Tag: Novel Studio (page 1 of 5)

City Writes Summer 2024: A Monumental Event

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

While half the country were on the edges of their seats watching football, us lucky few were treated to a night of storytelling, imagination and the excitement of hearing the inner world of consciousness burst out from the page.

 

City Writes is a termly event set up to showcase the best talent from City’s creative writing Short Courses. It’s a game of two halves (I couldn’t resist): readings from competition winners, students and alumni of City’s creative writing short courses who enter their best 1,000 words of fiction or creative non-fiction into the termly competition; and a visit from a published alumni or tutor and this term we managed to score the wonderful Lara Haworth, whose debut Monumenta came out with Canongate on the 4th July.

 

We began the night with the competition winners and Dee Miller, recent Novel Studio alumna, kicked things off with an extract from her Middle Grade novel, Between Wind and Water. We were enthralled as Geal, guardian of Spring, discovers all the people and animals of their local village are gone, leaving only footprints, paw marks and hoof prints behind. It was easy to imagine a young audience being gripped by this fantastical and energetic tale.

 

We heard from An Approach to Creative Writing alumna, Emily Edwards next as she read her multi-perspective story, ‘Laurie’. Who was this rather wild woman and what happened that night? A story that leaves the central character absent but all over the text, it was a thrilling and eerie listen. The audience were left wanting more in all the right ways.

 

Moving from one dark scenario to another, Flora Tonking read her story, ‘The Playing Field’ next. Another recent Novel Studio graduate, Flora’s story was inspired by events in her mystery novel, Chosen Family, and certainly proved her expert turn of phrase and her ability to leave bodies bleeding in the dark. A very haunting and moving story. Bring on the novel!

 

From fiction to creative non-fiction, we were treated to a wonderful portrait of Constance Markiewicz next as Fact-Based Storytelling alumna, Pamela Welsh, read her piece, ‘A Countess in Combat’. Constance’s life from riches to revolution was inspiring and a wonderful advertisement for Pamela’s book project on women in conflict. That’s a book I think we’ll all be eager to pick up.

 

Another Novel Studio alumna and City Writes veteran, Jill Craig read next. Her story, ‘Estrangement’, took us onto a boat ride with her main character, on her way to see her estranged mother with a new boyfriend, desperate to reach out to her sister, the one who remained her touchstone of safety. So full of emotional turmoil and laced with lyrical writing, the audience were putty in Jill’s hands.

 

Next, we heard from Margaret Rogerson, our final competition winner and another recent Novel Studio graduate. Margaret read an extract from her novel, I Was, Once. She transported us into those delicate teenage years, fourteen and eager to find excitement in life. Her character found herself on holiday in a campsite surrounded by an aunt preoccupied with ‘that stupid baby’ and a whole host of men hungry to watch her cartwheel. Let’s hope Margaret publishes soon so that we can read the rest of this story with such a compelling and funny voice at its heart.

 

After such a stellar set of competition winning readers, it was a good thing we had multi-talented artist, filmmaker and now writer, Lara Haworth as our guest speaker. A Novel Studio alumna who read an early extract from Monumenta at City Writes back in 2021, Lara is a phenomenal writer dear to our hearts. Her debut, Monumenta is a book that examines how we remember collectively and in private. The Guardian says it  ‘fizzes with ideas’ and Bookmunch say it ‘Deserves a place on awards shortlists’ and the City Writes audience couldn’t agree more. Over the next half an hour or so Lara introduced us to the book through her answers to my questions and some wonderful short readings from a small novel that really packs a punch.

Author and City alumna Lara Haworth

Set in Belgrade, the novel opens with Olga Pavić receiving a letter from the government. It tells her that her house is being requisitioned in order to turn it into a monument for a massacre. But which one? No one seems to know. It’s a novel that explores memory in all its present, personal and civic interpretations. It was such a delight to speak with Lara and you can hear her readings, our conversation and all of the competition winners by clicking on this link to the video of the night. It really was a monumental night. Buy your copy of Monumenta here.

 

Thank you, Lara, thank you competition winners, thank you audience members and Emily Pedder for supporting this event. It truly is a showcase for the talent coming from the short creative writing courses at City and what talent there is. Next term, City Writes returns with alumna Jo Cunningham as our guest. Jo’s debut, Death by Numbers comes out with Hachette this August. It’s a seaside comedy crime that will have us burning on our beach towels. Listen to the event HERE and watch this space for details of City Writes Autumn 2024.

Interview with Lara Haworth, author of debut novel Monumenta

Author and artist, Lara Haworth

Lara Haworth is a writer, visual artist and filmmaker. In 2018 she was accepted onto City’s flagship year-long novel writing programme, The Novel Studio. She was also the winner that year of our Literary Agent Competition. Always tipped for success, last year Lara sold her debut novel, Monumenta, to Canongate. The novel will be published this summer. We caught up with Lara to find out more about her writing life and her journey to publication.

 

  1. Have you always written?

Yes. As soon as I was able. I wrote my first story aged four in a small notebook on my mother’s desk. Its protagonist was a knight who comes across three forking paths, and cannot decide which one to take. Goodness gracious, I wanted to him to say, as he realises the choice lying ahead. I spelt it goodness gracars.

2. Which book was the first to have a real impact on you as a reader, and which as a writer?

The first book I read that made me realise there was something other than just a story going on was The Great Gatsby. I was eleven. Much of it went over my head, the unrequited love, the critique of wealth, the disillusion. But I remember Fitzgerald describing the ‘silver pepper of the stars’ and looking up at the sky and actually gasping. So that’s what you can do, I realised. And maybe this, too, and this…

Fast forward twenty-three years, and my life is in some disarray. (This is an understatement.) I was visiting friends in Spain and started reading Deborah Levy’s Things I Don’t Want to Know. About three chapters in I felt an overwhelming pressure, as if a dam was breaking somewhere in my heart, or my throat, or my knees. I started to pace up and down and up and down this beach, gripping the book like it was a hand, pulling me up from a deep well. It gave me a kind of ferocious, blistering instruction to write, properly, seriously, now. It said, There is nothing else for you. When I got back from Spain, I applied to the Novel Studio. I still have the book. It has these white-knuckled dents in the cover.

3. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t expect anyone to find you, and your writing, without telling them where you are or what you’re doing. Don’t imagine that this is something you can do on your own. Don’t be frightened. (You will also be frightened.)

4. Why do you write and what makes it so vital for you?

When I’m in the excavating, mining stage, it rolls on a scale between because I have to and because I want to. Sometimes, when the I want to is struggling, because I am tired, or frightened, or stuck, or distracted, the I have to engages more fiercely, as more of a grim-faced imperative, shaking its head and pulling me back to my desk, to my thoughts, my subconscious, until the I want to returns in equal measure, to provide a lift. At its best, they both work together, and that is when you’re flying.

When I’m redrafting and editing, things get bigger, wider. I picture the reader: their joy, their woe, their precious time. If I can illuminate something – a feeling, a place, the way a potato slices open in a ‘90s deli – that impresses on a reader a sense of recognition, and a slightly different way of seeing and thinking about the world, then that is also why I write. There’s politics there too. I write to smuggle in difficult histories, strange emotional realities, and I try to centre queer lives, so long obscured in the literary canon.

5. Do you think writing can be taught? And relatedly, can you tell us a bit about your experience of being on writing courses?

When I was a teenager, I was at a friend’s house, whose father worked in publishing. Over dinner, he went on an extended rant about how you couldn’t teach creative writing, how all his authors had always written, and that was the only thing that could possibly matter. Perhaps because I didn’t know anyone else that worked in publishing and I wanted to be a writer, I really took his words to heart. It was a bad decision. From that moment on I avoided creative writing classes, and chose instead to write alone, in secret, thinking: I’m writing, and this is what I’ve always done! Someone will find me and recognise my labour. They didn’t. And the longer I wrote in secret, the more my fear grew about sharing my work. Every now and then I would submit something to a ridiculously prestigious magazine or journal and then be crushed when I was (inevitably) rejected. A pretty sad cycle, that I thankfully managed, eventually, to break. I wish I had done it sooner.

While I do think that there needs to be some ineffable something to your writing to get the best out of a writing course, there are a whole host of things you simply cannot get on your own. Like, learning how to build a novel, which is architecture. Learning how to edit, how to build pace, when to cut, when to trust your reader, when to give them more. This you learn by submitting your work to be read by your peers. And you’re not ready. But then you become ready. And the readiness grows. And that expectation, that deadline, is generative. It makes you a better writer.

My time on the Novel Studio was completely transformative in this respect. Being read. It was such a relief. Even if the feedback was hard, I would still sometimes feel very emotional on the tube home, seeing all those different handwritings in the margins of my manuscripts. And it was a privilege to read my peers’ writing too – to lose myself in their worlds, and bring my sensibilities as a writer to their work. The course also taught me that books don’t live in a blank space. They’re deeply connected to the world, most pressingly, the publishing world. All of the things that I had so studiously avoided for so long: talking about my work, emailing agents, trying my luck, writing pitches – all had to be done. And it was so very helpful to be given the tools to do this, to knock on all those guarded doors.

6. Can you tell us a bit about your experience of getting a publishing deal? Has anything been surprising, in a good or bad way?!

During the Novel Studio, one of my tutors revealed that her first novel did not get picked up for publication. I remember so vividly the shock I felt, as if she’d reported her own death. I glimpsed how painful that must have been for her. Perhaps because it had been such hard work to even get to that point, it was something I hadn’t considered –– even though the evidence, should I need it, was all around me, told again and again by many of my favourite writers (Hilary Mantel!).

A year and a half later, I was telling the same story. I wasn’t so naive that I thought I would definitely get a publishing deal for my first novel, but it did seem like finishing the final draft and working through more rounds of rolling rejections to get an agent might mean I was finally there. I was, of course, wrong. My first novel was not picked up. It was an extremely painful experience. Loss. A kind of grief. By that point I had gone from extreme secrecy about my writing to extreme exposure – and, in the way of all worst nightmares, my failure was also happening on a very public scale. Everyone knew.

Full credit to my partner, who after watching me mooch around in my depression for a while, said, The only thing that’s going to help now is getting back to work. She was right. I had started writing Monumenta in the summer of 2020. I went back to it in autumn 2021, and within two months it was finished. The rejection had actually sharpened my writing, made me care less about failure. I was able to take more risks. I carved a chunk out of it and submitted it as a short story to the Bridport Prize, and actually won. Very unexpected. This was the catalyst for my agent to submit it to publishers.

I’m still surprised Monumenta got picked up. It doesn’t really conform to any of the silent rules of the industry. It’s short. It’s about monuments, and difficult European history. I couldn’t think of any other books to compare it to. In the end, we had two offers and went with Canongate, who have always been my dream publisher. Securing the deal took two extremely nerve-wracking weeks. Sometimes I still can’t believe it’s real. I think what I’m trying to say with this very long-winded answer is that risk and failure are not just part of the process, they are the process, they influence and change the work in rich and strange ways.

7. Which fiction writers inspire you currently?

Mariana Enriquez. Wendy Erskine. Olga Tokarczuk. Jenny Erpenbeck. Colson Whitehead. Deborah Levy. Kevin Barry. Christina Sharpe. Lan Samantha Chang. Anne Enright. Sebastian Barry.

8. Do you have a particular writing process? Favourite place or time of day to write? Any rituals?

I work best when I have dedicated chunks of time. I’m not, sadly, one of those writers that can write for fifteen minutes in the morning and then get on with their day. It’s a whole day / night thing. It’s all or nothing. I have chosen a more unsettling, unstable line of freelance money earning, so that I can work manically for periods and save up, and take time off to write. This functions in some senses, but during dark nights of the soul it can feel fundamentally unsensible and wrong. When I am writing, I have a target word count every day, and that can take anywhere between two hours and a whole day to achieve. I’m lucky to have my own little writing space in our house, which overlooks the street. So I still see a little bit of life, going by.

9. Are you someone who plans and plots before you write or do you write to discover the story? Or both?!

I start with at least one person (who’s already been talking to me in my head for a while), a place, a primary situation, and a sense of its undertows. But I write to discover. I feel quite strongly that that’s my job – to go to that weird place of half dream and subconscious. A dark, dark forest. It’s a constant tussle between being in control of my material and also letting my material have some control. To let it go. I think that plotting it all out at the start would essentially mean executing a plan, and that’s not really the point, for me. It’s not a report. It’s got to be deeper than that. About a third of the way through I start to see what’s happening, where the loops and patterns and connections are, what the characters are wanting to do, and not do, say, and not say.

10. And to finish, what are you working on now?

Lara’s debut novel, Monumenta

I’m halfway through my third novel, which is called Julie Needs Things. All my novels are different, but this one feels harder than the others. It takes place over a long period of time, it’s told in the first person, it’s set in the UK, it contains some autobiographical elements. Yet it is a work of fiction. I wrestle with telling stories from my own life. I feel, instinctively, that it might not be interesting.

Thank you so much, Lara! To pre-order Lara’s novel, visit HERE. And for more about Lara and her work, visit HERE.

For anyone inspired to join The Novel Studio, applications are now open with a 30 June deadline. Please email any questions to Emily.Pedder.1@city.ac.uk

For all our other short writing courses, please visit HERE.

Here’s a Novel Idea

Apply to the Novel Studio and join our growing list of published alumni.

The Novel Studio is City’s flagship novel writing programme which supports 15 selected students to work on their novels for a year.

The course has been the starting point for many successful novelists. From bestselling crime writer Harriet Tyce, whose fourth novel, A Lesson in Cruelty, was published with Wildfire earlier this month—and who generously initiated and funded our Novel Studio scholarship for four years—to debut novelist Lara Haworth, whose first novel, Monumenta, will be published with Canongate this summer, the Novel Studio has become recognised as a place to develop and grow as a writer.

From researching your ideas, plotting and planning to writing, editing and familiarising yourself with the publishing industry, the programme will guide you through the tricky terrain of novel writing.

Taught by established writers and editors, with opportunities to meet literary agents and publishing professionals, if you’re ready to take your novel writing to the next level, this course is for you.

As if that wasn’t enough, we offer a Literary Agent Competition for all successful applicants to the course, run in association with leading agent Lucy Luck at C&W Agency.

And for one talented writer from a low-income household, we have a fully-funded scholarship – The Captain Tasos Politis Scholarship.

Full details on all these opportunities and information on the course are available here.

Or you can apply directly with 2000 words of your fiction and a CV to Emily.Pedder.1@city.ac.uk

Deadline 30th June 5pm.

We look forward to reading your applications!

Summer Term 2024 at City Short Courses

 

Thank you to all who attended our Short Courses Open Evening last week. We had a great time meeting new students and introducing them to what we do here at City Short Courses. Many students took advantage of our free  taster sessions, which ranged across our six subject strands:  Business and Management; Computing; Creative Writing; Creative Industries; Languages; and Law. There were tasters in everything from Learning Python to Italian, Business Writing to Major Event Management.

If you didn’t have a chance to join us, never fear! There’s still time to browse our full range of 120 courses and book on for the summer term. Why not try Presentation Skills, or brush up on your French in time for holidays. Or you could consider applying for our year-long Novel Studio programme and finish that novel you’ve always wanted to write! Whether it’s personal development or adding a new skill to your CV, we have something for everyone here at City Short Courses.

If you’d like further information before making your decision, just email our team at shortcourses@city.ac.uk. If they can’t answer your questions, they’ll contact the relevant tutors and make sure you get the answer you need.

Your short course journey starts HERE. We can’t wait to welcome you.

 

City Writes Spring 2024 – Celebrating City’s Creative Writing Short Courses

Novel Studio alumna Katharine Light shortlisted for 2024 Selfies Book Awards

We were delighted to discover that Novel Studio alumna Katharine Light has been shortlisted for the 2024 Selfies Book Awards for her debut novel, Like Me.

Launched by BookBrunch in 2018 to recognise excellence in the self-publishing market, the awards are sponsored by Ingram’s self-publishing platform, IngramSpark®, and are run in association with the London Book Fair and Nielsen BookData.

The winners will be announced at this year’s London Book Fair on Tuesday 12 March.

Also on the adult fiction shortlist with Katharine are Shooters by Julia Boggio, Ostler by Susan Grossey, Hidden Depths by Jason Mann, Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Alice McVeigh, The Eagle and The Cockerel by Alan Rhode and Artificial Wisdom by Thomas R Weaver.

Katharine will be one of our guests at the spring term City Writes on 27 March, so if you want to hear her read and talk about her path to publication, do register here.

And if you want to find out more about the Novel Studio, the course Katharine took at City, come and meet one of our tutors, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, who will be manning the Novel Studio enquiry desk at our free short course taster event on March 26.

Congratulations to Katharine and all the shortlisted writers. We look forward to hearing more next week!

Writing Short Courses Newsletter Spring 2024

It’s pretty cold out still, but the snowdrops are here and spring is just around the corner…promise! For even more cheer, here’s the latest from our writing short course alumni and tutors.

The Novel Studio Alumni

 

Lara Haworth’s debut novel Monumenta is due out with Canongate in July. Pre-order here.

 

Jo Cunningham’s debut cosy crime novel Death by Numbers is due out with Hachette in August. You can pre-order here.

 

Katharine Light has been shortlisted for The Selfies 2024 in the adult fiction category for her novel Like Me.

 

Current Novel Studio student Jill Craig has been published in Eggplusfrog.

 

Peter Forbes’ Narrative Non Fiction alumnus Aniefiok Ekpoudom’s debut Where We Come From: Rap, Home & Hope in Modern Britain, was published by Faber last month. Jimi Famurewa reviewed it in The Evening Standard here.

Alumna Sophie Rutenbar, an expert on Haiti were she has worked, has won an International Affairs Fellowship from the US Council on Foreign Relations and is writing for the prestigious Brookings Institute.

 

Former City tutor Marcelle Bernstein’s Fact Based Storytelling alumnus Steve Young has published a book on Motherwell Cricket Club with Troubador publishing.

 

Susan Grossman’s Travel Writing alumna Yvette Cook has published an article in the Independent about travelling by train to Slovenia and another on Boscastle.

Tutor News

Writing for Children tutor Bryony Pearce has her debut Middle Grade novel, Hannah Messenger and the Gods of Hockwold, coming out in June 6, and she has sold a new YA fiction, Aphrodite (an Aphrodite retelling), which is due out in 2025. 

 

One-day Courses

There are plenty of options for anyone keen on one-day writing courses: our ever-popular Introduction to Copywriting with Maggie Richards is available monthly; while our Writing the Memoir course is now taught by the brilliant Anna Wilson. Our Writing for the Web and Digital Media continues to be run by the expert broadcast journalist Holly Powell-Jones; and the dynamic duo of Anna Tsekouras and Pete Austin, aka Anon Agency, run our Intro to Branding course.

Opportunities

Our year-long Novel Studio course for aspiring novelists is now open for applications for 2024/25 intake, with a deadline of 30th June 2024. All successful applicants are automatically entered into the Novel Studio literary agent competition, with the top three applications sent to Lucy Luck, literary agent at C&W Agency with a view to representation.

There is also a fully funded scholarship for the course, The Captain Tasos Politis Scholarship, available to a talented applicant from a low-income household.

Our Writing for Social Impact course continues to offer a scholarship for one young student (18-25) from an underrepresented background and/or facing financial difficulty. Please contact the tutor, Ciaran Thapar, for more information on this opportunity.

All current students of Introduction to CopywritingWriting for Business and Narrative Non-Fiction courses are eligible to submit an idea for a blog post for short courses. If the idea is accepted, and the written piece meets our standards, it will be professionally edited and published on our blog.

City Writes

This spring sees the return of City Writes, our termly showcase for all the great writing talent coming out of the creative writing short courses at City. This term our guest authors will be Laurence Kershook and Katharine Light (see above) both alumni of the Novel Studio.

To join us at the event on March 27th at 7pm on Zoom, please register for free HERE.

And if you would like to enter the competition to win the chance to share the stage with Laurence and Katharine, please visit here for all the submission details. Deadline for entries is this Friday 1st March! That’s tomorrow!!

Writing Retreat

This May the Ruppin Agency Writers’ Studio is returning to Paris for another edition of our spring writing retreat. A literary agent and a published author and university lecturer are teaming up to guide writers through five days of focussed writing, offering individual feedback, advice and group exercises. They’re offering £200 off the full price to anyone who quotes PARIS2024 (or mentions where they heard about this).

Open Evening

And finally, we are running an open evening with taster sessions on March 26th at 6pm. There’ll also be a dedicated Novel Studio enquiry desk manned by tutor Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone for anyone who wants to find out more about our flagship year-long course. Register HERE.

That’s all for now. Keep on writing and keep your stories coming into us. And huge congratulations to all our alumni and tutors.

City Writes Autumn 2023 Winners Announced

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

As the showcase creative writing short courses event approaches, we’re delighted to announce the competition winners who will be reading their work at 7pm on the 13th December with the brilliant tutor and author, Caroline Green. With stories of mystery, murder, mayhem, the complexities of identity and the disappearance of all women, this will be a night you won’t want to miss. You can register for the event here.

This term’s winners are: Mike Clarke, Martin Corteel, Cathie Mullen, Emma O’Driscoll, Tunde Oyebode and Vasundhara Singh. Read on to find out more about these brilliant short creative writing class alumni.

Mike Clarke studied the Novel Studio (when it was the Certificate in Novel Writing), Writers’ Workshop and Caroline Green’s Crime and Thriller Writing Course at City University. He also has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. Several of his short stories have been read in different parts of the world by the renowned Liars League. His non-fiction writing on pubs is regularly featured in the national press. He also dabbles in performing stand-up comedy and is just finishing a novel.

Martin Corteel worked as an editor in London book publishing houses for more years than he would care to mention, and during this time he wrote and anonymously had published a number of books of very little substance. The novel he’s writing, entitled Dover Souls, recounts apocryphal family tales of skullduggery set amongst battling publicans at the outset of the First World War. He recently completed several creative writing courses at City University, including the Writers’ Workshop, and lives in North West London.

Cathie Mullen is from Ireland but has lived in Germany for many years. Until recently she was head of an international school. Her writing has been published by The Educational Company of IrelandWriter’s Forum and The Mersey Review. She’s currently working on a memoir. Authors whose work has recently inspired her include Octavia Bright, Claire Keegan and Sinéad Gleeson. Her passions include theatre and swimming (in all seasons). Cathie is an alumna of the Approach to Creative Writing course.

Originally from Dorset, Emma O’Driscoll lives in Brussels where she works as a press officer for the EU. She is currently writing a crime novel inspired by her love of golden-age detective fiction from the 1920s and 1930s. Emma is an alumna of the Crime and Thriller Writing Summer School and a student on the Novel Writing and Longer Works course. Aside from writing, she enjoys running, painting, and walking her border terrier, Karenin.

Writers’ Workshop alumnus Tunde Oyebode is a London-based architect and writer who explores the intricacies of everyday societal dynamics and relationships in his fiction. His work has appeared in Stylist Magazine, Obsidian Issue 48.1 and the 2021 Michael Terrence Anthology and also pending publication in LISP Anthology 2023. Some of his other stories have been shortlisted and longlisted in competitions like Chester B Himes Memorial Fiction Contest, Exeter Short Story Prize and the Bristol Short Story Prize. He aspires to publish a collection of his short stories.

Vasundhara Singh is a graduate of Journalism from Kamala Nehru college, Delhi University. Alumina of City University of London’s Novel Studio programme, she is one of the winners of City Writes Spring 2021.

With writers of this quality reading alongside tutor and writer extraordinaire, Caroline Green, City Writes Autumn 2023 promises to be an evening you won’t want to miss. Register for the event at 7pm on the 13th December on Zoom here. See you there!

Novel Studio Literary Agent Competition Winners 2023/24

Jill Craig

We are delighted to announce the winners of 2023/4’s Novel Studio Literary Agent Competition are Jill Craig, Shere Ross and Linda Wystemp.

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 in  conjunction with Lucy Luck, literary agent at C&W Agency.

Jill Craig works as a secondary English teacher in the North West where literature is a constant presence. She loves fiction which investigates and reflects dynamics which are often the foundation of our lives: romantic, friendship, familial. Although she’s studied and now teaches literature, actually writing it is a relatively new – daunting, but exciting- experience. 

Shere Ross is a writer of short stories and other works of fiction. Her work has been shortlisted for several prizes including the Wasafiri New Writing Prize. She is a winner of the BlackInk New Writing Prize.

Linda Wystemp was born and raised in the heart of Germany’s Black Forest before crossing the Channel to study in Oxford and London. She enjoys writing screenplays and short stories and has dabbled in fencing and the violin. Linda is currently working on her contemporary literary fiction novel which explores the moral complexities of parent-child relationships.

Emily Pedder, Course Director of the Novel Studio said: “We were very excited by these three writers; their submissions were strong and distinctive, and we can’t wait to see their novels progress over this coming year. ”

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.

 

Congratulations to Jill, Shere and Linda! We can’t wait to see their novels develop over the coming year!

City Writes Summer 2023 Event: A Braw Night to Remember

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

There’s nothing like an evening of readings from brilliant writers to make a summer evening special and this term’s City Writes on the 5th July was a festival of writing filled with moments of tension, terror and tenderness.

 

We kicked off the evening with the first of our competition winners, Novel Writing and Longer Works alumnus, Richard Hastings, who read from his novel-in-progress. The extract, ‘Jumble’, took us into old boxes in his character’s mother’s cupboard where it turns out she’d kept the right half of several pairs of his old childhood shoes, right down to one tiny little wellington boot. The whole audience were drawn into that moment of connection between mother and son.

 

From the importance of one set of objects to the embodied resonance of a piano, we took a step into memoir and the importance of the matrilineal connection of music next with Novel Studio alumna, Helen Ferguson, who read from her memoir-in-progress. We were lucky enough to see, in the background of Helen’s screen, the very piano her extract, ‘My Grandmother’s Piano’, spoke so eloquently about. The words were music to our ears and we look forward to hearing more about this project.

 

We took a step into the dark and unpredictable world of the social media alias next, in an extract from another Novel Studio alumna, Lana Younis, reading from her revenge comedy, Play The Long Game. The chat buzzed with delight at the northern, scathing voice of the protagonist as she went over her day and discovered some salacious news in her evening bath with her glass of merlot. This is another novel-in-progress we’re eager to read more of.

 

We stepped away from the horrors in one mind, to the dangers of airport security next with an emotionally taut and affecting short story by Introduction to Copywriting alumna Camille Poole, ‘Brown Male’. Along with Camille the whole audience were moved by sharing the character’s experience of watching her brave, young superhero son face the humiliation of institutional racism, whilst shaming herself for daring to call it out. Such a powerful story that there was a real sense of pause before we could move on.

 

Novel Studio alumna, Emily Shamma had the difficult task of following Camille, but she took us on her own emotional journey in her piece, ‘Kate’, an extract from her novel-in-progress, The Complicit. The extract followed Kate as she navigated the complexities of a miscarriage that was initially an unintended pregnancy turned from happy uncertainty to grief.

 

Our audience were certainly on a rollercoaster of feeling that our final competition winner and Novel Studio alumna, Kate Henderson, refused to let us get off. She read her short story, ‘What Happened at Judith’s’, a masterful account of a young girl’s afternoon play date that ended with a painful revelation and a broken arm. Told in spars

e and meticulously navigated prose, it was a fabulous way to end the readers from this extremely talented bunch of City’s Creative Writing short course alumni.

 

Luckily, we had the joy of hearing from Writers’ Workshop alumna and prize-winning writer, Emma Grae next. Emma read short extracts from both her novels: her Scots Book of the Year 2022 debut, Be Guid tae yer Mammy, published by Unbound in 2021 and her second novel, The Tongue She Speaks published by Luath Press in October 2022.

 

Emma’s writing is rich with Scots and it was brilliant to get the chance to hear the writing come alive in her voice. Following these extracts, we were treated to a Q&A in which Emma explored not only the inspirations behind her work, but also her publishing journey. Teasing out the importance of valuing all voices and entering into the publishing industry with one’s eyes wide open, Emma gave us much to think about. She also shared great news about her new works, a book in Scots for children and a third novel. We can’t wait to read them.

 

City Writes Summer 2023 Event was a braw night indeed. If you missed it, you can watch the event HERE. And don’t forget City Writes is a termly event. Find out more and watch out for competition dates on this blog. If this term is anything to go by, the work at City Writes goes from strength to strength.

Older posts

© 2024 City Short Courses

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Skip to toolbar