Six-month Novel-Writing Course in London with Simon Wroe

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


Sept 13 2018 - March 07 2019

Location


London

Fees


£2,990

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

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.

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.

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.

Christopher Wakling, author

Christopher's six acclaimed novels include What I Did, The Devil's Mask, and On Cape Three Points. Born in 1970, he read English at Oxford, then worked as a farm hand, teacher and lawyer, before turning to writing full-time in 2001. As well as writing fiction, Christopher is a travel writer for The Independent. He has tutored numerous creative-writing courses for Curtis Brown Creative and The Arvon Foundation.

Guest Speakers

Norah Perkins, agent

Norah Perkins


Agent
pike 2

Richard Pike


Agent
sam eades

Sam Eades


Publisher
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Alice Lutyens


Agent
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Kate Hamer


Author
Literary Agent, Cathryn Summerhayes

Cathryn Summerhayes


Agent
Emma-Finn-400x400

Emma Finn


Agent
Katie Greenstreet, Agent

Katie Greenstreet


Agent
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Jonny Geller


Agent

Overview

The Six-Month Novel-Writing Course takes place at our London offices. Costa-prize-shortlisted author and tutor Simon Wroe 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. 

Forty-three 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 Simon Wroe, 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 Simon Wroe, 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 Simon Wroe, 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 Laura Barnett and (a further guest tutor, to be confirmed) - 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 Simon Wroe.
  • 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, Simon Wroe 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 Simon Wroe 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

Thurs 13 Sept
Introduction with Simon Wroe and Anna Davis

Tue 18 Sept
Visiting speaker session - Richard Pike (C+W) with Sam Eades (Trapeze) 

Thurs 20 Sept
Inspiration and Ideas, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Tue 25 Sept
Visiting speaker session - Katie Greenstreet (C+W) and Emma Finn (C+W) with Becky Walsh (John Murray)

Thurs 27 Sept
Plotting and Story, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 4 Oct
Openings, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 11 Oct
Developing Your Protagonist, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 18 Oct
Narrative Point of View, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Half-term break

Tue 30 Oct
Teaching session with special guest tutor Laura Barnett

Weds 31 Oct
Teaching session with special guest tutor Laura Barnett

Thurs 1 Nov
Teaching session with special guest tutor Laura Barnett

Tue 6 Nov
Visiting speaker session - with Alice Lutyens (CB) and Kate Hamer

Thurs 8 Nov
Voice and Tone, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Tues 13 Nov
Visiting speaker session - Cathryn Summerhayes (CB) and an author or publisher

Thurs 15 Nov
Characterisation/ Developing the Supporting Cast, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 22 Nov
Dialogue, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 29 Nov
Writing Scenes, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 6 Dec
Description and Setting, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 13 Dec
Writing from Life, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Christmas break

Thurs 10 Jan
Editing and Rewriting, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Tues 15 Jan
Visiting speaker session - Jonny Geller (CB) with an author or publisher

Thurs 17 Jan
The Synopsis, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Tues 22 Jan
Teaching session with special guest tutor Chris Wakling

Thurs 24 Jan
Teaching session with special guest tutor Chris Wakling

Monday 28 Jan
Teaching session with special guest tutor Chris Wakling

Tues 5 Feb
Letters to Agents session - with two agents from C+W or CB

Thurs 7 Feb
The Synopsis II, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 14 Feb
Endings, with Simon
Writing Workshop

Thurs 26 Feb
Drinks with the Curtis Brown and C+W agents

Thurs 7 March
Conclusions, with Simon 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.

Applications Are Now Closed

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 15th July, and we will respond to applicants by Wednesday 18th July.  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.