Your Novel: How to Get Started | Discoveries Webinar

Discover what makes a compelling opening to a novel and learn tricks to help you stay motivated on your writing journey by attending our free How to Get Started webinar.


Discoveries is a unique writing development initiative, which invites all unpublished women writers aged 18 and up, currently residing in the UK or Ireland and writing in English, to submit their works of adult fiction to the Discoveries Prize. The prize doesn’t require writers to have finished a novel – only to have started one – and it is free to enter. We’re looking for writing that shows real potential, not necessarily polished drafts.

As well as awarding the Discoveries Prize the programme includes free online content to help inspire you to start writing a novel. The first major event for Discoveries 2022 was our free How to Get Started webinar.

If you want to know how to start preparing your submission to Discoveries and find out what makes a great opening to a novel that will to hook the judges you can still watch our special free How to Get Started webinar, which took place on 4 November, 7.00pm-8.30pm. This online event features a panel of Curtis Brown agents, authors and Discoveries judges – find out more and watch the recording below.

You will be able to watch this recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel (Curtis Brown Creative), for a limited time only. THis video will no longer be available after 17 Jan 2022.


This webinar was chaired by bestselling author and founder of the Women’s Prize Kate Mosse.

Kate Mosse is the author of nine novels & short story collections, including the No 1 multimillion selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and No 1 bestselling Gothic fiction including The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she has adapted for Chichester Festival Theatre for 2022. Her latest No 1 bestselling historical adventure series includes The Burning Chambers and The City of Tears.  Her books have been translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries. Non fiction includes the highly-acclaimed An Extra Pair of Hands and she is working on a major book about women’s history, inspired by her 2021 global ‘Woman In History’ campaign. In 2022, she will publish The Black Mountain as part of the Quick Reads Programme and is one of twelve authors commissioned to write a new Miss Marple story. Mosse a Visiting Professor in Creative Writing & Contemporary Literature at the University of Chichester and an Ambassador for Parkinson’s UK.

Natalie Jerome is a literary agent at Curtis Brown. She has previously worked as a Publisher and Acquiring Editor for some of the UK’s most prominent publishing houses including Penguin Random House, Pan Macmillan, Bonnier Books and HarperCollins where she was a commissioner for ten years before making the move across to literary agenting for Aevitas Creative Management, a leading transatlantic independent literary agency. Included in the 2018 publishing trade magazine The Bookseller’s Industry top 100. As one of the few black Publishers in the UK, Natalie has worked to improve diversity within the industry. She is Deputy Chair of Literature Wales and is a founding trustee and board member for Creative Access, a mentoring and graduate trainee scheme for black and minority ethnic candidates looking for paid internships across the media sector. In her first 12 months as an agent she was shortlisted as Literary Agent of the Year at the 2021 British Book Awards.

Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Appointed to the Royal Society of Literature as a Fellow in 2018, her short stories have been published in the US, Africa and the UK. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, was published in 2015, for which she was a recipient of a 2016 Betty Trask Award. Her short story collection, Speak Gigantular, was published in 2016. It was shortlisted for the 2016 inaugural Jhalak Prize and the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. A collection of short stories, Nudibranch, was published in 2019. It was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2020. The story ‘Grace Jones’ won the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2021 she was awarded an MBE For Services To Literature. A novel, Curandera, is forthcoming in 2022.

Abby Parsons is Curtis Brown Creative’s Senior Manager for Courses and Operations. Abby has been editing commercial fiction since 2014, at Hodder & Stoughton, Little, Brown Book Group and, most recently, HQ, HarperCollins, where she worked on bestselling books and exciting debut authors. In 2016 she co-founded Dear Damsels, a publishing platform sharing the words of women, and has loved working closely with new writers to help them find the very best version of their story ever since.

Niloufar Tabatabai is a British-Iranian 28 year old based in London. Despite always aspiring to be a writer, Niloufar only took up writing during lockdown in between training to be a solicitor. She has never taken a creative writing course, but hopes to in the coming months. Niloufar was shortlisted for Discoveries in 2021, the first writing competition she has entered.