Tag: Emma Claire Sweeney

Working with writing: the art of collaboration

by Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

It’s often a challenge to move writing out of the silent room and into the shared space of publication and readership. The Novel Studio’s Working with Writing event was all about helping writers to think about how and who to collaborate with in order to enhance their creative practice and reach more readers.

Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney, both tutors on the City’s Novel Studio course, started the evening off by introducing us to the little-known literary friendships of two sets of famous female authors.

We learned that George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe critiqued and supported each other despite their geographical and spiritual distance; and that Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield had a passionate friendship that far surpassed the vitriol commonly used to summarise their relationship.

Through the continued development of their website Something Rhymed, Emily and Emma have learned of many more female literary friendships, inspiring writers to look to their peers for creative development.

Having heard of how to work with other writers, the author Heidi James and her editor at Bluemoose Books Hetha Duffy took to the stage to give us a masterclass in how to develop a creative and productive editorial relationship.

Hetha and Heidi worked closely together to edit Heidi’s novel, Wounding, which follows one woman’s search for identity, redemption and truth. This was a rare opportunity to see how an unpublished manuscript is developed and polished.

Heidi read compelling extracts from the manuscript and the published novel opening the floor to Hetha for explanations behind her reasons for, and ways of, requesting change. We learned that trusting in a shared vision for the end product, being receptive to criticism, ready to ask questions and try things out were all essential tools in a successful editorial relationship.

The evening ended in an exciting and in-depth panel discussion in which professionals and audience members explored the how, why and wherefore of collaborative writing practice. An inspiring and lively evening was enjoyed by all.

City Writes launch

by Novel Studio alumnus, Arun Das

The inaugural City Writes event was held on 29th March 2016. Along with author of Owl Song at Dawn, Emma Claire Sweeney, four writers, alumni and students from City’s creative writing short courses read out their work. Each writer was chosen through a competition run by creative writing tutor Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone.

First to read her story was Evleen Mann, with a piece developed as part of the Novel Studio course. Titled Elvis and the Bear, Evleen fictionalised a humorous but poignant conversation between Rock ‘n’ Roll star Elvis Presley and a bear. Evleen is working on a novel as part of the Novel Studio programme.

Eileen Church Riley, a 2010 graduate of the Novel Studio read an extract from her novel The Tumbledown. Set in Western Nevada, United States, The Tumbledown follows Screeching Eagle and Delicate Bird, members of the Paiute-Shoshone Native American Indian tribe.

Lesley Jones, presented an extract The Worst Day, from a supernatural YA novel. Lesley is also working on a fantasy adventure novel for 9 to 12 year-olds and is a current student of the Novel Studio.

C. G. Menon, who’s pursuing an MA in Creative Writing at City, University of London read the short story I see you in Triplicate. Menon has been published in two short story anthologies, Fugue Press’ Siren II and Dahlia Publishing’s Love Across A Broken Map. Menon has also won the Bare Fiction short story prize, the Asian Writer prize, The Short Story award and the Winchester Writers Festival short story prize. She’s been shortlisted for a number of others, including the Fish short story award, the Short Fiction Journal prize, the Willesden Herald prize and two Words and Women awards.

Emma Claire Sweeney read extracts from her novel Owl Song at Dawn. Published by Legend Press in 2016, Owl Song at Dawn, her debut novel, was inspired by her sister who has cerebral palsy and autism.

Emma is a Novel Studio tutor. Her forthcoming book, A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf, is a non-fiction book, which she has co-written with her friend and Novel Studio colleague, Emily Midorikawa. With a foreword by Margaret Atwood, the book will come out in June 2017 with Aurum Press in the UK and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the USA.

City Writes will run every term and will return in the summer on Wednesday 12th July to showcase more of City’s short courses creative writing talent. The deadline for submissions for the summer term is Friday 16th June and readers will be joined by Novel Studio alumna Luiza Sauma who will be reading from her novel Flesh and Bone and Water published by Viking in February 2017.

Arun Das spent ten years working as a journalist and television producer. He moved to England to join his wife and is currently working on a novel as part of the Novel Studio programme.

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