Tag: Hannah Begbie (page 1 of 2)

Novel Studio Showcase 2023

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

 

There’s nothing quite like listening to new writing talent and this year’s 2022/23 cohort of Novel Studio students held their own in a fantastic showcase event of their writing, reading their extracts with professional aplomb.

 

The evening began with an overview of the unbelievable list of published alumni including Novel Studio tutor, Kiare Ladner, Deepa Anappara, Hannah Begbie, Harriet Tyce, Elizabeth Chakrabarty, Attiyah Khan, Anna Mazzola and Greg Keen. Next year will also see alumna Lara Haworth’s debut, Monumenta, which will be published in June 2024 and just this week a new announcement about another alumna, Jo Cunningham, whose murder mystery, Death By Numbers, will be out with Constable in August 2024. The Novel Studio is incredibly proud of its alumni and their ongoing successes. You can find out even more about the alumni here.

 

2019 saw the introduction of the Novel Studio scholarship, generously funded by alumna Harriet Tyce. The scholarship provided a fully funded place for one successful applicant to the course from a low-income household. We’re immensely grateful to Harriet for this brilliant scheme which ran for the fourth time this year, and excited that The Book Edit will be continuing the scholarship for a fifth year for the 2023/24 Novel Studio cohort.

 

Alison Halsley

This year was a difficult one emotionally for students and staff. We were all devastated earlier this year when one of our treasured students, Alison Halsley, tragically died. Alison had a darkly comic sense of humour and her lively prose and personality has been missed in class and was missed at the showcase. This year’s showcase anthology is dedicated to her memory. She never failed to make us laugh with her work and we’re very sorry for her loss.

 

In spite of these difficult circumstances, the students managed to remain incredibly focussed and dedicated to their writing as the readings were soon to show.

 

Inspiring them on, we were lucky enough to hear from alumna, Lara Haworth, who joined the event to wish the students well with their ongoing careers, encouraging them to appreciate the nurture and support offered by the Novel Studio during and after the completion of the course. We couldn’t be happier for Lara and we will hold her to the invitation she made to all of the attendees to celebrate at the launch party of her debut in 2024.

Lara Haworth

Filled with Lara’s enthusiasm, the students’ readings kicked off to a fiery start with our first reader, Emily Shamma whose novel The Complicit, moves between London in 2010 and Oxford in the nineties, unravelling a darkly comic tale of love, damage and betrayal. Emily left us reeling from her character’s discovery of his car, burnt and marked by ominous graffiti on the wall behind it. An unnerving but dramatic opening for the talent to come.

 

We left the dodgy North London back street for a tale of two friends in 2000s West England next as author Marc-Anthony Hurr read from his novel, The Millennials. The chat lit up with enthusiasm for Marc-Anthony’s description of childhood friendship and the dizzy descriptions of the onset of epilepsy.

We left love and friendship behind for the acerbic and dangerously anonymous world of social media where a desire for revenge allows an alter ego to take increasing control in the tangible world as Lana Younis read from her novel, Play The Long Game.

 

Lana’s discovery ringing in our ears, we headed to London’s future next, taking a psychic journey into Heidi Ng’s novel, Divination. The idea of a futuristic novel with its roots in the Oracle of Delphi excited us all and we were dazed by our trip into the psychic realm.

Abim Tayo read for us next, sharing an extract from his novel, Dancing in the Snow, set in Lagos. The audience was terrified by the childhood memory of a man shaking a car and smearing it with faeces. It certainly made us all excited to hear what would happen next.

 

Transporting us to the Bucharest Ring Road, we heard from Nico Bechis next as she read from her novel Horse With No Rider, introducing us to casual prostitution and the delights of swearing in Romanian. A haunting and eloquent portrait, we were all hooked.

 

We went from the transactional to the tender mesh of relationships forged in teenage years next as we heard Matthew Triggs read from his novel, ST16. A sentimental kiss in the swirl of light snowfall caught by the soft glow of the street lamps, held us all in unfulfilled longing.

Following the relationship theme, we found ourselves contemplating the possible political complexities of love in Monica Bathiya’s extract from her novel, Middle Ground, next. The subtle shifts of inner thought had us all wondering what would happen to Monica’s characters, whether there was real love between them and even then if it was enough to survive the complexities of post-pandemic Mumbai.

 

Taking us into the glamorous world of the celebrity and business elite next, Gayle Killilea threw us right into the middle of her fast-paced romantic thriller, The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants, as she shared her character Walter’s typical morning routine. The audience chat revealed a rather desperate desire for a night out with Walter, as long as he was paying.

 

We went from fast cars to a more sedate 60th in a pub garden next with Ben O’Donnell as he read from his novel, Sweet Caroline. A wonderfully pitched extract that gave us all Caroline was thinking whilst revealing so much more to the audience, we were left eager to find out what would happen to this seemingly happy family, sensing all was not as it seemed.

 

From family celebration to late night clubbing, we hit the dance floor with Marta Ramos next as she read from her novel, Spaghetti Meatballs. Filled with the energy and rush of youth, we couldn’t get enough of Marta’s extract and were sorry to see her character fall into bed, wishing instead we were speeding through the night on the back of a scooter.

 

Novel Studio Scholarship Winner Sonia Hope read next, taking us from the dance floor to the more sedately curated space of the Library, as she read from her novel, The Archivist. What would happen to these two characters whose first meeting was tinged with the awkwardness of intrigue and desire?

 

Taking us from one archive to another, we went headlong into the digital archive next with our final reader, Charles Williams. He read an extract from his novel, The London Project, giving us a filmic view into the first meeting of two lovers-to-be. Voyeuristic? Perhaps. But he reassured us that it was really ok to watch and listen, afterall, we needed to understand that these characters were all dead.

 

It was an enigmatic and poignant ending to a scintillating night of readings from some extremely talented writers. Thanking the students, the tutors Kiare Ladner and Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, and the Novel Studio Director, Emily Pedder, we also thanked the staff at City, particularly Josie Gleave and Robert Lastman. The audience was also thanked for their great contribution to the night.

 

What a fantastic showcase for the bestselling and prize-winning writers of the future. Go Novel Studio Cohort 2022/23!

And for anyone who wasn’t able to be there you can now watch a recording from the event HERE.

City Writes Springs Into Its Seventh Year!

By Rebekah Latin-Rawstrone

Every term the City Writes event brings a sense of excitement at the prospect of listening to fantastic writers and alumni both new and established. This term was no different and remarkably, this Spring City Writes marked six years of the event. What a celebration of that landmark this event was, really showcasing the excellent writing coming out of the short courses here at City

We began with City Writes veteran and fantasy writer, Adam Zunker. An alumnus of An Approach to Creative Writing and Writers’ Workshop, Adam read an extract from his novel-in-progress, The Perfectation(loosely) based on the experiences of his Viennese grandmother as a refugee. He is pitching it as ‘Amadeus, but with alchemists’ and we were lucky enough to hear a moment of drama as one woman and her daughter, long in hiding, were captured but not by those they were expecting. The audience was left on tenterhooks wondering quite what this moment would bring for the characters. Bring on the rest of the book!

Next we took a completely different turn. Though staying with fiction inspired by real life, Angel Witney, alumna of Novel Writing and Longer Works, took us into the waiting room as her character played ‘a never-ending game of tag with the present moment’, time bending out of proportion and distorting her sense of wellbeing. Her extract ‘The Waiting Room’ was an excruciating but eloquent account of how our minds can alter reality, whetting our appetites for more of this work-in-progress.

Grayson Anderson, Novel Studio graduate, author and poet (and another City Writes alumnus!), read for us next, taking us into the passionate and dangerous world of the extra-marital affair. Fast-paced and filled with deftly observed detail and dialogue, Grayson brought the initial fall out of an affair’s discovery to brilliant and gritty light. We can’t wait to find out more about ‘Wayne’s Night Out’, another extract from a longer piece the audience couldn’t wait to read.

Moving from one kind of love to another, we journeyed down nostalgia lane with  Narrative Non-Fiction alumnus, Bruce O’Brien, next. Bruce’s story ‘The Eels of Wrath’ mixed memory, narrative and poetry to moving effect, giving us an account of an old couple who used to live in the East End of London. There were some definite signs of eyes being wiped in the Zoom windows of our audience. We hope to hear more of these stories soon.

From fiction to elegant non-fiction, we slipped into a different kind of elegy with Philipp Sandmann, another  Narrative Non-Fiction alumnus, who read his article, ‘Germans No Longer Score Penalties and That’s a Problem Or: Why the Only Thing We’ve Got Left is Bloody Great bBread…’. There were so many comments in the chat through this piece, mostly worrying that Germany couldn’t really have similar problems to our own! Philipp joined us from Berlin and is busy working on a book for a UK audience about the modern German soul and the myth of German efficiency. Judging by the City Writes reception, he has a very ready audience waiting to read it.

Aaron Payne, a Writer’s Workshop alumnus, read for us next. Aaron gave us an extract from his novel-in-progress, Our Man in the Clouds, in which a disgruntled meteorologist tries, but fails, to stay out of the global tussle for climate control. His extract took us to a remembered journey to Provence in 2015 when the narrator and his colleague, Siobhan, visited Professor Merryweather to discuss the possibility of setting up a climate school. More about the sexual encounter between Tony and Siobhan than the disastrous visit with the Merryweathers, the extract had us hooked. Another novel to look out for.

After these fantastic competition winners, we had the joy of listening to Hannah Begbie read from the opening of her second, prize-winning novel, Blurred Lines (HarperCollins, 2020), which tackles the film industry’s darker truths and the difficulties of speaking out in a pre MeToo era. We followed Becky as she attempted to impress her boss with a gift of some expensive wine before a trip to Cannes. Once at his house, having always been encouraged just to come on in through the open door, she witnessed something she wished she hadn’t. Thankfully, this time, audience members could go right out and buy the novel to find out what happened next. You can do the same here!

Alumna of the Novel Studio, Hannah was very generous in her answers to questions and particularly eloquent on the importance of writing from the heart. She shared writing tips, emphasised the importance of maintaining your writing allies, and gave a sneaky insight into her next novel.

You can hear the whole City Writes event and listen to the full Q&A with Hannah Begbie, by watching the video of the event HERE.

Don’t forget to look out for details of next term’s City Writes event and competition. Our guest writer next term will be the wonderful, Emma Grae whose debut novel, Be Guid tae yer Mammy (Unbound, 2021), won the Scots Book of the Year 2022.

City Writes Spring 2023 Competition Winners Announced

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

 

 

We’re delighted to announce the winners of this term’s City Writes Competition, who will be joining our fantastic author and alumna, Hannah Begbie, on the virtual stage at 7pm on the 29th March. You can book your tickets here.

This term’s winners will be taking us on a journey from a consultant’s waiting room, through two different explorations of love in London, a moment’s passion in a car, a kidnapping in a fantasy world, all the way through to a contemplation of the myth of German efficiency. There’s football, alcohol, sex, fighting, nostalgia and altered states of consciousness. What’s not to like?

The author biographies of these wonderful winning stories and extracts follow:

Grayson Anderson is a British born Jamaican author and poet. A graduate from City’s Novel Studio, Grayson was shortlisted for the Spread The Word emerging writers programme and long listed for the Book Edit Writers’ Prize. His catalogue of work contains songs, poetry, a science fiction trilogy, and an opinion-based non-fiction book relating to the idiosyncrasies of gender in society.

Grayson Anderson

Hailing from the East End of London, Bruce O’Brien is a fledgling but passionate writer. Having dabbled with minor success, Bruce enrolled on the Narrative Non-Fiction course, where he has found added confidence to pursue his love of writing. Colourful life experience provides a rich backdrop for Bruce’s writing. Despite such a tapestry, his story ‘The Eels of Wrath’ was discovered by digging around his roots, where he found a nostalgic yet topical socio-political love story.

Bruce O’Brien

Aaron Payne is a new writer and alumnus of City University’s Writer’s

Aaron Payne

Workshop. He is writing a novel and a short story collection. Last year Cranked Anvil shortlisted his flash piece, ‘Postcard’ and Flash 500 is considering another, ‘Flowers’. In Aaron’s novel-in-progress, Our Man in the Clouds, the climate is collapsing and global powers tussle for control of the weather. A disgruntled meteorologist tries, but fails, to stay out of it.

Narrative Non-Fiction alumnus, Philipp Sandmann

is a political journalist and commentator working for Germany’s broadcaster RTL. Philipp is based in Berlin and reports on international topics such as the war in Ukraine. Having lived and studied in the UK for six years, Philipp learnt about the unique relationship between Germans and Brits. He is working on a book for a UK audience about the modern German soul and the myth of German efficiency.

Angel Witney, alumna of Novel Writing and Longer Works, is a writer, spoken word poet, actor and dancer based in London. Her writing is inspired by her personal experiences, looking particularly at topics like mental health, sexuality, and relationships. As well as longer-form fiction, Angel writes poetry and performs her pieces at open mic events. She is also an actor with professional credits in TV and film such as ‘In Bruges’, ‘Atonement’ and ‘Poirot’.

Angel Witney

Adam Zunker’s background is in journalism and politics and he’s had many articles published in national newspapers. He lives in London with his wife and daughter, though he is also fighting a losing battle restoring a thatched cottage in Dorset. His historical fantasy, The Perfectation, is (very loosely) based on the experiences of his Viennese grandmother as a refugee. Adam is an alumnus of An Approach to Creative Writing and the Writers’ Workshop.

Adam Zunker

For your chance to hear these exciting emerging authors alongside the award-winning Hannah Begbie, just register for the City Writes Spring 2023 event here. It’s at 7pm on the 29th March and we can’t wait to see you there.

 

City Writes Competition Deadline is midnight tomorrow, 3rd March!

City Writes Spring 2023 Deadline Approaching

City Writes, City’s Showcase for the fantastic creative writing coming from the Short Courses at City is fast approaching. This term’s virtual event on the 29th March features the brilliant author and alumna, Hannah Begbie, whose award-winning novels Mother and Blurred Lines are both published by Harper Collins.

Hannah Begbie

For your chance to read alongside Hannah at this zoom event, you need only send in your best 1,000 words of creative fiction or non-fiction to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by midnight this Friday 3rd March. That’s just one more day to send in your work!
You can find more information on submission details and how to book for the event, here.
We look forward to reading your work. Good luck!

Writing Short Courses Newsletter Spring 2023

The bluebells are here and the days are getting just that bit longer. Here to bring even more joy is the latest news from our wonderful writing short course alumni and tutors.

Alumni News

Novel Studio alumni news: Award-winning author Deepa Anappara will publish Letters to a Writer of Colour later this year. Edited with Taymour Soomro, it’s a collection of essays on fiction, race, and culture. Deepa has also recently joined the MA Creative Writing teaching team at City where she teaches Literary Journalism. There will be a launch for the book at City on March 13th. It’s free but you’ll need to register HERE.

Book cover of Letters to a Writer of Colour

Letters to a Writer of Colour, edited by Deepa Anappara

 

Book cover for The House of Whispers

The House of Whispers, Anna Mazzola’s new novel

Anna Mazzola’s new historical thriller, The House of Whispers, will launch in March 2023. Ian Rankin has described Anna’s work as ‘Historical fiction with a fantastical twist, done with verve and skill’.

Janet Philips has published her debut book, Great Literary Friendships, with Bodleian Library, described by Publisher’s Weekly as a ‘fun spin on literary analysis’.

Rachel Mann has published her short story, The Things We Grew, with Passengers Journal. She has also published a column in the Rumpus called Things I Wish I Could Workshop other than my Novel.

Katy Darby’s Writers’ Workshop and Short Story Writing students continue to shine. Emma Guinness (Grae) has won Scots book of the Year 2022 for her novel Be Guid Tae Yer Mammy. Her second novel, The tongue she speaks15k of which was workshopped on her City course — was published last year with Luath Press. Sue Hann has a publishing deal with Neem Tree Press for a non-fiction book due out in 2025.  Kate Gilby Smith has published two middle-grade children’s books with Hachette since taking the course in 2017, the first was The Astonishing Future of Alex Nobody and the second is Olive Jones and the Memory Thief, which came out in June 2022.

Book cover for OliverJones and the Memory Thief

Olive Jones and the Memory Thief by Kate Gilby Smith

Joe Gallard has won the Ilkley International 8x8x8 playwriting competition. His play, This is Not a Drill, will be performed at the Ilkley Playhouse this April. Tickets available here. Helen Harjak was shortlisted for the 2022 Willesden Herald Short Story Prize. Former Times literary editor Erica Wagner will publish a new book, The Vocal + Fiction Awards Anthology, with Unbound in February 2023. The anthology is a collection of stories chosen from over 13,000 entries submitted to the Vocal+ Fiction Awards. Roly Grant’s 500 word story ‘Dust’ was the Richmond borough winner in Spread the Word’s ‘City of Stories’ anthology, published in June 2022.

Martin Ouvry’s Novel Writing and Longer Works’ alumnus Conor Sneyd has published his debut novel, Future Fish, with Lightning Books. You can read more about Conor’s path to publication on our blog here. Two of Martin’s other students, Angelita Bradney and Kate Vine, have been taken on by top literaryn agents — Catherine Cho at Paper Literary, and Johnson & Alcock, respectively.

2023 looks like being a great year for Peter Forbes’ Narrative Non Fiction alumni. Dee Peyok brought her pitch for a book about Cambodian rock music in the 1960s to the

Author photo of Aniefiok Ekpoudom

Aniefiok Ekpoudom

course back in 2013. The book, Away from Beloved Lover, was published by Granta in January, to rave reviews. More recent alumni include Claire Martin’s (2021) Heirs of Ambition, a history of the Boleyn family before they became famous, which will be published by The History Press; and Aniefiok Ekpoudom’s (2015) Where We Come From: How Grime and Rap gave voice to a generation is due from Faber in August. In other news, Alice Kent has been longlisted for the Observer/Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism 2023.

Opportunities

The Novel Studio, our flagship year-long course for aspiring novelists, has opened for applications. For more details on the course and how to apply follow the link to our home page. To find out more about our extensive list of published alumni, take a look here.

If you want to talk to me in person about the Novel Studio or any other writing short course, I’ll be at the virtual Open Evening on 28 March. Sign up HERE.

City Writes

Our termly writing competition open to all writing short course students, past and present, is seeking submissions for its spring event. This term’s guest alumna will be award-winning author Hannah Begbie, author of two Mother and Blurred Lines, both published by HarperCollins. For your chance to join Hannah on the virtual stage, you need only send in your best 1,000 words of creative fiction or nonfiction (no young children’s fiction or poetry please) by midnight on March 3rd to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk . You can find full submission details here.

Hannah Begbie

Or just come along to hear some fantastic new writing on the night itself, 29th March. It’s all on Zoom and you can register here.

Scholarships

We continue to offer a fully funded place for a young adult (18-25) from an underrepresented background and/or facing financial difficulty on our Writing for Social Impact course. To apply, please contact the tutor Ciaran Thapar explaining why you’d like to attend. This course is now offered monthly to reflect the increased demand.

Please see below for more information on our Novel Studio scholarship.

New Courses

Pete Austin and Anna Tsekouras, aka Anon agency, have hit the ground running on our new Branding 101 course for small businesses, creatives, entrepreneurs or anyone who wants to know more about how to create and foster their own brand. Feedback so far has been very positive with one student describing it as ‘the perfect blend of foundational theory and tangible takeaways.’

Tutor News

Holly Rigby joins the teaching team as Thursday night’s Narrative Non Fiction tutor. A former student on Peter Forbes’ course, she is a passionate advocate for the course and a brilliant writer and teacher in her own right. Holly worked as an English teacher in inner London schools for almost a decade, and is currently working on a book about the UK education system, published by Repeater Books in early 2024. Welcome, Holly!

Writing for Social Impact tutor, author and youth worker Ciaran Thapar has launched his own newsletter, ALL CITY, through Substack. Pitched as the ‘diary of a youth worker, with the pen of an author’, the newsletter will be a weekly dive into the challenges of inner city youth work and education. You can sign up and find out more here.

Anna Wilson is now teaching our Writing the Memoir course. Most of Anna’s books have been for children and teens, but more recently she has turned her hand to writing for adults. Her memoir A Place for Everything – my mother, autism and me has been reviewed as “a seminal work in this area” by the world expert in autism in women, Professor Tony Attwood. Welcome back, Anna!

Paris writing retreat, 12-16 April 2023. Former Novel Studio tutor and award-winning author Dr Emma Claire Sweeney and literary agent Jonathan Ruppin will host five days of mentoring and group writing sessions in a stunning private residence a short walk from the Eiffel Tower. Planning and follow-up sessions on Zoom. Quote CITY10 for 10% discount for bookings made by 13th March 2023.

Paris Writing Retreat

And finally…

We wanted to say a huge thank you to Harriet Tyce. Harriet has funded and supported our Novel Studio scholarship for the past four years. A former barrister and Novel Studio alumna, Harriet is now a Sunday Times best-selling crime novelist. Her three novels, all published by Wildfire, have been runaway successes and her reputation as a leading crime writer is now firmly established. We have been so lucky to have Harriet’s backing for the Novel Studio, not only through the scholarship program — a program she initiated — but also through her ongoing mentoring support for the scholarship recipients and her generous introductions to the annual showcase. We very much hope to keep the scholarship alive — so do watch this space for more on this — but in the meantime, thank you so much, Harriet!

That’s all for this term. Congratulations and thanks to all our wonderful students and tutors.

To find out more about all our creative writing short courses visit our home page HERE.

And for more on all City’s short courses, look HERE.

New Year, New Writing Goals with City Writes – City Writes Competition Open

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

City Writes, the showcase event for new writing coming from City’s Creative Writing Short Courses, is delighted to announce that Hannah Begbie will be its published alumna this term at our City Writes Spring 2023 online event on Wednesday 29th March at 7pm.

 Novel Studio alumna, Hannah Begbie is the author of two award-winning novels, Mother and Blurred Lines, both published by HarperCollins. For your chance to join Hannah on the virtual stage, you need only send in your best 1,000 words of creative fiction or nonfiction (no young children’s fiction or poetry please) by midnight on March 3rd to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk . You can find full submission details here.

Photo of author Hannah Begbie

Novel Studio alumna and City Writes guest author Hannah Begbie

There is no theme, just your most sparkling prose, and the competition is open to all current students and alumni of Creative Writing short courses at City. If your piece is chosen, you will be asked to read your work at our City Writes Spring 2023 event at 7pm on Wednesday 29th March on Zoom. You will be reading alongside the fantastic Hannah to a supportive audience of students, alumni, friends and a few industry members. Don’t miss your chance, submit now!

 For those of you keen to sign up in advance, you can register for the event here.

We can’t wait to read your submissions!

Novel Studio Scholarship Winner 2021

Winner of 2021 Novel Studio Scholarship Announced

by Emily Pedder

The third  Novel Studio scholarship, set up to support a talented writer from a low-income household, has been awarded to Hawa Maua.

Hawa is now part of  The Novel Studio 2021/22, alongside 14 other selected writers. Speaking of Hawa’s application,  Novel Studio course director Emily Pedder said: “This was an outstanding piece of writing. Distinctive and energetic, there was an urgency to the voice which was compelling.”

 

On winning the scholarship, Hawa said: “For a long time, I dreamt of being heard, giving voice to my thoughts, my hopes, my experiences and the things that I observed. I was dreaming of being a writer and thought someone like me could never get a chance. Now I have a chance to make something more concrete.”

Harriet’s new novel out in 2022.

 

Novel Studio alumna and crime writer Harriet Tyce set up the scholarship in 2019 as a way to help talented writers who might not otherwise be able to take up a place on the course. Lola Okolosie, the inaugural recipient of the scholarship, has said the opportunity was “life changing” while last year’s winner, Janice Okoh, said that without the scholarship she would not have been able to take the course.

Harriet was a student on the Novel Studio in 2009/10 and went on to gain a place on the MA Crime Fiction at UEA, where she received a distinction. In 2017 Wildfire pre-empted her debut psychological thriller, Blood Orange. It was subsequently sold in 19 territories worldwide and became a Sunday Time bestseller. Her second novel, The Lies You Told, described by Sophie Hannah as ‘totally addictive’, was published in August 2020 to rave reviews. Her third, It Ends At Midnight, will be published in 2022.

 

The Novel Studio has been running as part of City’s short courses programme since 2004 and has been instrumental in providing a foundation for emerging writers to go on to successful publishing careers. Taught by professional writers and editors, 15 selected students develop their novels over a year. The course has a  strong publication record, with many alumni publishing novels with major publishing houses, including, most recently, Deepa Anappara, Hannah Begbie and Harriet.

 

Congratulations, Hawa! We can’t wait to see your novel develop over the year.

For more on all our writing short courses, including The Novel Studio, visit.

City Novel Studio Agent Competition Winners

By Emily Pedder

We are  delighted to announce the winners of City’s Novel Studio Agent Competition 2020. In a rare opportunity to bypass the slush pile, all applications to the Novel Studio are automatically considered for our literary agent competition, run in conjunction with Christine Green Authors’ Agency.

Competition winner Nana Wereko-Brobby

This year’s winners are Janice Okoh, Freya Sanders and Nana Wereko-Brobby.

Novel Studio tutor Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone said ‘The standard of submissions this year was really high and these three winners are writers with some serious promise. Alongside depth of character and enticing plot, their writing shines with eloquence. This is a group of writers to watch!’

Competition winner Janice Okoh

The Novel Studio is City’s flagship year-long course for aspiring novelists. Established for over a decade, the course has a strong track record of published alumni including bestselling authors Harriet Tyce and Hannah Begbie, and debut novelist Deepa Anappara.

Competition winner Freya Sanders

An early winner of the agent competition, Hannah Begbie has gone on to publish two award-winning novels, Mother and Blurred Lines. Another winner, Louise Beere, was shortlisted for the 2019 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.

Congratulations to Janice, Freya and Nana! We can’t wait to see your writing careers develop over the coming months and years.

Novel Studio Scholarship Winner 2020

Winner of 2020 Novel Studio Scholarship Announced

By Emily Pedder

The second  Novel Studio scholarship, set up to support a talented writer from a low-income household, has been awarded to Janice Okoh.

Janice will now join The Novel Studio 2020/21, alongside 14 other selected writers. Speaking of Janice’s application,  Novel Studio tutor Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone commented: “I was totally gripped by the story that Janice Okoh sent in with her application. Her work is filled with character, pace and a beautiful sense of place. There is an urgency to get across a British Nigerian experience that sings from the page.”

Janice Okoh, winner of Novel Studio Scholarship 2020

On winning the scholarship, Janice said she was “thrilled to be able to  further develop my novel writing skills on such a prestigious course.  I have so many ideas, I can’t wait to focus on one of them and interrogate it for an entire year. Like a lot of people, the effects of the pandemic meant that I lost a substantial part of my planned income so without the scholarship I would not have been able to attend the course. Thank you, Harriet Tyce.”

Novel Studio alumna and crime writer Harriet Tyce set up the scholarship in 2019 as a way to help talented writers who might not otherwise be able to take up a place on the course. Lola Okolosie, the inaugural recipient of the scholarship, has said the opportunity was “life changing”.

The Lies You Told, Harriet Tyce’s second novel

Harriet was a student on the Novel Studio in 2009/10 and went on to gain a place on the MA Crime Fiction at UEA, where she received a distinction. In 2017 Wildfire pre-empted her debut psychological thriller, Blood Orange. It was subsequently sold in 19 territories worldwide and became a Sunday Time bestseller. Her second novel, The Lies You Told, described by Sophie Hannah as ‘totally addictive’, was published in August 2020 to rave reviews.

The Novel Studio has been running as part of City’s short courses programme since 2004 and has been instrumental in providing a foundation for emerging writers to go on to successful publishing careers. Taught by professional writers and editors, 15 selected students develop their novels over a year. The course has a  strong publication record, with many alumni publishing novels with major publishing houses, including, most recently, Deepa Anappara, Hannah Begbie and Harriet.

Congratulations, Janice! We are so looking forward to seeing your novel develop over the year.

For more on all our writing short courses, including The Novel Studio, visit.

Novel Studio alumna and bestselling crime writer Harriet Tyce supports second year of Novel Studio Scholarship

By Emily Pedder

We are delighted to announce a second year of sponsorship for the Novel Studio scholarship, generously supported by Novel Studio alumna and bestselling crime author Harriet Tyce.

Lola Okolosie

The scholarship provides a fully-funded place for one successful applicant to the course from a low-income household and aims to support a student of talent and potential who might not otherwise be able to accept an offer of a place on The Novel Studio.

Last year’s winner, Lola Okolosie, said she was ‘deeply honoured… to receive The Novel Studio Scholarship from City.  It is a huge help; without the financial assistance, I would be unable to embark on a course that I know will develop my skills as a fiction writer.’

Applicants to the scholarship go through the same process as all other applicants but will need to also include a personal statement and provide evidence of financial need. The top three applications will be shortlisted and a final winner chosen by a panel, including the course director, course tutors and Harriet Tyce. For more information on our critieria, please visit the Novel Studio scholarship page.

General applications to the Novel Studio will also open on 1st February 2020. For anyone interested in applying, please see our submissions process here.

It’s been a phenomenal start to the year for graduates of the Novel Studio. Scholarship sponsor Harriet Tyce published her debut crime novel Blood Orange in 2019 to critical acclaim, with The Observer calling it ‘Complex and menacing…a very impressive debut.’

Blood Orange was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader’s Award and selected for Richard and Judy’s bookclub choice in December 2019. Her second novel, Lies You Told – think Motherland meets noir – is due out in July 2020.

Kiare Ladner

Kiare Ladner, also a Novel Studio alumna, will publish her debut novel, Nightshift, in July 2020 with Picador. Associate publisher Ravi Mirchandani described the novel as “an immensely exciting debut.”

Kiare’s short stories have been published in anthologies, journals, commissioned for radio and shortlisted in competitions, including the BBC National Short Story Award 2018. She won funding from David Higham towards an MA (Prose Writing) at the University of East Anglia, and then received further funding for a PhD (Creative Writing) at Aberystwyth University. She was given Curtis Brown’s HW Fisher Scholarship in 2018.

Kiare recently joined The Novel Studio teaching team, bringing a unique blend of experience as a student of the course and as a published writer of serious talent.

Deepa Anappara

Another Novel Studio alumna, Deepa Anappara, will also publish this year. Her debut novel, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, has won the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award, and the Bridport/Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for a First Novel.  It is now being translated into 17 languages.

Deepa’s short fiction has won the Dastaan Award, the Asian Writer Short Story Prize, the second prize in the Bristol Short Story awards, the third prize in the Asham awards, and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where she is currently studying for a Creative-Critical Writing PhD on a CHASE doctoral fellowship.

Last but not least, Novel Studio alumna Hannah Begbie will publish her second novel, Blurred Lines, in June 2020. Hannah developed her debut novel, Mother, on the Novel Studio and won that year’s prize for new writing.

Hannah Begbie

Published by HarperCollins in 2018, Mother went on to win the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award for new writing and was made Book of the Month on Mumsnet and a pick for Fern Britton’s inaugural Book Club for Tesco. Mother has since been optioned by the BAFTA-winning Clerkenwell Films for adaptation into a television drama.

Ready to join them? Find out more about our The Novel Studio Submissions process. Applications open on 1st February 2020.

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