Covid-19 update London-based courses to return this autumn, with safety still our top concern – find out more here.

X

Breakthrough Novel-Writing Course for Writers of Colour

Get the most out of your novel on this exciting free two-week course with expert tuition, a strong peer group, and advice from agents.

COURSE DATES

Jan 10 2022 - Jan 21 2022

Breakthrough Writers' Programme

For 8 writers of colour with low income

Online/Zoom

Take part from wherever you're based

Free

We offer gratis places to the most talented applicants

Overview

This two-week intensive Zoom/online novel-writing course will act as an inspirational catalyst to help exhilarate your writing journey, and is entirely free for eight talented writers of colour with limited financial means. You’ll get expert teaching and intensive feedback on your novel-in-progress from award-winning tutor Jacob Ross and a group of eight talented fellow-writers. Plus, on the final day, a live Zoom session from two top Curtis Brown literary agents who will share their experience and insights on publishing and on how to pitch your novel to the industry with confidence.

This is a course is designed with flexibility in mind. You can take part in workshops and post writing tasks on our online learning platform at times to suit you.

Timings for the three live Zoom sessions will be confirmed significantly in advance check this website for further details, which will be posted very soon.

Tutor

Jacob Ross, Author

Jacob Ross is a novelist, short story writer, editor and anthologist. Ross tutors Narrative Craft internationally. His crime novel The Bone Readers won the inaugural Jhalak Prize in 2017. His literary novel Pynter Bender was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Regional Prize and selected as one of the British Authors’ Club’s top three Best First Novels. Ross’s collected short fiction Tell No-One About This was listed by the 2017 Bocas Literary Prize among the best Caribbean fictional works. His most recent crime novel Black Rain Falling was published in spring 2020. Jacob Ross is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Associate Fiction Editor at Peepal Tree Press.

WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?

Curtis Brown Creative learning portal

Writing Workshops

Led by Jacob Ross

You'll get a dedicated workshop centring on the opening 3,000 words of your novel-in-progress with your tutor and the group, to take place on our online Learn Platform, with feedback notes from your tutor. You'll be offering constructive comment on the other students' work. 4 students will be workshopped each week.

Teaching Sessions

Interactive and practical, with feedback on a writing exercise

On each Monday (time tba), Jacob Ross will lead a live Zoom teaching session and will set a writing exercise. You'll share your work on the Learn platform and will get brief feedback from Jacob on one writing exercise.

One-to-One Tutorial

Talk about your novel in-depth with your tutor

You'll get a 30-minute, one-to-one tutorial with Jacob Ross via Zoom. You'll discuss your synopsis and your intentions for your novel as a whole. Jacob will also have read your 3,000-word opening.

Curtis Brown Creative learning platform forum

Student Forum

The hub of our online courses – find your writing community

We have developed a bespoke learning platform exclusively for our students. Here you can give and receive feedback, and discuss the teaching topics with your fellow students and tutor.

Resources

Comprehensive reference materials which are yours to keep

You’ll get access to additional resources including advice on writing a synopsis and agent letter.

Industry Masterclass

Join a live video chat with a top UK literary agents

Students will take part in a special Zoom video chat with two top UK literary agents. They will discuss what their roles are in a writer's journey and answer your questions about agenting and publishing.

End of course submission

Share your opening with the Curtis Brown and C&W agents

At the end of the course all students will be invited to submit the 3,000 word opening of their novel, plus a synopsis, to be shared with the agent teams at CB and C&W teams. This is not a formal submission to the agency but a chance to give the agents a taste of your work at this stage.

Helping you connect with agents

Send your novel to us when it's ready

When you've finished writing your novel, the Curtis Brown Creative team will help you connect with agents at Curtis Brown and C&W – just email us and we're here to help.

THE BREAKTHROUGH WRITERS’ PROGRAMME

This course is part of the Breakthrough Writers’ Programme, our initiative that offers free opportunities to under-represented writers, funded by the Curtis Brown Literary Agency and its agents.

Guest speakers

This course features an industry session with literary agents from Curtis Brown.

Application Process and Eligibility

Our selective application process means that you will be writing your novel in a peer group of 8 students working at a high level. Many of our former students have found their trusted readers with us – and form strong working friendships with classmates which go on long after the course is over.

This fully funded two-week novel-writing course is open to all writers of colour over the age of 18, who fulfil our low-income eligibility criteria.

Applicants must have one of the following categories of ethnicity: East Asian (Chinese; Japanese); South Asian (Indian; Pakistani; Bangladeshi); Southeast Asian (Vietnamese; Korean; Filipino); any other Asian background; Black African; Black Caribbean; Black Other; Mixed – White and Asian; Mixed – White and Black Caribbean; Mixed – White and Black African; any other mixed background from more than one group; or any other background by which you identify as a person of colour.

Applicants must fulfil our financial criteria:

  • Unmarried and not co-habiting with a partner, with an annual (gross, pre-tax) income of less than £25,000 and personal savings of less than £5,000.
  • Married or co-habiting with a partner, with a total annual (gross pre-tax) household income of less than £35,000 and personal savings (jointly or individually) of less than £5,000.

If you don’t quite fit our financial criteria but are nonetheless financially challenged, then do apply, explaining your circumstances in the form.

Our form asks you to make a statement about your ethnicity, your financial income and the reason you deserve this fully funded opportunity.

Please upload your application via the form at the end of this page. If you encounter any problems during the application process or have any more questions about the course, please email cbccourses@curtisbrown.co.uk for assistance.

Course Schedule

Live teaching sessions will take place on Zoom three times across the course: Mon 10 Jan, Mon 17 Jan and Fri 21 Jan. Times for these sessions to be confirmed (and posted here very soon).

Week 1

Mon 10 Jan - Sun 16 Jan

Monday 10 January (2 hours, time tba)

Introduction and teaching session with Anna Davis and Jacob Ross. Anna and Jacob will welcome the group to the course, explain how the course works and share what students should do to get the most out of the two weeks. Jacob will go on to lead a session on a writing topic and set the first writing task.

Across the week

Student workshops on the Learn Platform x 4

Students to get feedback on their writing exercise on the Learn Platform x 4

Student tutorial with Jacob on Zoom x 4

see more

Week 2

Mon 17 Jan - Fri 21 Jan

Monday 17 January, (1.5 hrs, time tba)

Jacob will lead a live Zoom session on a writing topic and set the group a writing task.

Friday 21 January, (1 hr 45, time tba)

Industry webinar with two leading literary agents from Curtis Brown.

Across the week

Student workshops on the Learn Platform x 4

Students to get feedback on their writing exercise on the Learn Platform x 4

Student tutorial with Jacob on Zoom x 4

see more

Ready to apply?

If you are eligible to join this fully funded course, we welcome your application. Please apply with the first 3,000 words of the novel you’d like to work on during the course, and a synopsis of no more than a page (both need to be in the same document, as you can only upload ONE file in the application form). The CBC team will select 8 students based on the quality of the writing sample provided. The deadline for applications is midnight, end of day Sunday 12 December, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 16 December.

Not quite ready?

Enter your email to receive updates and reminders about this course. We will also subscribe you to our weekly newsletter for writing tips, agent advice and news about our latest events and courses.

  • Contact Details

    Please provide some essential details so we can get in touch with you about your application. We won't share this data.
  • eg. name@domain.com
  • Please include country code if applicable
  • About You and Your Writing

    We'd like to learn a bit about you and your writing. Don’t worry if you haven’t done much writing before, please fill out in as much detail as possible. We won't share this data.
  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • For example, please provide details of any previous writing courses you've taken and any other writing achievements you'd like to tell us about.
  • Accepted file types: pdf, txt, doc, rtf, docx.
    Please upload your synopsis and opening 3,000 words in one document. Only PDF, TXT and DOC files accepted, file size must be less than 8mb
  • The Breakthrough Writers' Programme

  • I am over 18 years of age, unmarried and not co-habiting with a partner, with an annual (gross, pre-tax) income of less than £25,000 [or equivalent] and I do not hold personal savings in excess of £5,000; I am over 18 years of age, married or co-habiting with a partner, with a total annual (gross, pre-tax) household income of less than £35,000 [or equivalent] and personal savings (jointly or individually) of less than £5,000.