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Guest Agent: Jo Unwin
Ever wonder what literary agents do and don’t do for writers? Do you have questions about the the road to publication and beyond? Join us for an evening in the company of super agent Jo Unwin, as we explore the agent/author relationship. Jo represents authors of literary fiction, commercial women’s fiction, Young Adult fiction, children’s fiction, comic writing and narrative non-fiction. Her authors have won or been been nominated for numerous awards and prizes. Bearing in mind that every agent/writer relationship is unique, by the end of this evening you should take away a clearer understanding of how to approach an agent, what to expect and how you might work together.
Guest author: Louise Doughty
Are you writing a novel and struggling with plot? Our guest tonight, Louise Doughty, is the author of eight novels and her seventh was the number one best seller, Apple Tree Yard, which has been translated into thirty languages and sold half a million copies in the UK alone. A BBC One adaptation was shown on television last year with Emily Watson in the lead role. Her fiction inhabits a category of its own, somewhere between literary fiction and thriller. This salon should appeal to not only those writing suspense stories but anyone looking for new ideas or fascinated by the process of constructing spellbinding plots.
Guest writer: Blake Morrison
There are an infinite number of ways to tell a story. Exploring genre and form can open up your writing practice and lead to new possibilities. Join us in conversation with the writer Blake Morrison, whose many books include two best selling memoirs And When Did You Last See Your Father? (made into a film starring Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth) and Things My Mother Never Told Me, as well as novels, poetry collections, operas, play adaptions and more. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian and has been Professor of creative and life writing at Goldsmiths College since 2003.
Guest writer: Michèle Roberts
Is there an art to writing a convincing sex scene in fiction? Getting down and dirty on the page can be as agonising for the writer as it is for the reader. It’s a serious business - or is it? Our guest this evening, the award winning Michèle Roberts, has published fourteen novels, also short stories, poetry, essays and a memoir. Her novel Daughters of the House was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the W.H.Smith Literary Award. Her most recent novel is The Walworth Beauty. Whether your approach to writing about sex is playful, sensory, filthy or funny or even downright awkward; you should come away from this evening’s salon with inspiration.
Guest writer: Maura Dooley
Join us alongside the award winning poet, Maura Dooley, as we discuss how thinking like a poet helps prose-writers to “flex muscles you don't use enough”. Maura is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Reader in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths. You should come away from tonight’s salon with a clearer idea of the possibilities, and some creative suggestions to enrich your practice and nourish your prose.
Guest writer: Tessa Hadley
Ever start writing in one form and find it’s morphed into something else entirely? Join us as we explore the possibilities of form in fiction. Our guest author, Tessa Hadley, is a Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and an award winning novelist and short story writer. She publishes short stories regularly in the New Yorker, reviews for the Guardian and the London Review of Books. This salon should appeal to writers who are trying to decide whether to distil their idea into a short story or expand it to a novel.
Guest writer: Jill Dawson
Writing fiction inspired by a real person or people is an exciting challenge for the writer but fraught with obstacles. Jill Dawson is an award winning novelist who’s especially skilled at incorporating real people in her fiction, the most recent being The Crime Writer about the author Patricia Highsmith. Others include Fred and Edie about the hanged murderess Edith Thompson, and The Great Lover, about the poet Rupert Brooke. You should come away from this evening with a bundle of new approaches to creating characters based on real people.
Guest Writer: Monica Ali
Dynamic characters-in-action are the life blood of strong story-telling, but how do you set about imagining people who never existed, then give them the substance and individuality that they need? In this session, we’ll be joined by the award-winning, best-selling writer Monica Ali to explore ways to create living, breathing fictional characters with agency and drive. By the end of this salon you should be flush with new ideas to propel your characters and WIP to the next level.
Guest writer: Jacqui Lofthouse
Do you need some inspiration and motivation tips to get going and keep going this summer? What’s stopping you from finishing that book? Do you start but never quite finish? Would you like to be more confident in your approach to writing? Jacqui Lofthouise is a novelist, writing coach and literary consultant and has a wealth of experience and ideas for making the most of your writing time. This evening’s salon, the last before we take a summer break, should equip you with some new ways to a more productive writing life.
Guest writer: Claire Scobie
Are you finding it a challenge to create a vivid, evocative sense of time and place in your writing? Building a fictional world matters tremendously whether you’re writing historical fiction set in 18th Century Southern India, a crime thriller in contemporary Vauxhall, or a parallel universe in a dystopian future. Claire Scobie is a novelist, journalist and experienced tutor and mentor. By the end of this evening with Claire you should take away some fresh ideas on how to enrich your writing by animating your characters and bringing your setting to life.
Guest Writer: Francis Spufford
There are so many rich possibilities when writing creative non-fiction, be it memoir, travel writing, life writing or some other variation of the form. Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start or perhaps you’ve started and are not sure how to proceed. This salon should appeal to writers interested in the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction and keen to explore and develop their voice. Join Kellie and Emma in conversation with Francis Spufford, whose books bridge memoir, history, travel, biography, science writing and polemic. Francis’s first novel, Golden Hill, is nominated for the Costa 2016 First Novel Award, and he also teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths.
Guest: Sara Grant
Do you write fiction for children or teens: be it a tale for young readers, a middle grade mystery or a cutting edge YA novel? Need some help? Sara Grant is the author and editor of over a 100 books for children and teaches a masterclass on the subject at Goldsmith’s University.
Sarah has a wealth of experience and insight in all facets of the industry when it comes to writing for young people. You should come away from tonight’s salon with some key ideas to improve your writing.
Guest: Essie Fox
How do you create a compelling and authentic story set in the past? Who better than guest writer Essie Fox, whose new novel is The Last Days of Leda Grey.
Essie joins resident expert Emma alongside Kellie to excavate ways into writing Historical Fiction. After tonight’s salon you should gain fresh insight and top tips to bring the past to life in your work.
Guest: Ruth Ware
Writers these days have to promote themselves, but it can seem incredibly daunting especially if, like most writers, you're naturally introverted. Ruth Ware is both a NY Times Bestselling novelist, and a former senior publicist with major publishers. As well as surviving publicity for her own books, she's worked with every kind of author from the world-famous to the unknown and terrified.
By the end of this evening, you should take away a clearer understanding of what's essential, what's a good idea, what's pointless, how to work with a publicist, and how nonetheless to protect your private, writerly core.