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An Invitation to join the Creative Writing Programme Weekend Schools

An Invitation to join the Creative Writing Programme Weekend Schools

by Mark Slater -
Number of replies: 0

Dear All,

We have a limited number of places left on our 1st Year Weekend School programme this year and are offering places to all  writers on Creative Writing Programme courses. The cost is £30 for the online day school. You will start the day with a two-hour zoom in which one of our visiting writers will introduce you to strategies and techniques to develop story writing skills. You will then work outside the  Zoom on practical writing tasks before re-convening as a group late afternoon to discuss process and share findings. 

To book, please click on the links under the Weekend School descriptions. You will be asked for a code when booking. The code is VIOLET (Please make sure this is capitalised). 

Once you have enrolled for a course you will be sent an acknowledgement and then before the Zoom session itself, you will be sent the Zoom link.

Setting: Creating Memorable Characters

Tutor: Laura Wilkinson

Date: Saturday 14th November 

Time: 10am to 4pm

Fee: £30

Booking Link:

When we think of great works of fiction – and our favourite books – it tends to be the characters that linger long after the intricacies of plot have faded: Scarlett O’Hara, Nazneen Ahmed, Scrooge, Elizabeth Bennet, Baby Kochamma and so on. What is it that makes these characters so unforgettable? They’re not all good, or likeable. How do we build characters readers care about? In this workshop we will be looking at some of the different ways to find our characters, how to make them credible and complex, and the tools we have to show them to our readers. We’ll look at different ways to dig deep, to find your characters’ values, and allow them to leap off the page. The session will combine workshops, analysis and discussion. 

Laura Wilkinson has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories. Her contemporary fiction is published by Headline Accent. These novels are Crossing the LineSkin DeepRedemption Song and The Family Line. Over the past nine years she’s worked as a creative writing tutor for organisations including New Writing South and West Dean College, and as a structural editor and mentor for leading literary consultancies, coaching writers to competition shortlistings and publication. 

Creative Inspiration

Tutor: Kim Lasky

Date: Sunday 15th November

Time: 10.30am to 4pm

Fee: £30

Booking Link:

Original ideas, atmospheric settings, intriguing but convincing characters: some of the hallmarks of great writing. But where do they come from? 

We’ll explore a range of creative sources of inspiration, from scientific discoveries to famous letters, which can spark original ideas, inform your work, and keep your writing lively and vivid. The aim is to leave you bursting with ideas for using resources such as museums and archives, galleries and heritage buildings as resources for your writing. We’ll take a look at contemporary fiction that draws upon these sources, and consider how they inform plot, setting and characterisation. There’ll also be plenty of writing time!

Kim Lasky’s work has been inspired by things as diverse as Newton’s experiments and the letters of Ada Lovelace. Her collection Petrol, Cyan, Electric, shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award, features poems that began life in the Science Museum and the Herschel Museum in Bath. Eclipse, was informed by a residency in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Sussex University. As well as many years’ experience teaching on the Creative Writing Programme, she runs workshops in various settings and acts as a writing mentor.

Setting Stories: Bringing Fictional Worlds to Life

Tutor: Sharon Duggal

Date: Sunday 22nd November

Time: 10.30am to 4pm

Fee: £30

Booking link:

Where do our stories happen and how do we bring those settings alive for the reader so we can immerse them in the fictional world?  How do we create credible environments for our characters to exist in; places and spaces for them to inhabit and act in - ones they have just arrived at or have had to leave behind; real places, past, present and future, or imaginary worlds that sit on the edges of reality? 

Settings can be as important as character and plot to the telling of the tale and in this practical workshop we will consider the above questions as we focus on creating strong settings to bring our story world to life.

Using extracts from a range of genres, we will explore how storytelling, weaves place through narrative to create literature. We will discuss useful literary techniques for adding depth through setting and take part in a variety of exercises so we can truly evoke a sense of time and place in our own writing.

Sharon Duggal is an author and broadcaster. Her short stories appear in anthologies and her debut novel, The Handsworth Times, was published by award-winning indie publishers, Bluemoose Books in 2016. It was chosen as The Morning Star's 'Book of the Year' that year and as the title for Brighton City Reads in 2017. Sharon has an MPhil in Creative Writing from University of Sussex. Her second novel, SHOULD WE FALL BEHIND was published in October 2020. Twitter: @MsSDuggal  Website:

Imagery, Symbolism and Metaphor 

Tutor: Dr John McCullough

Date: Sunday 28th November

Time:  10am to 4pm

Fee: £30

Booking link:

How do you know when to put a waterfall in your short story or novel?  This day school aims to improve your use of symbolism in fiction as well as exploring when to use and restrict imagery.  We'll contrast the rich writing of Angela Carter and August Kleinzahler with the relative economy of Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Mansfield and Raymond Carver who still each draw on symbolism. In addition, we'll explore linking metaphors to themes and using photographs as tools for writing.  

John McCullough’s latest collection of poems Reckless Paper Birds won the 2020 Hawthornden prize for literature for the overall UK book of the year. It was shortlisted for the Costa. He teaches creative writing for the Creative Writing Programme, The Open University and the University of Brighton.