Tag: literary (page 1 of 5)

City Writes Spring 2024 Competition Open for Submissions

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

 

City Writes, the showcase event for all the wonderful writing coming from our Creative Writing Short Courses at City, is only weeks away. This term’s City Writes is Wednesday 27th March at 7pm and we’re delighted to have two Novel Studio alumni, Laurence Kershook and Katharine Light, as our headline double act.

For your chance to join Laurence and Katharine and read your work on the online stage, the City Writes Competition is open for submissions and you need only send your best 1,000 words of creative writing (fiction or non-fiction but no poetry, drama or children’s fiction) to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by midnight on the 1st March 2024 along with details of your current or previous Creative Writing short course. Full submission details can be found here.

The Broygus by Laurence Kershook came out in March 2022 and is an evocative exploration of the history of a Jewish East End family not to be missed. Katharine Light’s Like Me came out in November 2023. Her novel turns an adult school reunion into a possible rekindling of teenage romance. You can find out more by reading fantastic blog articles for Katharine and Laurence – simply click on their names. This will be a fantastic night full of tantalising tales and excellent writing advice.

Book your ticket here and send us your work. We look forward to your submissions!

City Writes Autumn 2023 Open for Submissions

City Writes Autumn Deadline 10 November 2023

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

With a new academic year comes more fantastic writing from the short courses at City with our showcase event, City Writes, this term on Wednesday 13th December at 7pm on Zoom. We are delighted to announce that our published author this time is the brilliant writer and tutor, Caroline Green. Not only does Caroline write fiction for young people and adults, she is also the much valued and acclaimed teacher of the Crime and Thriller Writing short course and Crime and Thriller Writing Summer School here at City. From YA, through psychological thriller, to supernatural detective fiction, Caroline Green is an inspirational powerhouse. Register here to save your spot for the night.

Crime writer and City Writes Autumn 2023 guest, Caroline Green

If you would like to read your work in front of a supportive audience and share the virtual stage with Caroline on the 13th December, all you need to do is submit your best 1,000 words of fiction or creative non-fiction (we accept YA but sadly NOT poetry, drama or children’s fiction) to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by midnight on Friday 17th November. Please check the full submission details here.

 

Don’t forget to sign up for the event on the 13th December here.

 

We can’t wait to read your submissions! Good luck.

Top Ten Tips for Writing Crime Fiction

By Caroline Green

Crime fiction is booming right now. If you have ever wondered if you could write for this thriving, thrilling genre, here are ten things you should know:

  1. Understand who you are writing for. Read widely within the genre and decide what type of crime fiction you love to read. (Frankly, if you don’t get excited about reading it, why do you want to write it?)
  2. But after you’ve read all those lovely books, don’t try and second guess the market. No one saw the likes of Girl On The Train. The most important thing is to know the genre but write what you want to write.
  3. Watch quality drama as well as reading books. Programmes such as Happy Valley or Line of Duty can teach budding crime writers a lot, despite being delivered via a different medium.
  4. Aim for living, breathing, characters, not cardboard cut-outs. If you are writing another alcoholic PI or police investigator make sure they are so well-rounded they could step right off the page. What is their back story? What made them who they are?
  5. Don’t be afraid to delve into your dark side. Your own imagination is more powerful – and has more twists – than all the CGI in the world. Tap into it and never shy away from those big, bold ideas that make you think, ‘Dare I…?’.
  6. The best twists don’t come hurtling out of nowhere. The really satisfying ones make such perfect sense, you can’t believe you didn’t see them coming.
  7. Remember that conflict is the engine of story-telling. Try to weave some form of conflict into every single scene, every conversation, every plot line.
  8. Think about the ‘why-dunnit’ and not just the ‘who’. The reason psychological thrillers have taken off so much – and helped cause that boom in sales – is that the psychology behind dark deeds makes for a gripping read.
  9. Vary your pace. Sometimes readers need space to breathe, and others they need to be sent hurtling towards the thrilling climax of your story.
  10. Let your setting do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to creating atmosphere. A creepy atmospheric setting can really help rachet up tension.

 

Caroline Green writes best-selling thrillers as Cass Green and teaches City’s Crime and Thriller Writing Short Course.

Book now for the autumn term, starting 3rd October 2023.

Novel Studio 2022/3 Literary Agent Competition Winners Announced

We are delighted to announce the winners of 2022/3’s Novel Studio Literary Agent Competition are Sonia Hope, Marc-Anthony Hurr and Charles Williams.

The competition is a key feature of City’s flagship short course the Novel Studio, which offers a select group of 15 aspiring novelists the dedicated time and support to hone their craft. The competition is a rare opportunity to bypass the slush pile of manuscript submissions to literary agents, and is run this year in  conjunction with Lucy Luck, literary agent at C&W Agency.

Sonia Hope’s stories have appeared in magazines, including Ambit and Ellipsis Zine, and in anthologies: Best British Short Stories 2020, and The Untangling: Jerwood/Arvon Anthology Volume Nine. She was a Jerwood/Arvon mentee (fiction) for 2019/20 and shortlisted for The Guardian 4th Estate Prize 2019. In 2022 she was the recipient of the Novel Studio scholarship. Sonia is an Art Librarian working on her first novel, The Archivist.

Born in New Zealand to a British father and French mother, Marc-Anthony Hurr has dedicated his professional career to assembling from scratch a large international financial services startup in white knuckle fashion. He was shortlisted in December 2022 by Liar’s League, and in May 2023 won their Heroes & Villains competition. Marc is developing his debut novel, The Millennials.

Charles Williams has been a professional writer for twenty years, covering every topic under the sun, from policing and international aid to body image and mental health. He’s published obituaries in The Times, written and directed a play about world mythology at the Edinburgh Fringe, and contributed a story to a Doctor Who audiobook. He lives in south London.

Emily Pedder, Course Director of the Novel Studio said: “The three winners are all writers with strong, distinctive voices and we’re incredibly excited to see how their writing careers progress from here.”

Alumna Hannah Begbie, an early winner of the agent competition, published award-winning novels Mother and Blurred Lines following her graduation, and fellow winner Louise Beere was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.

The Novel Studio was established over a decade ago and has a very strong track record of published alumni. Recent bestselling and award-winning novels include Deepa Anappara’s Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Anna Mazzola’s  The Unseeing, The Story Keeper, The Clockwork Girl,  and The House of Whispers, and Harriet Tyce’s Blood Orange, The Lies You Told and It Ends At Midnight.

Sonia Hope

Marc-Anthony Hurr

Charles Williams

 

City Writes Competition Deadline is midnight this Friday 9th June

Don’t forget to submit your best 1,000 words for the City Writes Competition this term. The City Writes Summer 2023 event will host the fantastic prize-winning author and journalist, Emma Grae. For your chance to join her on the virtual stage on the 5th July 2023 on Zoom at 7pm all you need to do is send in your most gripping 1,000 words of creative fiction or non-fiction (no poetry, drama or children’s fiction – though we do accept YA) along with details of your City Creative Writing Short Course to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk You can find full submission and event details hereThe deadline for submissions is midnight on Friday 9th June. That’s this Friday!

Emma Grae is a Scottish author and journalist from Glasgow. She is a passionate advocate of the Scots language and breaking the stigma around mental illness. She has published fiction and poetry in the UK and Ireland since 2014 in journals including The Honest Ulsterman, From Glasgow to Saturn and The Open Mouse. Her debut novel, Be Guid tae yer Mammy, was published by Unbound in August 2021 and was awarded the Scots Book of the Year at the Scots Language Awards 2022. Her second novel, The Tongue She Speaks was published by Luath Press in October 2022. As a journalist, she writes under her birth surname, Guinness, and has bylines in a number of publications including Cosmopolitanthe Huffington Post and the Metro.

City Writes guest, author Emma Grae

Enter the competition and you could be reading alongside Emma on the 5th July! If you’d rather just listen, do register for the event now.

We look forward to reading your work!

Canongate buy Novel Studio alumna Lara Haworth’s debut novel Monumenta

Lara Haworth

We are beyond excited to announce that Novel Studio alumna Lara Haworth has sold her debut novel, Monumenta, to Canongate. World rights were acquired from Lara’s agent, Jo Bell, at Bell Lomax Moreton and the book will be published in June 2024.

Lara is a writer, filmmaker and political researcher who specialises in the UK’s move to become carbon zero by 2050. An extract from Monumenta that she turned into a short story won a Bridport Prize, and her poem ‘The Thames Barrier’ was awarded a prize in the Cafe Writers Poetry Competition. Lara was an exceptionally talented member of the Novel Studio 2018/19 and we could not be more delighted with her publication success. Watch this space for more about the book and Lara’s development as a novelist.

For anyone interested in finding out more about the course Lara took at City, The Novel Studio is now open to applications with a deadline of 30 May 2023.

For all our writing short courses visit HERE.

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!

Growth Spurt: Why It’s Never Too Late to Start Learning

Learning something new doesn’t have to stop when you leave school, or even university. Whether you choose a completely new path or up skill within your chosen field, more and more people are discovering the benefits – and joys – of lifelong learning.

Read on for the impact a City Short Course has had on these students’ lives…

Nathaniel Ashley took City’s Short Story Writing course, led by Katy Darby. As he puts it ‘I had tried numerous times to write a novel, and had often found myself developing ideas for sequels in my head long before I got anywhere near finishing the book. The short story course gave me the opportunity to create a finished piece of work, and gave me a better sense of story structure.’

‘Katy gave us exercises that really helped us experiment with a variety of different formats, all the while building up the skills that would help write a completed short story. It was also lovely to meet a group of like-minded people, and get more comfortable giving and receiving feedback.

‘The course made me much more confident showing my work to other people. For instance, I submitted an extract from my short story to the City Writes competition, and was lucky enough to win. This was the first time I ever read my creative writing to an audience, and it gave me

Author photo of Nathaniel Ashley

Nathaniel Ashley

a huge boost.’

Nathaniel thinks these kind of courses are really important in a writer’s evolution. ‘They’re so useful… Not only do they improve your writing skills, but they also broaden your understanding of the wider publishing industry and how to build a career in it.’ His advice to others starting out on their writing journeys? ‘Don’t be afraid to show others your work. It will only make you a better writer.’

Nathaniel works as a freelance journalist and can be found on twitter @NateAshley10

David Thornton took City’s Immigration and Asylum Law short course with Nasreen Choudhury. He was attracted to the course as he already worked in this field and ‘wanted a broader knowledge than I could acquire in my work. I also wanted to be able to explain to others.

Author photo of David Thornton

David Thornton

‘The course gave us the opportunity to ask questions as we went along. The tutor took time to answer our questions…My knowledge and understanding of this topic was greatly developed with instruction on how to self-learn in this field in future.’

David says the course has had a very positive impact on his life: ‘I am much happier and motivated at work and have received praise for my knowledge and diligence recently. I learned what I don’t want to do career-wise and was set on a future quest for knowledge by my tutor who sign posted me to my next steps.’

Abimbola Fashola was a student on City’s Writing for Children short course in 2020 (then taught by Sophia Bennett, now by Bryony Pearce). ‘I was attracted to this course because it was in the evening, which worked for me as I am working full time,’ says Abimbola. ‘I also liked that it was a short course and the price was affordable.’

‘The course was incredibly helpful as it taught me the importance of things like “Voice” and “Showing and Telling”. We also did peer feedback which was incredibly useful.’

Author photo of Abimbola Fashola

Abimbola Fashola

The course had a big impact on Abimbola’s writing. ‘It gave me the confidence to start my manuscript and I worked on the manuscript whilst on the course.’ Since leaving the course she has been chosen as one of the seven mentees on 2021/2022 Megaphone Writer Development Scheme and was commended for the 2022 FAB Prize. Most recently signed Abimbola has signed with Ash Literary agency and is currently working on her first book. As Abimbola puts it ‘Courses like this are extremely important, especially for writers who are brand new to novel writing.’ Her advice for anyone starting out writing for children? ‘It is difficult working full time and writing so it is important to set time aside to work on your manuscript even if it is a couple of hours on a Saturday. I would also advise new writers to apply for development schemes such as Megaphone or All Stories as they give new writers invaluable time and support.

Jazz Lintott took City’s Screenwriting: First Steps short course with Maeve Murphy in 2021. Jazz says ‘The course was invaluable to me. It helped me structure my idea the correct way, giving it tension and a heartbeat. It has since been aired on TV and we have just finished writing the play for the next stage of this journey. That’s the final step before converting it into a feature film!’

Author photo of Jazz Lintott

Jazz Lintott

Jazz’s short film, Going for Gold, was broadcast on London Live in 2022 and has appeared at various film festivals. The film follows three imagined conversations based on the career of Frankie Lucas, a black British Boxer from 1970s London. Jazz is now writing a longer screenplay using tools from the work he did on the course. Speaking of his tutor, he says ‘Maeve’s leadership was thorough and informative and she was always available for advice.’

Justine Solomons is the founder of digital publishing network Byte the Book. She started studying at City because she wanted to try and improve her writing skills. She was also interested in getting involved in the publishing industry. ‘I thought that if I did a course at City – which has an excellent reputation – it might help me make useful contacts.’

‘The first course I took was Novel Writing and Longer Works, which got me started on a draft of a novel. I then attended several other short courses just one night a week, which helped me finish a draft of my novel. I eventually applied to The Novel Studio, an intensive year-long programme for aspiring novelists. It was there I learned to redraft my novel.

‘In total I studied at City for three years. The courses were great, the teaching excellent and the standard of my fellow students was particularly high. I loved working with them all and still retain the strong friendships I made during my year on The Novel Studio.

‘City was a fantastic experience for me. Not only did it help me improve my writing, but I met some great people and got inspired by the courses to get more involved in the publishing industry… After working on the end-of-term reading event for The Novel Studio, I had the idea to set up Byte the Book. When asked, I always say Byte was born at City!

Author photo of Justine Solomons

Justine Solomons

Justine originally  set up Byte the Book to help her fellow students get published and also for them to make connections in the publishing world. She has developed the business into an an established membership organization now with 400 members, 5000 subscribers, and three main aims: to help authors get published; to educate publishers and authors on technology; and to connect people within publishing and to other industries. She continues to be in touch with her fellow coursemates, some of whom have guest blogged for Byte, or written articles and book reviews on the site. Many more attend their vibrant events programme. You can find out more about Byte the Book on their site, or email justine@bytethebook.com.

 

 

Inspired? See where a short course could take you. Visit our website for full details of all our courses. Or come along to our Open Evening in March where you can take a free taster course, or talk to one of our friendly coordinators about anything from computing, business and creative industries to languages or writing courses.

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 2022 Showcase: A Night to Remember

by Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

What a pleasure to be writing once again about another fantastic Novel Studio Showcase event, this time for the cohort of 2021/2022. The reading event marks the end of a year of hard and creative work for students who have been planning, writing, workshopping and editing their novels throughout the course. Finally they get a chance to show off all that hard work to an audience of industry, friends and family guests. This year’s event was no exception in its display of exciting new writing in a wide range of literary styles and genres.

Our third year of hosting the event on Zoom, we had 50 attendees in our rapt audience. It’s amazing what the online space can offer as a meeting point of people from diverse geographical locations and this being the second year of the Novel Studio being fully delivered online, it was a fitting end to a year that showed just how supportive online writing communities can be. For those of you there, the chat really testified to this year group’s investment in their cohort’s writing journeys.

As host for the evening, I began by outlining the fantastic history of the Novel Studio course which, having developed from the Certificate in Novel Writing, has been going in its current format since 2012. The course allows students to focus solely on developing their novels for a year. You can find out more about the course here.

I went on to explore just some of the publishing successes of our amazing Novel Studio alumni (click here for more details) and we were very lucky to have present Novel Studio alumna, sponsor of the Novel Studio Scholarship (now in its fourth year!) and Sunday Times and Kindle #1 Bestseller, Harriet Tyce. Harriet offered a few words of wisdom and inspiration for the students as they embarked on their readings and looked forward to writing beyond the course. She shared her memories of reading at her Showcase event and wished the students luck.

Encouraging the audience to develop an atmosphere in the chat, the readings from the students began and what a set of readings they were.

We started with Darren Pininski and an extract from his novel, Forgive Me Father, set across London and South Africa. The extract offered an atmospheric description of a small South African town and the first meeting between two men who will go on to change each other’s lives. Forgive Me Father follows the lives of Kenneth, Nico and Dominee Paul as they navigate love, loss, forgiveness and the bizarre and dangerous world of high end sneaker crime. We were left wondering what this meeting of Kenneth and Dominee Paul would lead to.

 

We jumped onto a plane next with Clare Bunning who read from the opening of her novel, Work Trip. Fast-paced, funny and acutely observed, we followed Franny Phillips as she walked into her initial experience of first class. Who should follow her? Only the A-list celebrity and sex-god, Leo Rossi. Titillating in more than one way, the audience was left wondering how this fortuitous meeting might develop.

 

England of the noughties was waiting to greet us next as we listened to Miranda Weindling read an extract from her novel, Love + Strife. We were treated to the first real contact between two ten-year-old girls, Phoebe and Gemma. A master of the eloquent long sentence with deft descriptions of the turns of consciousness, Miranda dropped us right back into those awkward pre-teen years.

 

We headed for the Essex coast next and struggled to contain wry smiles and giggles as we listened to Richard Bowyer read from his satirical novel, The White House. With some hilarious one-liners and sharp dialogue, this is one of those timely novels that really has something to say about modern Britain. One of the main character’s Roger Rowntree was proposed for Prime Minister in the chat. We were definitely left wanting more.

 

Ammarah Ahmad took us back to early adolescence next as we listened to her read an excerpt from her novel, The Nightfall Gatherings. We joined her main character, Zara, as she experienced her first ever cult gathering. It was a very unnerving experience of darkness and chanting that young Zara could not easily navigate. We could see some difficult but fascinating times ahead for Zara.

 

Zeke McLeod read next, sharing an extract from the opening of his novel, Poseable, in which his narrator describes breaking up with his girlfriend. Painfully honest and read from the heart the novel goes on to explore the complex world of online pornographic role play. The audience was visibly attentive and left eager for more.

 

We went from the end of a relationship to the tantalising beginnings of another next with Natalie Bray as she read from her novel, Sexy Witch. Natalie took us on a whirlwind, motorcycle date with first name, surname guy, Adam Dale. Enraptured by her cutting observation and crisp dialogue and text talk, we were completely taken into her protagonist’s world.

 

Staying on a relationship run, we were treated to another remembered teenage entanglement next as Dominic Hayes read from his novel, Mean Time. With some great observations and hilarious Freudian slips, we were offered the beginnings of a multiple perspective novel of epic proportions.

 

Galaxy O’Sullivan took us into unchartered territory next as we headed for a wild science-fiction, fantasy ride through the virtual world of Galaxy’s novel, The Poltergeist Aquarium. We listened as Bishop Crowther attempted to shove souls into the unwilling bodies of one of the main characters and her colleagues. Galaxy gave us a fantastically voiced and dramatic reading with a heady mix of profanity and philosophy.

 

We went from the virtual to the very real next with a story about the vibrant hidden UK community circumscribed by immigration, patriarchy and faith as Novel Studio Scholarship winner, Hawa Maua, read an extract from her novel, The Church for Disciplined Women. Tasting just two of the novel’s engrossing four main characters, the audience got a sense of the richness of voice Hawa delivers in the novel. We left the characters in their deportation van on the way to Heathrow and headed back into fantasy with our next reader, Angus Cameron.

 

Angus delivered us into the distant country of Kizna with an extract from the first novel in his epic fantasy trilogy, A Broken Web. We listened aghast as two young men – one still a boy – were forced to watch their fathers’ executed and then kneel in the blood of their fathers and swear an oath of allegiance to the conquering empire. Read with the professional delivery of an audiobook, we were hooked into the complex politics of this distant land.

 

We stayed with the bloody mess families can be as our next writer, Sam Miller read an extract from her novel, The Last Weekend. Thinking we were in the happy domestic sphere of a mother-daughter reunion, we soon had our assumptions upturned as the narrator’s mother takes a knife to one of the chickens. Both funny and horrific, Sam plunged us into the depth and psychological complexity of mother-daughter relations. As the last reader of the evening, a dead, bloody chicken presented for dinner was a dramatic way to end the night.

 

Wrapping up with congratulations and thanks all round. Particular mention was given to the sterling work of the Novel Studio director, Emily Pedder, as well as tutors Kiare Ladner and me, and the Short Courses staff at City University, especially Josie Gleave, Sathya Narayanan and Robert Lastman. It only remained to thank the hard work of the students, to congratulate them on a highly enjoyable and productive year, and to thank the audience for their avid participation in the chat. What a fantastic night with some truly mind-blowing readings. Congratulations Novel Studio cohort 2021/2022! We feel sure we’ll soon be adding you to the list of published alumni. What a talented group.

 

For those of you who missed the night, you can watch the recordings here, or download a copy of the Novel Studio Anthology here. You won’t regret it.

 

 

 

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