Six-month London Course With Laura Barnett

Our six-month novel-writing course will help you get the best out of your novel, with intensive teaching and lively input from our agent team in a dynamic environment.

CBC photo

Dates


Feb 18 2019 - Jul 11 2019

Location


London

Fees


£2990

SUMMARY

Find your writing voice in our highly selective novel-writing course, taking place at the heart of one of the UK's biggest literary agencies. Our expert tutor will help you develop your story and hone your prose, while sessions with literary agents, editors and leading authors will teach you how to pitch to the publishing industry. This is our 'big' London-based course for people who have decided they want to take their writing seriously.

Tutors

Laura Barnett, Author

Laura's first novel, The Versions of Us (2015) was a number-one bestseller, it has been translated into 24 languages, and was shortlisted for Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards. Her second novel, Greatest Hits was published in 2017, with an accompanying soundtrack album by the musician Kathryn Williams. She has taught creative writing for Guardian Masterclasses, delivered a TedX talk on originality in fiction, and worked as a writing mentor for the charity Arts Emergency. She is also a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University's Writing School.

Anna Davis, Director

Anna is the founder and Director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. She is the author of five novels, published around the world in 20 languages: MeltingThe Dinner, CheetThe Shoe Queen and The Jewel Box.  She has worked for Curtis Brown for more than a decade as a book agent and has served on the management committee of the Association of Authors' Agents.

Simon Wroe, author

Simon Wroe's first novel Chop Chop was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for Desmond Elliott Prize and the winner of a Betty Trask Award. His second novel, Here Comes Trouble, was published in April 2017 and was shortlisted for the Everyman Bollinger Wodehouse prize. He writes books and arts reviews for The Economist and features for The Guardian.

Guest Speakers

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Jeffrey Archer


Author
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Jonathan Lloyd


Agent
Norah Perkins, agent

Norah Perkins


Agent

Overview

The Six-Month Novel-Writing Course takes place at our London offices. Sunday Times bestselling author and tutor Laura Barnett will lead weekly writing workshops; provide one-to-one tutorials on how to write a novel, and give teaching sessions on key topics such as how to create memorable characters and how to develop your story. This creative writing course also features five special visiting speaker sessions in which literary agents from Curtis Brown and C+W, paired with leading writers and fiction editors, will share their experience and insights with students and answer their questions. At the end of the course, the Curtis Brown and C+W literary-agent teams will read the openings and synopses of the students' novels, and students get to meet the agents at a drinks evening.

Our selective applications process means that you will be writing a novel in a peer group of 15 students working at a high level. A great many of our former students have found their tribe with us - and continue to meet up with former class-mates who have become trusted readers long after the course is over. 

Over fifty of our former students have now gained book deals with commercial publishers, and a number of our former students have had Sunday Times Top 10 bestsellers, including Jessie Burton - The MiniaturistNicholas Searle - The Good Liar, Kate Hamer - The Girl in the Red Coat, Lisa Williamson - The Art of Being Normal, Laura Marshall - Friend Requestand Jane Harper - The Dry. While we can't guarantee publication or representation, we lavish our expertise on our students. The agents of Curtis Brown and C+W are hungry for new authors and actively looking for clients among our students. 

The course is scheduled for evenings to suit participants with full-time jobs and other daytime commitments.

We welcome applications from anyone with writing talent and a strong novel idea, who wants to write a book.

What does this course give you?

This course is ideal for aspiring novelists who are serious about writing. Our selective application process means that you will be a part of a valuable peer group operating at a high-level. All students will get:

  • Weekly writing workshops led by tutor Laura Barnett, focusing on 3,000-word extracts from students' work. Three of these workshops, across the duration of the course, will be focussed on writing your novel-in-progress (but you attend all workshops). 
  • Two 25-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Laura Barnett, who will read and comment on two further 3,000-word extracts from your novel, and discuss your key concerns, such as how to develop your storyline, how to write good dialogue, etc.
  • One 45-minute, one-to-one tutorial with Anna Davis or Curtis Brown literary agent Norah Perkins. This will be based around a 6,000-word extract of your novel-in-progress, plus your synopsis, and will include both detailed feedback and an industry perspective - this takes place in the later stages of the course.
  • Weekly teaching sessions on key topics with Laura Barnett, to include discussion and writing exercises (some of which may be set for homework).
  • Five visiting speaker sessions (90 minutes each) - evening talks from Curtis Brown and C+W literary agents partnered with major authors and top publishing professionals. The sessions will be hosted by Curtis Brown literary agent Norah Perkins or other members of our literary agent team.
  • Two 'mini courses' from special guest tutors (TBC) - each guest tutor teaches 3 sessions with the students
  • A two-hour workshop on how write pitch letters to agents with Curtis Brown's Norah Perkins and a further member of the Curtis Brown or C+W literary agent team. 
  • Advice on how to write your novel synopsis with individual feedback from Laura Barnett.
  • Drinks with the Curtis Brown and  C+W agent teams at the end of the course. You submit 3,000 words of your novel, plus a synopsis, which will be shared with the agents prior to this meet-up.

Format

WEEKLY TAUGHT WORKSHOPS AND TEACHING SESSIONS
The weekly teaching sessions will take place on Thursday evenings, from 7pm–9pm. In the first hour, Laura Barnett will cover a range of topics on novel writing, such as characterisation and narrative point of view. The second hour is the creative writing workshop, with the discussion focusing on 3 students' work  per week. Students will be asked to send in their material one week ahead of their workshop, and also will receive written comments from the tutor and fellow students (so, students will each week be reading and giving feedback on 3 students' work). 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.

ONE-OFF TALKS
The five visiting speaker sessions and the pitch-letter workshop will take place on Tuesday evenings from 7pm-8.30pm, to include time for Q&As. At some of these visiting speaker sessions students will be given the opportunity to practise pitching their novels to industry professionals.

TUTORIALS
The two 25-minute one-to-one novel writing tutorials with Laura Barnett will take place on Thursday evenings between 6pm and 7pm.

The one-to-one 45-minute tutorial with Anna Davis or Norah Perkins will take place towards the end of the course - appointment times will be agreed with the students.

EXTRACTS TO BE READ BY AGENTS
Towards the end of the course, students will be given a date by which to submit their 3,000 words plus a one-page synopsis to be shared with the full agenting teams at Curtis Brown and C+W. This is not a formal submission to the agency but a chance for students to share work-in-progress with our literary agents ahead of the drinks evening.

Schedule

Dates and details

Mon 18 Feb
Introductions, with Laura and Anna

Tue 19 Feb
Guest speaker session with an agent from CB or C+W alongside an editor or author (TBC)

Mon 25 Feb
Teaching session: Inspiration, Ideas and Research, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Tue 26 Feb
Guest speaker session with Jonathan Lloyd and Jeffrey Archer

Mon 4 March
Teaching session: Plotting and Story, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Thurs 14 March
Teaching session: Openings, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Thurs 21 March
Teaching session: Characterisation: Developing Your Protagonists and Supporting Cast, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Tue 26 March
Guest speaker session with an agent from CB or C+W alongside an editor or author (TBC)

Thurs 28 March
Teaching session: Narrative Point of View, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Tue 2 April
Guest speaker session with an agent from CB or C+W alongside an editor or author (TBC)

Thurs 4 April
Teaching session: Voice and Tone, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Thursday 11 April
Teaching session: Dialogue, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Tue 16 April
Guest speaker session with an agent from CB or C+W alongside an editor or author (TBC)

Thursday 18 April
Teaching session: Detail: drawing the general from the particular, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Easter Break

Mon 29 April
Special guest tutor

Tues 30 April
Special guest tutor

Thurs 2 May
Special guest tutor

Thurs 9 May
Teaching session: Place-writing, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Thurs 16 May
Teaching session: Writing from Life, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Break week

Thurs 30 May
Teaching session: Troubleshooting: Blocks, Confidence, Motivation, with Laura,
Writing Workshop

Thurs 6 June
Teaching session: Endings, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Tue 11 June
Letters to Agents session

Thurs 13 June
Synopsis I, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Thursday 20 June
Synopsis II, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Monday 24 June
Simon Wroe - Guest tutor session

Tues 25 June
Simon Wroe - Guest tutor session

Thurs 27 June
Simon Wroe - Guest tutor session

Thurs 4 July
Teaching session: Editing and Rewriting, with Laura
Writing Workshop

Tues 9 July
Drinks evening with agents at CB and C+W

Thurs 11 July
Conclusions, With Laura and Anna

* Please note, teaching topics, speakers and dates are subject to change.

Fee

The course fee of £2,990 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest that students make their own insurance arrangements if required.

Apply

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 below). The deadline for applications is midnight, end of day Sunday 27th January, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 31st January.  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.

 

  • Personal Details

  • Please include country code is applicable
  • eg. name@domain.com
  • 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 3,000 words in one document. Only PDF, TXT and DOC files accepted, file size must be less than 8mb