Tag: The Novel Studio (page 1 of 5)

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!

City Writes Spring 2024 Competition Winners Announced

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

We are delighted to announce the winners of this term’s City Writes competition. City Writes is the showcase event for all the brilliant writing coming from City’s creative writing short courses and we have a fantastic line up for you this term on Wednesday 27th March at 7pm.

Reading at the event alongside published Novel Studio alumni Laurence Kershook and Katharine Light, our competition winners are: Jill Craig, Katie Hunt, Seyi Falodun-Liburd, Tess Pendle and David Strickland. Read on to find out more about our winners.

Current Novel Studio student, Jill Craig is originally from Northern Ireland, but currently lives and works as a secondary teacher in the North-West. She has lived in Greece and France and thinks often of going abroad again. An avid reader, she has published several short stories, with Freckle,  Egg & Frog and Literally Stories, and is working on the first draft of a novel.

Narrative Non-Fiction student Katie Hunt has been a journalist for more than two decades, working for several international news organisations including Reuters and BBC News. She lived in Asia for more than ten years, with stints in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand. For the past four years, she has covered science and health for CNN in London. She hopes to write a non-fiction, popular science book about human origins focused on the latest discoveries in Asia.

Seyi Falodun-Liburd is a Nigerian campaigner and organiser from London. She is currently co-director of Level Up, a feminist campaigning community working towards a world where people of all genders are loved and liberated from bodily and systemic violence. She is also a member of Project Tallawah, a community resource for Black and Global Majority women and gender-expansive people in the UK. Seyi is a fledgling writer and Narrative Non-Fiction student who has written about gender-based violence for iNews, gal-dem and Refinery29.

Tess Pendle is a Narrative Non-Fiction student. After working for many years as a broker at Lloyd’s of London, Tess decided to contribute to a social project. She moved to Burkina Faso, where she worked for three years with a local women’s organisation to develop a microfinance programme supporting female entrepreneurs. On her return to the UK, she set up and managed both a national not-for-profit credit business and a £100 million government fund to invest in social enterprises. Tess is currently self employed and lives in Chelmsford with her partner.

An alumnus of the old Towards Publication course, now called Writers’ Workshop, D.P. Strickland is a neurodivergent writer with an MA in Creative Writing from UEA, whose work has previously appeared in anthologies and journals. He is particularly interested in underrepresented perspectives in fiction and recently completed a novel about a fundamental religion based on his own childhood experience. He lives in London and can be found on Instagram.

Now you know more about our winners, don’t forget to sign up for the event on Wednesday 27th March at 7.30pm on Zoom. You’ll be treated to stories of sticky summer heat, discoveries of ancient jaw bones, the disappointment of a young boy never quite right for the popular crowd and an exploration of the politics of our daily choices. All this alongside readings from our published authors, Laurence Kershook and Katherine Light. It’s going to be brilliant.

Register for tickets here and see you there.

And if anyone wants to come along and find out more about our writing courses, we are running a free taster session and open evening the night before City Writes. See here for more information about how to register.

Short Course Taster Evening 26 March 2024

 

Join us this March 26 for our free taster event, where you’ll have the chance to speak to the team, find out more about our courses and ask any questions.

You can even take part in a free 45-minute taster session to get a flavour of what it’s like to learn with us.

We will have a choice of tasters available, including:

There will also be a Novel Studio enquiry desk for anyone who wants to find out more about how to apply for our flagship year-long novel writing course.

And as a bonus, we are also offering a 10% discount on all our short courses for anyone who attends the open evening and enrols with us on the night.

Attendance at City events is subject to our terms and conditions.

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!

Novel Studio alumna Katharine Light’s path to the publication of her debut novel, Like Me

Katharine Light’s debut novel, Like Me

When I was a young girl, my dad used to make me little books of paper and I would love to write in them. In my teens these became stories I wrote for my younger sister about a girl who falls in love with the bass player of a pop group. Absolutely not based on John Taylor from Duran Duran.

Later on I tried my hand at writing a Mills & Boons. At around 50,000 words it was great practice, but not quite the right genre. When my children were small, I did a year long creative writing course with the Open University. Two years later I did the advanced version. Then, working full-time and a busy family life meant I kept writing only sporadically until 2018 when I started The Novel Studio at City, University of London. It was a brilliant year with excellent tutors in Emma Sweeney, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone and Kirstan Hawkins. Fourteen of us completed the course, meeting twice a week and sharing our lives through writing. They are a very supportive and talented bunch.

At the end of the year, I had interest from three agents, and signed with one at A M Heath. This is it, I (naively) thought, on my way to publication… Sadly, during lockdown, having worked on this first novel, Like Me, (her suggestions definitely improved it), she said she wasn’t the right person to take it forward. This was followed by a dispiriting lack of response from several agents she recommended as well as the two who had previously shown interest.

Throughout the pandemic, the Novel Studio cohort kept in touch, via a WhatsApp group. Before covid, about half of us carried on meeting in person, and carried over onto zoom. Laurence Kershook published The Broygus to Amazon in March 2022. Fellow alumna Lara Haworth’s book Monumenta will be published by Canongate in 2024.

On publication, I bought Laurence’s book in paperback and was very impressed. It’s a high quality, professionally produced book, as well as a terrific read, and I began to think maybe I could do that too. Independent publishing seeks to emulate the traditional publishing route, with a professional book edit from the wonderfully talented Emily Pedder at The Book Edit, and a great book cover from designer Simon Avery of Nice Graphic Design. Caroline Goldsmith of Goldsmith Publishing Consultancy ensured the manuscript was print and eBook ready, and Philippa Makepeace of Studio Makepeace created the website. My advice is to surround yourself with people who know that they’re doing!

There was one major hiccough. The book has always been on the long side, and when it was first uploaded to KDP Amazon, although author royalties sounded generous, the print costs on the paperback version were so high, they were almost entirely swallowed up. After a drastic re-think, I cut fifty pages of the book, and added those onto the beginning of book two, which has now become two books. The manuscript for book two has just gone to the editor. The hope is to publish both that and book three in 2024.

There was a point at which I began to feel that the traditional publishing route was becoming less and less likely. Now I’m in my 50s, I developed a sense of urgency, fostered by reading Harry Bingham, founder of Jericho Writers, who is enthusiastic about indy publishing. It has been wonderful to hold the actual book in my hand. We held in person launches where I live in London, and in Altrincham, the fictional Millingham of the series. Lots of kind and lovely people came. As the book is about a group of teenage friends who meet up again twenty years later in their late thirties, the events have been the perfect excuse to reconnect with old friends from the past. As we said, life is now imitating art. We’re doing the fictional reunion for real, just many years later…

Katharine Light took City’s Novel Studio course, a year-long programme for aspiring novelists.

Katharine’s debut novel, Like Me, is available HERE.

Author Katharine Light, photography by Alexandra Vanotti

For more on all City’s writing short courses, visit HERE.

 

 

Announcing New Scholarship for the Novel Studio

Growing Concerns

We are delighted to announce a new scholarship partnership for the Novel Studio, which will be in place for the next five years.

The Captain Tasos Politis Scholarship is a fully funded scholarship offered to support a successful candidate applying for The Novel Studio, City’s popular Short Course on the art of novel writing.

Generously funded by City Alumni Ambassador George Politis, and named after his father, the aim of the scholarship is to support a student of talent and potential from a low-income household who might not otherwise be able to accept an offer of a place on The Novel Studio.

Applicants to the scholarship will go through the same process as all other applicants but will need to 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, and course tutors.

The Novel Studio has been very lucky with its generous funders. For four years, alumna and best-selling crime author Harriet Tyce funded and supported the scholarship. Now with The Captain Tasos Politis Scholarship, we are thrilled to be able to continue this vital support and to help nurture more talented writers of the future.

For further details about the scholarship and how to apply, visit our page HERE. Or email the Course Director: Emily.Pedder.1@city.ac.uk

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!

Autumn 2023 News from our Writing Community

Happy Autumn! Here’s the latest news from our fantastic writing short course alumni and tutors…

 

Alumni News

Author and City short course alumna Deepa Anappara

Oneworld have acquired The Last of Earth, the second novel by Novel Studio alumna Deepa Anappara. The novel will be published in hardback as a lead title in March 2025. An historical novel set in mid-19th century Tibet, Juliet Mabey at Oneworld said ‘I’m delighted to be working with such a bold and unique storyteller.’

 

Katy Darby’s Writers’ Workshop and Short Story Writing students have had more astonishing success. Rupert Dastur has sold his debut novel Cloudless to Penguin. Richie Jones was shortlisted for the London Magazine Short Story Prize. Sean Hannaway, as S. P. Hannaway, recently had a short story published in Stand (‘This or That or Any Other Thing’) and one is forthcoming in The Pomegranate (‘Exit Pye, with Cushion’). Sean was also shortlisted for the Bristol Prize in 2021 for his short story ‘Love, Hunger’.

Peter Forbes’ Narrative Non Fiction alumni have been as busy as ever!

Narrative Non Fiction Alumna Claire Martin’s debut, Heirs of Ambition

NNF alumna Claire Martin published her debut book Heirs of Ambition: The Making of the Boleyns in September with History Press. Ed O’Brien’s article ‘Hardcore Landscaping: how to grow a garden on sand, gravel and concrete’ was published in The Guardian on 28 July 2023; and Alice Kent’s memoir  ‘And Those are Stars’ was published in Hinterland, Issue 13, 2023.

Amal Abdi, graduate of Holly Rigby’s Narrative Non Fiction course, has been commissioned to write a new play for London’s Rich Mix theatre venue. The play will run for two dates on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th October and can be booked here.

Susan Grossman’s Travel Writing Student, Yvette Cook, has had successful travel journalism commissions from The Independent, The Slovenia Tourist Board and BBC Sky at Night.

Competitions

City Writes, City’s termly writing competition for all past and present City short course writing students, is open for submissions. This term’s event is on Wednesday 13th December at 7pm on Zoom and the published guest author will be writer and City 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 here at City. From YA, through psychological thriller, to supernatural detective fiction, Caroline Green is an inspirational powerhouse. Register here now to save your spot for the night.

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 10th November. Please check the full submission details here.

 The Book Edit Writers’ Prize 2023 is open for submissions. Judged this year by Deepa Anappara, and in association with Legend Press, the prize is free to enter and open to all British or UK-based unpublished, unagented novelists from communities currently underrepresented in UK publishing. For more details visit the prize page here. Deadline 23 October.

 Scholarships

We 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.

 Tutor News

Author and Short Course Tutor Katy Darby

Short Story and Writers’ Workshop tutor Katy Darby has three new historical short stories coming out in anthologies in November, with Belanger Books.

Writing for Children tutor Bryony Pearce’s new Mid-grade novel, Hannah Messenger and the Gods of Hockwold, was published in June, and her short story is in a new sci fi anthology Parsec in Print.

Writing the Memoir tutor Anna Wilson’s picture book Grandpa and the Kingfisher was shortlisted for the Wainwright Nature Prize, illustrated by Sarah Massini.

And finally, we have a new Writing for Business tutor on Monday evenings, Tamsin Mackay. Welcome, Tamsin! And huge thanks to Jenny Stallard, who Tamsin is replacing, for her brilliant teaching the past few years.

Happy Writing Everyone. and congrats to all our brilliant alumni and tutors.

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

 

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