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01 January 2021

Creative writing opportunities to kick-start 2021

by Katie Smart Events, Writing Tips

The new year provides the perfect excuse to revaluate goals and priorities as we look forward and think about what we want to work on in 2021. For writers that might mean submitting a book to agents, embarking on a dreaded edit or finally dedicating the time needed to put pen to paper.

Whatever your writing goal is this year, we’re here to offer you guidance and industry expertise. We have lots of courses and writing opportunities closing for application and enrolment early this year. So, here’s a handy round-up to help you select the opportunity that is right for you.

For new writers:

Does this sound like you?

  • I’m new to writing and want help getting started
  • I’m interested in getting feedback from peers and want to know more about workshopping
  • I’ve never studied online before and I want to learn virtually
  • I am stuck in a writing rut and struggling with writer’s block – I want to find a supportive environment and feel inspired
  • I want to write creatively but I’m not sure what form I’m interested in

If you’re nodding along then our brand new Creative Writing for Beginners course might be for you! This four-week online course is led by our founder and director Anna Davis and will give you all the tools and confidence you need to get writing. Enrol by Monday 8 February.

For novelists ready to advance:

Does this sound like you?

  • I’m part way through writing a novel and want support from industry experts as I finish my manuscript
  • I want feedback and workshops with a published author
  • I want a structured course with deadlines to help keep me motivated
  • I’d like to interact with a small peer group of likeminded, talented writers
  • I’m getting ready to approach agents but I want to make sure my novel is the best it can possibly be
  • I’ve drafted a novel but I need beta readers and help with my re-write
  • I have taken a few shorter novel-writing courses before and I’m ready to take the next step

If you’re serious about finishing your novel this year then you’ll want to apply for our six-month Writing Your Novel course. This online course includes engagement with authors, agents and a publisher. Apply by Sunday 17 January.

Plus there are two fully funded scholarship places available on this course: one for Black writers; one for writers on low income.

For fun:

Does this sound like you?

  • I’m looking for a low-commitment way to start writing
  • I’m interested in learning more about Curtis Brown Creative
  • I love writing prompts and exercises
  • I want some new inspiration for a big project

Our free resources are perfect for anyone interested in a taste of what we do here at Curtis Brown Creative.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get a three-week Creative Writing Mini-Course led by tutor Simon Wroe! Subscribers will also receive our weekly newsletter full of author interviews, writing tips, agent advice and the latest courses news.

Or, join us for a free twelve-week Writing Workout where you’ll get weekly writing lessons from the CBC team. Every week you’ll get access to a specially created lesson from a member of our team with teaching notes, tips and pointers on topics that we think are useful to writers right now.

Funding for Black writers:

Does this sounds like you?

  • I’m seeking detailed one-to-one feedback from published authors
  • I want to learn more about the publishing industry from agents and editors
  • I’m over 18 and have one of the following categories of ethnicity: Black African; Black Caribbean; Black Other; Mixed – White and Black Caribbean; Mixed – White and Black African; or Other mixed background (to include Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other).

Applications are open to the five-day Breakthrough Novel-Writing Course for Black Writers. This course, led by tutors Jacob Ross and Laura Barnett, has fifteen fully funded places available for talented Black writers. Apply by Sunday 10 January.

Our first-ever round of Breakthrough Mentoring also closes for applications on Sunday 24 January. If you’re looking for nine months of dedicated one-to-one mentoring with a published author as you develop a long-form project, this is for you! We’re excepting applications from those writing in any of the following genres/categories:

  • Novel written for adults
  • Novel written for children (older than 7) or young adults
  • Collection of short stories
  • Memoir
  • Narrative non-fiction

We welcome applications from all Black writers over the age of 18 working on any of the long-form writing genres specified above. Find out more and apply.

Funding for writers with low income:

Does this sound like you?

  • I’m seeking detailed one-to-one feedback from published authors
  • I want to learn more about the publishing industry from agents and editors
  • I’m over 18 and one of the following statements applies to me: 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. Or, 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.

Applications are open to the five-day Breakthrough Novel-Writing Course for Writers with Low Income. This course, led by tutors Jake Arnott and Cathi Unsworth, has fifteen fully funded places available for talented writers on low income. Apply by Sunday 28 March.

We are also welcoming Breakthrough Mentoring applications from writers with low income over the age of 18 working on any of the long-form writing genres specified above. Find out more and apply by Sunday 11 April.

For unpublished women writers:

Does this sound like you?

  • I am part-way through a novel and am starting to think about submitting to agents
  • I have a completed novel and am currently unagented
  • I’m a female writer residing in the UK or Ireland and writing in English

The Women’s Prize Trust, NatWest, Curtis Brown Literary Agency and Curtis Brown Creative Writing School have partnered to create Discoveries, a unique initiative searching for the most talented and original new female writing voices in the UK and Ireland.

The prize doesn’t require writers to have finished a novel – only to have started one – and it is free to enter. The winner will be offered representation by Curtis Brown Literary Agency and a cash prize of £5,000.

The prize will accept novels in any genre of adult fiction and entrants will be required to submit only the first 10,000 words of their novel with a synopsis.

Discoveries is now open for entries. The competition will close at midday on 17 January 2021.

For everyone

If you’re looking to start your writing journey this year, remember to take advantage of our £20 off discount – available for a limited time only – valid on ALL our six-week online creative writing courses (Starting to Write Your Novel , Write to the End of Your Novel, Edit & Pitch Your Novel, Writing a Memoir, Writing Short Stories, Writing Historical Fiction, Writing a Psychological Thriller, Writing a Children’s Picture Book and Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book).

Use code NEWYEAR20 on any of the above courses to receive your £20 discount. Code expires Sun 31 Jan.

Find out more about all of our online creative writing courses open for enrolment and applications here.

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Our Courses


Character Development – The Deep Dive

27 Jan – 24 Feb

Writing a Romance Novel

17 Feb – 29 Mar
Erin Kelly, author

Writing a Psychological Thriller

25 Jan – 10 Mar
S J Parris, author

Writing Historical Fiction

27 Jan – 10 Mar
Catherine Johnson

Writing YA & Children’s Fiction

04 Oct – 17 Jan