Testimonials

Fifty-five of the students who've taken our creative writing courses now have major book deals. Here’s what they, and others, have to say about us.

creative writing course session
Jessie Burton, Author

Jessie Burton

‘Curtis Brown Creative is world-class. I will always be grateful for my place on the course.’ Bestselling and award winning debut novel The Miniaturist published by Picador, July 2014, winner of National Book Awards Overall Book of the Year 2014 among other awards. Second novel The Muse published by Picador, June 2016.

Jane Harper, Author

Jane Harper

‘If it hadn’t been for the CBC course, this book would not have been written, simple as that. It was such a turning point for me, not just in all the fantastic lessons and feedback, but also in motivation and actually realising for the first time that I could finish a novel. I will be singing the praises of this course for the rest of my life, and I’m so grateful for having the chance to be part of it.’
Debut novel The Dry was published by Little, Brown in 2017. The sequel, Force of Nature was published in February 2018.

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Tim Glencross

‘The CBC Novel-Writing course was invaluable. The tutors were brilliant, and it was through Curtis Brown Creative that I found representation at Curtis Brown and now a publishing deal.’
Debut novel Barbarians published by John Murray, May 2014; shortlisted for the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Best First Novel Award 2014, as well as for the Paddy Power Best Political Fiction Book of the Year 2015. His second novel, Hoffer, was published by John Murray in Spring 2017.

 

Kate Hamer, Author

Kate Hamer

‘Workshopping the novel on the CBC course with people who were interested in the same things as me and took the writing process very seriously was invaluable. They would ask questions about characters’ motivations and query anything they weren’t clear about; and having that outside view coming in to what you’d done quite privately until then was just amazing.’
Debut novel The Girl in the Red Coat published by Faber & Faber February 2015, and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Her second novel, The Doll Funeral, was published in February 2017. 

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Janet Ellis

‘The course really helped me to put everything together. Writing into a void is lonely and a little scary- getting reactions (of any sort) really shaped and focused what I was doing. The support of the group and the experience, professionalism and encouragement of the tutors was a fantastic combination and prepared me brilliantly for the next stage.’
Debut novel The Butcher’s Hook published by Two Roads in February 2016. Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016.

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James Hannah

‘Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement; I doubt I’d have secured an agent for my finished novel if I hadn’t attended the Curtis Brown Creative course. More specifically, it seems that the quality of my pitch swung it for me, so tell that to the next crop!’
Debut novel The A to Z of You and Me published by Black Swan, March 2015. Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015.

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SD Sykes

‘My novel just wouldn’t have happened without attending the Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing course. The teaching not only improved my skills as a writer, but also taught me about the business of writing and publishing.’
Debut novel Plague Land and sequel The Butcher Bird published by Hodder & Stoughton, September 2014 and October 2015.

 

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Catherine Chanter

‘Even stepping into the lift at the Curtis Brown offices for the first time gave me a wake-up call. This is a business: there are editors, publicity people, lawyers, agents, media rights… I hoped the Curtis Brown Creative course would empower me to come out as a writer who actually wanted readers. And it did. One hundred per cent.’
Debut novel The Well published by Canongate, March 2015.

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Nicholas Searle

‘The tuition I thought was excellent – a big shout here for Chris Wakling – and focused on writing a real book that might even get published in the real world.’
Debut novel The Good Liar published by Viking, February 2016. Second novel, A Traitor in the Family, published March 2017.

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Alice Clark-Platts

‘I have loved doing this course. I have gained a great deal from it, made some friends and been shored up in confidence as regards my writing.’
Debut novel Bitter Fruits published by Penguin, January 2015. The sequel, The Taken was published 2016.

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Annabelle Thorpe

‘I’m one of those people who never wanted to do a creative writing course.  You can’t teach it, or so I thought. How wrong was I?  Everything I learnt – from the tutorials to the author’s talks to the fourteen amazing writers I shared the course with – made me a different class of writer.  A huge THANK YOU to Curtis Brown Creative.’
Debut novel The People We Were Before published by Quercus, April 2016.

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Lisa Williamson

‘I’ll be forever indebted to Curtis Brown Creative for giving me a much-needed boost of confidence exactly when I needed it most, and for gently pointing out that I might be suited to writing for young adults. Lightbulb moment! I now can’t imagine writing for anyone else.’
Bestselling novel The Art of Being Normal published by David Fickling books, January 2015; shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and nominated for a Carnegie Medal, among other awards.

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Laura Marshall

The teaching and feedback I got on the CBC course from our amazing tutor Erin Kelly, as well as from Anna Davis and my fellow students, enabled me to look at my own writing with a critical eye, and to understand what was wrong with it, and how to make it better. It also gave me the confidence I needed to keep going, as well as an invaluable insight into the publishing industry. I would never have finished my novel, let alone be looking forward to publication in 2017, if I hadn’t done the course.
Debut novel Friend Request published by Little, Brown in July 2017.

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Maria Grace

‘Anna particularly helped me. She really helped me to be objective with the story and structure everything to make the plot more dramatic for the reader. The students who were on the inaugural course with me that summer were an amazing bunch of people. Not only did they really help me with all the workshopping and genuinely constructive feedback, but they made my time with CBC unforgettable.’
Debut novel White Petals published by Firefly Press, June 2015.

 

Hannah McKinnon Author Tips

Hannah Mary McKinnon

‘The CBC course was nothing short of fabulous. My classmates were incredibly talented both in their writing and at critiquing submitted pieces, and I still refer to the materials our brilliant tutor, Chris Wakling, shared. The course had a profound effect on both my writing and confidence, and it confirmed I want to continue making up stories for as long as I can. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.’
Debut novel Time After Time published by Maze Books, June 2016. Second novel The Neighbors was published by Mira Books in March 2018.

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Catherine Bennetto

‘Not only did we get this constant feedback but the weekly tutorials from our fabulous and supportive tutor, Chris Wakling, taught me vast amounts. The course was vital to completing my novel. I’m constantly recommending CBC to friends. Sign up! Get on with it! You won’t regret it one bit.’
Debut novel How Not to Fall in Love, Actually published by Simon & Schuster in January 2017.

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Jenny Quintana

Curtis Brown Creative helped and challenged me in so many ways. From propelling me from my desk to travel to London every week, to gaining the insight of Erin and Anna, to receiving great feedback from my fellow students and meeting professionals from the industry. Not least, it was through the course I found representation at C+W and then a publishing deal.
Debut novel The Missing Girl published by Mantle, Macmillan in January 2018.

Author David Barbaree

David Barbaree

‘There is so much I enjoyed on the course. The quality of instruction, invaluable feedback from my peers, insight into how the mysterious world of publishing works. More than anything, I appreciated the confidence it gave me to keep writing and finish my book. I will always be indebted to CBC and my classmates for this.’
Debut novel Deposed was published by Bonnier Zaffre in May 2017.

Caz Frear, Author

Caz Frear

CBC didn’t just set me on the path to publication, it pretty much steered me all the way, as the support, friendship, constructive advice and cheerleading continues even after you’ve left the boardroom for the last time. The rigour and high standards set by both the tutors and your fellow course-mates really stretches you and makes you question, not so much, “Can I write?” but, “Do I want this enough?”  In my case, the answer to that question was a resounding yes and I owe CBC everything. Caz Frear’s debut Sweet Little Lies won the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition and was published by Bonnier Zaffre in July 2017.

Our other published authors

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Jake Woodhouse
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Jake Woodhouse

 

Debut novel After the Silence published by Penguin in July 2015.

Alex Clare
Alex Clare, Author

Alex Clare

I applied for the Curtis Brown course because I had a story and wanted to make sure I did it justice. Chris Wakling was a great tutor and the the online delivery made it easy to fit around commuting. The best bit? Having shared the experience, a group of us are still in touch, providing amazing support, critique and encouragement, which has helped me get from a work in progress to publication.
Debut novel He’s Gone published by Impress, August 2016.

Clarissa Goenawan
Clarissa Goenawan, Author

Clarissa Goenawan

Rainbirds

‘The course was invaluable in helping me improve my writing skills. Anna and Chris were knowledgeable, generous, and inspiring. My classmates were incredibly supportive. I’m forever thankful for the opportunity to study with CBC.’ Debut novel, Rainbirds  was published by Soho Press in March 2018.

Caroline Beecham
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Caroline Beecham

‘As an agent-based course it gave a valuable insight into the UK publishing industry and plenty of tools to work with to continue developing and practicing the craft. The structure of the on-line course worked really well with a good balance of tutorial, workshopping and homework so that we were able to gain a real depth as well as breadth of knowledge in key areas. A great opportunity to meet other aspiring novelists to share fun and frustrations with too!’ Debut novel Maggie’s Kitchen published by Ebury Press in July 2017.

Jessica Jarlvi
Jessica Jarlvi, Author

Jessica Jarlvi

‘The Curtis Brown Creative course not only helped me to focus on my writing, but it also connected me with writers around the world, some of whom I am still in touch with. To have had the opportunity to both give and receive feedback was an invaluable part of the course.’ Debut novel When I Wake Up was published in September 2017. Second novel What Did I Do? will be published in May 2018.

Lisa Duffy
Lisa Duffy, Author

Lisa Duffy

The Salt House

‘The course breathed new life into the work, as well as into me as a writer, into that space inside of us that can get clogged with doubt and angst and sometimes just needs a little bit of kindness and encouragement to wash it away.’

Debut novel, The Salt House was published by Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster in June 2017. Her second novel, This is Home will be published by Touchstone in Spring 2019.

Michelle Kenney
Michelle Kenney, Author

Michelle Kenney

‘Signing a trilogy deal for Book of Fire was a dream come true, and CBC have been a vital part of my writing journey. I got very lucky with my cohort in Autumn 2015, who turned out to be a very dedicated, supportive group, and the very best writerly friends anyone could hope for. And the Novel Writing for Children Course, led by the inspirational Catherine Johnson, left little room for hiding – trust me, I tried. The workshopping and individual sessions were fantastic for focusing on individual manuscripts and showing up weak areas, while the online format suited me perfectly as I live in Devon with young family. My key take aways were simple: keep your reader close. You can have the most amazing hook, and all the elaborate plotting skills in the world, but if you don’t consider your target audience throughout, you’ll be sailing up a literary creek without a paddle.’ Debut novel, Book of Fire was published by HarperCollins August 2017. The second book in the Book of Fire series is out Summer 2018.

Jo Jakeman
Jo Jakeman, Author

Jo Jakeman

‘Curtis Brown Creative gave me the kick up the backside that I needed. If it hadn’t been for the six month online course and the support of my course mates and tutor I would still be floundering. When you live outside London and can’t afford the time or money to travel up and down the country, courses like this make the impossible possible.’ Debut novel, Sticks and Stones will be published by Harvill Secker in July 2018.

Dawn Goodwin
Dawn Goodwin, Author

Dawn Goodwin

‘If it wasn’t for the online course I did with Curtis Brown Creative, I wouldn’t have finished and polished the manuscript that became my debut novel, The Accident and secured a two-book publishing deal. My tutor, Chris Wakling was instrumental in building my confidence and helping me to fine-tune my writing skills and the fellow writers I met on the course are now lifelong friends. I cannot recommend the course highly enough.’ Debut novel The Accident was published by Aria in October 2017. Her second novel will be published later in 2018.

Rae DelBianco
Rae DelBianco, Author

Rae DelBianco

‘Curtis Brown Creative’s brilliance is its commitment to both students’ artistic goals and publishing goals, which makes it one of a kind in a literary education landscape that often focuses solely on the former while ignoring the latter.  In only six months, I was equipped with a mastery of pitching my novel, querying agents, and navigating a longterm publishing career, in addition to an invaluable writing education and lifelong friendships.  I came to CBC on a whim from the USA, and it was the best career move I ever made.’ Debut novel Rough Animals will be published in June 2018.

Samuel Pollen
Sam Pollen, Author

Samuel Pollen

‘I had a terrific time on the course. In particular, hearing about the practicalities of getting published from agents and editors was invaluable. And I still meet up with my fellow writers five years later!’ Debut novel, The Year I Didn’t Eat will be published by Bonnier/ Yellow Jacket in Spring 2019

Maria Realf
Maria Realf, Author

Maria Realf

‘One of the best things about studying at CBC was meeting other aspiring authors who were so supportive. That’s not to say everything went smoothly: during my time on the course, I attempted to write a psychological crime thriller, despite the fact I really love reading romance novels. After about 20,000 words, I completely ran out of steam and had to make the difficult decision to scrap it and start all over again. It felt like the end of the road back then, but ultimately it was the beginning of something better – and my CBC friends were there to encourage me every step of the way.’ Debut Novel, The One was published by HarperImpulse in March 2018.

Stephanie Wahlstrom
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Stephanie Wahlstrom

‘The tutors really knew their stuff and I was introduced to “plot”, which I thought I knew about but totally didn’t. The course allowed me to get feedback on my work from a wide range of people as well as a realistic view of the publishing industry.’
Debut novel The Accidental Socialite and sequel The Accidental New Yorker published by Piatkus, December 2013 and February 2015.

Jon Teckman
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Jon Teckman

‘I had such massively high expectations of this course when I arrived that it would have been hard to live up to them all, but the way the programme was designed and delivered absolutely met and exceeded my unreasonable aims. It was interesting, informative, challenging and fun – and I loved every minute.’
Debut novel Ordinary Joe published by HarperCollins, July 2015.

Antonia Honeywell
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Antonia Honeywell

‘For me, the Curtis Brown Creative course provided an invaluable opportunity to work with talented, motivated writers in an atmosphere of aspiration and support.’
Debut novel The Ship published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, February 2015.

What kind of writer are you

Testimonials

‘Brilliant way to improve your opening if you are just starting out and need guidance relating to character, point of view and narrative voice. Reasonably priced and offered by a top London literary agency. What more could you ask for?’

Ceri Beynon
Six Week Starting To Write Your Novel Course, Spring 2016

‘A lively, dynamic course which establishes trust and positive expectations. The forum encourages critical evaluation in a safe, yet lively space. Excellent value; felt like a treat to me!’

Janet Lewison
Six Week Starting To Write Your Novel Course, Spring 2016

‘The course was a fantastic experience and has given me the skills, confidence and focus to finish the first draft of my novel. The group workshops and one-to-one workshops were invaluable, as was the interaction with the group , which continues to be a helpful source of support.’

Charlotte Northedge
Three-Month London Novel-Writing Course Autumn 2015

‘The course has helped me enormously in all areas of my writing – my motivation, my confidence and willingness to try new things with my novel have all improved! It was also a fantastic social experience and I have left with a lot of new friends.’

Megan Hodson
Six-Month Novel-Writing London Course Spring 2015

‘When you take part in it you realise you’re getting the best teaching, the best advice, a name you can trust, an insight into the industry and a group of like-minded students. In other words, it is very good value.’

Ian Brooks
Three-Month Online Writing for Children, Spring 2015

‘The tutorials and advice were brilliant as was getting feedback from the group and having the opportunity to Q&A with agents and industry insiders. The knowledge that there will be an opportunity for a submission to be fully considered by an agent a later point is an incredible piece of added on value.’

Shaun Stevenson
Three-Month Online Writing for Children Spring 2015

‘The course gave me a fantastic group of writers to work with, and we are staying in touch and continuing to work together. That is a priceless, ongoing resource. Every part of the course was perfect, from the selection process to the video lessons to the tutorials. I’ve never had the pleasure of being in a group like this, a group completely made up of serious novelists.’

Lorrie Sprecher
Three-Month Online Novel-Writing Course, Autumn 2017

‘I learned a great deal from the course – not only where I need to improve and strengthen my writing, but also my strengths themselves, which has allowed me to feel more confident in my pursuit of a long term career as a writer.’

Lia Middleton
Six Week Write to the End of Your Novel Course, Spring 2018

‘I particularly appreciate the thought put into creating a course that’s affordable to people like me who work part-time, without compromising on the quality of the content. It’s certainly the best £200 a writer can invest in their novel, and I’m sure I’ll take all Anna’s brilliant advice with me to any future novels/ writing projects I undertake.’

Bethan James
Six Week Edit & Pitch Your Novel Course, Spring 2018