, but also lots of other genres and forms, such as short stories, memoir writing, and writing for children. These shorter courses are designed to help you explore your potential and acquire new writing skills, no matter your current level. There’s no applications process for these courses – you can just enrol for the course of your choice, such as our four-week online Creative Writing for Beginners course, to start your writing journey with us.
I’m proud to say that over the past few years, many of our alumni have gained deals with major publishers. Some of our former students have written international bestsellers, others have won prizes and yet more have gained representation with literary agents and are working to prepare their novels for submission to publishers. And whether they end up getting agents and publishers or not, it’s wonderful to see a great many groups of our students continuing to support each other’s writing years after their courses are over. The act of writing is an end in and of itself.
We are also dedicated to amplifying under-represented voices. In 2020, supported by the Curtis Brown and C&W agencies, we launched the Breakthrough Writers’ Programme, offering creative writing courses, mentoring, and scholarships for writers facing barriers to entry when it comes to taking our courses and/or getting published. All opportunities are free for the writers taking part.
My team and I are passionate about finding and developing talent, and that hasn’t changed one jot from where we began over a decade ago. These days, CBC is better equipped than ever to help talented writers: We now have two former commissioning editors from major publishing houses on our close-knit team, plus a former senior book publicist – adding further layers of industry experience to our unique literary agent-led academy.
Not everyone who comes on one of our courses will end up with an agent and a publisher (no one said this was going to be easy). But we can help you get the best out of your writing. You’re intrinsically alone as a writer, but you don’t have to be lonely.