Calling aspiring novelists: deadline for applications to the Novel Studio

Novel StudioAs a current tutor at City University’s Novel Studio, I want to remind anyone interested that the deadline for applications is fast approaching.

The Novel Studio offers fifteen selected students the opportunity to work on their novels-in-progress in twice-weekly evening sessions that run over three terms. The course guides participants through the tricky terrain of novel writing, from plotting, planning and research through to character development, pacing, narrative voice and style, revisions and editing. The module I am teaching this term is “The Publishing Industry” and it culminates in an end-of-year reading event to friends of the students involved as well as invited industry guests.

As a tutor, I have been really impressed by the standard of work produced by the group this year, and also their serious level of commitment to the novels they are writing. If you are interested in applying for 2013/14, here’s what you need to do:

Email 2,000 words of your own fiction (short story or novel extract) and a copy of your CV to Emily.Pedder.1@city.ac.uk. Alternatively, you can post your work to the following address:

Emily Pedder
Course Director
The Novel Studio
City University London
Enterprise Office
Northampton Square
London EC1V OHB

The deadline is 30 May 2013. For more information, please see the applications page of the City website.

Good luck!

Circle of Missé 2012 Spring Writing Competition

Circle of Misse house
Image I took of the Circle of Missé house from the garden during my stay in 2011

My good friend the writer Emma Claire Sweeney and I have been asked to be the judges for Circle of Missé’s first ever writing contest. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ll be teaching the course A Writer Progresses at Missé in April, so this represents just another chance to become involved in some of the great work that goes on there.

Here are the details for anyone who is interested:

Win a Week of Mentoring in France to Further Develop Your Fiction or Non-fiction Book

Submit a 2,000-5,000 word excerpt of your novel, memoir, short story collection or nonfiction book-in-progress for a chance to win a free place on one of Circle of Misse’s Spring 2012 ‘A Writer Progresses’ week-long mentored courses where you will be able to work directly with a writer and teacher to further develop your book and take it to the next level. Runners-up receive an invitation to attend one of the two courses at a deeply discounted rate to further develop their books. All entries receive 10% off any writing course offered by Circle of Misse in 2012.

Entry fee: FREE!

Competition closes: 22 January 2012

Full details are on the Circle of Missé website.

Good luck to everyone who decides to give it a go. I’m really looking forward to reading those entries.

“A Writer Progresses” at Circle of Missé

Corner of the gardens at Missé. I took this picture last year during an afternoon wander.

Having had such a wonderful stay at Circle of Missé in 2011, I was delighted to be asked back for a second year. The location itself with its stone farmhouse walls, its garden vines humming with bees, the surrounding sunflower fields, is one that really inspires creativity. To add to this, there’s great food and wine, and Aaron and Wayne’s sense of hospitality. Really, what more could a writer want?

As usual, I’ll be doing a week’s teaching for the first half of my stay there and then spending the following week as the writer in residence, giving me the chance to focus exclusively on my own writing. From 2 to 8 April I’ll be teaching the course A Writer Progresses.

Open to all skill levels, A Writer Progresses is for writers who already have a project underway, either in the form of some completed draft work or just a strong set of ideas about where you hope to be heading. During the week participants spend at Missé, there will be opportunities for one-to-one feedback and group workshopping, writing exercises directly related to the projects individual group members are working on, discussions about the craft of writing, and solitary writing time too.

One real strong point of the Missé experience, in addition to the fact that everyone gets very well looked after while they’re there, is the small class sizes. The maximum numbers allowed for each course is always capped very low – something that guarantees lots of individual attention for everyone in the group.

This being the case, early booking for the week is advisable, particularly because reserving your place before 31 December will allow you to take advantage of the 10% Early Bird Discount.

For more information, I recommend you visit the Circle of Missé website. If you think you might be interested, but still have some questions, do send me a message using the Contact Emily tab above. Alternatively, you can get in touch with Circle of Missé directly, through their Any Questions page.

I hope to see you there in April!

New Creative Writing Course in London

In addition to my on-going teaching work for the Open University and New York University in London, I’ll be leading a series of creative writing workshops at the Bishopsgate Institute from January to March 2012.

These supportive, but challenging, sessions will run on a fortnightly basis. They are suitable for writers of all prose genres – fiction and non-fiction, and they’ll focus on group workshopping, discussion and writing exercises designed to help you build up your practical skills

For more information, please either get in touch with the venue directly or send me a query using the Contact Emily tab above.

This will be my first time teaching at the Bishopsgate Institute and I’m really looking forward to getting to know my new group.

Contributor at NAWE Conference 2011

As a newish member of NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) I was keen to attend their annual conference this year.

In addition to going to several inspiring talks and workshops given by other writers, I also had the chance to read a paper of my own as part of a New York University in London panel made up of the fiction writer Emma Claire Sweeney, the playwright Julia Pascal and myself.

Our subject was “Cross-cultural creative writing for study abroad” and we used our session to share some of the strategies we’ve developed for teaching writing to international students who are here in the UK as part of their university studies.

Having never been to a NAWE conference before, I have to say that for me the whole weekend was a great experience. I really enjoyed getting to meet some of the other conference delegates, and I’d like to thank the writers and writing tutors who attended our talk. I hope you found it useful.