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11 June 2020

Celebrating five major publishing deals for our novel-writing scholars

Reading and writing
by Katie Smart From Our Students

Since launching our creative writing courses in 2011, we’ve been passionate about supporting talented writers who we might not have otherwise heard from through fully-funded novel-writing scholarships. Over the past couple of years five of our novel-writing scholars have gone on to get publishing deals and many others are hard at work getting their manuscripts ready to submit to agents.

Here we celebrate the five incredible authors who’ve gone on to get major book deals after attending one of our novel-writing courses on a funded scholarship place …

Louise McCreesh Cracked, Out Now

Louise McCreesh, author

‘When I applied for the CBC scholarship, I had just quit a full-on day job because I could not stop having panic attacks about it and was worrying about my future. I thought I had no chance whatsoever of receiving the scholarship – so when I did, it felt like permission for me to pursue this thing that I had loved for so long.’ – Louise McCreesh

Louise McCreesh was awarded the 2016 HW Fisher Scholarship and her debut Cracked is out now – published by Hodder & Stoughton.

Cracked is a gripping murder mystery about seven patients and one dark secret.When Jennifer Nielsen hears her psychiatrist has been brutally murdered – and that she is implicated – she is forced to revisit a dark phase in her past.

Polly Crosby The Illustrated Child, Coming July 2020

Polly Crosby, author

‘Lisa O’Donnell was the perfect tutor for me – she got me and my novel, and she wasn’t scared to push me to my limits. When I started the course, I had written the very basics of the novel, but what the course did was teach me how to turn it from a collection of ideas into a fully stitched together story.’ – Polly Crosby

Polly Crosby was awarded the Yesterday Scholarship (generously funded by author Felicia Yap) in 2018. Her debut The Illustrated Child will be published by HarperCollins this July.

The Illustrated Child is a heart-wrenching story that follows Romilly as her eccentric father starts to suffer from early onset dementia. Then she realises that the children’s picture books which made him famous contain a hidden treasure hunt – just for her.

Kiare Ladner Nightshift, Coming 2021

Kiare Ladner, author

‘Charlotte Mendelson’s classes are stimulating and inspiring. Being in a workshop situation with exciting writers is a privilege and a chance to learn. The atmosphere is supportive and the agent-author discussions are full of interest and encouragement.’ – Kiare Ladner

Kiare Ladner was our spring 2018 HW Fisher scholar. She is represented by Curtis Brown’s Cathryn Summerhayes and her debut novel Nightshift was snapped up by Picador and will be published next year. 

Nightshift is a gritty urban tale of same-sex obsession set in the strange world of night shift work. When twenty-three-year-old Meggie meets distant and enigmatic Sabine, she recognises in her the person she would like to be.

Kirsty Capes Careless, Coming 2021

‘The main thing I took away from the course was the workshopping element. Writing is such a lonely undertaking, and it can be difficult to know what’s good in your work when you’re working in isolation. Being part of a community of writers, and having guidance from an established author, was extremely valuable to me.’ – Kirsty Capes

Kirsty Capes won the 2017 HW Fisher Scholarship. Her dark and funny feminist debut Careless is set to be published by Orion in 2021.

Careless follows Bess, a girl in foster care who falls pregnant at fifteen; and her friend Eshal whose parents want her to participate in an arranged marriage. The novel is about their friendship, but also about how they must carve out paths for themselves and develop agency in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition.

Elizabeth Lee Cunning Women, Coming 2021

‘I would encourage anyone reading this and wondering whether to apply next time a scholarship becomes available to seize the chance. And if you don’t succeed the first time, as with all aspects of writing, persevere.’ – Elizabeth Lee

Elizabeth Lee won the Marian Keyes Scholarship in 2018. After completing her novel-writing course, Curtis Brown’s Lucy Morris fell in love with her novel Cunning Women which she went on to sell to Windmill.

Cunning Women is set in a 1620 Lancashire fishing community and tells the story of Sarah Haworth, who, like her mother, has a birthmark that reveals she is a witch.

Find out more about our most recent HW Fisher Novel-Writing Scholarship winner Elliot Agyemang in this short interview. He was awarded a fully-funded place on our current Three-Month Online Novel-Writing course taught by Lisa O’Donnell, now in progress.

We’re keen to support emerging talent and promote diversity in our student groups through the provision of scholarship places on our courses. We have launched a brand new Write From Home Scholarship to support another talented writer of limited financial means. One writer will be awarded a funded place on our upcoming Three-Month Online Novel-Writing course taught by Andrew Michael Hurley. 

If you have the desire to write, a great idea and a compelling voice, and if you’re without the financial means to attend a Curtis Brown Creative course, find out more and apply for the Write From Home Scholarship.

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