Nov
12
7:30 PM19:30

There Will Be Blood: Writing Violence

Guest writer: William Ryan

Writing violence in fiction can be a dangerous pursuit. If it’s done well, the rhythm, vocabulary and pace work in service to plot, suspense, setting and characterisation. If it’s done badly, things can get very messy indeed. Join us in conversation with crime and historical novelist, William Ryan, as we explore the blood spattered perils and pitfalls of writing violence and crime. You should leave tonight’s salon with some fresh ideas on how to execute dark deeds on the page.

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Dec
3
7:30 PM19:30

Folklore, Fables and Fairytales: enrich your fiction

Guest writer: Zoe Gilbert

December means short days and long dark nights. Gather by the Tea House fire as we join award-winning writer and creative writing teacher, Zoe Gilbert, to explore how to put the folk in your fiction. Visit this rich imaginative territory and discover innovative ways to create character, setting, plot and story. You don’t have to believe in fairies, or even Father Christmas, to come along to this salon, but it might help.

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All Is Not What It Seems: How Memory and the Past Drive a Narrative
Oct
15
7:30 PM19:30

All Is Not What It Seems: How Memory and the Past Drive a Narrative

Guest writer: Claire Fuller

The complexity of memory and the seductive draw of the past offer a writer limitless opportunities for story. How do you go about seeding your narrative with clues, questions, and twists to build intrigue, tension and atmosphere without weighing the story down? In this salon with award winning writer Claire Fuller, we’ll look at new ways to harness the shifting shape of memory and the past, fuelling pace and propelling your narrative forward.

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Being Edited and Being Published: What Every Writer Needs To Know
Sep
24
7:30 PM19:30

Being Edited and Being Published: What Every Writer Needs To Know

Guest editor and publisher: Lennie Goodings

Why does a writer need an editor? How is the publisher's role different? In this salon we’ll be discussing what happens to your book, from submission through to the final manuscript ready for publication, with Virago Press Chair, Lennie Goodings.  Her authors include Margaret Atwood, Sarah Waters, Sarah Dunant, Sandi Toksvig, and Linda Grant, among many others. Lennie is herself now writing a book, The Idealistic Publisher, while still acquiring and editing books for Virago. This evening’s salon should answer all your questions about the myths and mysteries of being edited and published.

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Writing Ghosts
Jul
2
7:30 PM19:30

Writing Ghosts

Guest writer: Jenn Ashworth

Ghost stories and Gothic themes offer exciting challenges for the writer, especially in how you can work with new points of view and strange perspectives to create a gripping narrative. In this Salon with novelist, short-story writer and creative writing tutor Jenn Ashworth, we will talk about writing the uncanny and the paranormal, and find out why it’s nothing to be frightened of.

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Writing Relationships: Love and Other Bruises
Jun
4
7:30 PM19:30

Writing Relationships: Love and Other Bruises

Guest writer: Julie Cohen

How do we write with truth, humour and clarity about human relationships; falling in and out of love, passion, friendship, emotion and heartbreak? In this salon with best-selling author and writing teacher Julie Cohen we’ll explore ways to write about the ties that bind us, the secrets that threaten to destroy us and everything in between. You should leave tonight's salon with new ways to add depth to your characters and strengthen the human relationships in your writing.

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The Power of Place
May
21
7:30 PM19:30

The Power of Place

Guest writer: Courttia Newland

Place is not simply the setting of your story - it’s the interaction of character, context, time, emotion and atmosphere too. In this salon with novelist, short story writer and playwright Courttia Newland, we’ll look at the many different ways that working with place can bring depth and complexity to your story. Tonight's salon should provide fresh insight into the various elements that make up a story’s sense of place, and how they can enrich your fiction.

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The Agony and The Ecstasy: Writing Sex In Fiction
Apr
30
7:30 PM19:30

The Agony and The Ecstasy: Writing Sex In Fiction

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.

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Process and Practice: Exploring Poetry and Prose
Mar
5
7:30 PM19:30

Process and Practice: Exploring Poetry and Prose

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.

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Writing Literary Thrillers and Creating Compulsive Plots
Feb
5
7:30 PM19:30

Writing Literary Thrillers and Creating Compulsive Plots

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.

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How Writers and Agents Work Together
Jan
15
7:30 PM19:30

How Writers and Agents Work Together

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.

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Poetry For Prose Writers
Dec
4
7:30 PM19:30

Poetry For Prose Writers

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.

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Short or Long? Form in Fiction
Nov
6
7:30 PM19:30

Short or Long? Form in Fiction

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. 

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Writing Fiction Using Real Characters
Oct
16
7:30 PM19:30

Writing Fiction Using Real Characters

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.

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Imagining And Developing Characters
Sep
11
7:30 PM19:30

Imagining And Developing Characters

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.

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Be Your Own Writing Coach
Jul
3
7:30 PM19:30

Be Your Own Writing Coach

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. 

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World Building: Bringing Characters and Places Alive
Jun
5
7:30 PM19:30

World Building: Bringing Characters and Places Alive

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.

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Exploring Creative Non-Fiction
May
22
7:30 PM19:30

Exploring Creative Non-Fiction

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.

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Writing For Children & Young Adults
Apr
24
7:30 PM19:30

Writing For Children & Young Adults

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. 

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Writing Historical Fiction with Essie Fox
Mar
27
7:30 PM19:30

Writing Historical Fiction with Essie Fox

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.

Book Launch Blog

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Publicity For Writers; How To Get It & How To Survive It
Feb
20
7:30 PM19:30

Publicity For Writers; How To Get It & How To Survive It

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.

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Writing Short Stories
Jan
23
7:30 PM19:30

Writing Short Stories

Guest: Stella Duffy

"Each story is a world of its own, broad as a novel and precise as poetry." Award-winning novelist and short fiction writer, the multi talented Stella Duffy, joins Emma and Kellie to discuss writing short stories and, perhaps too, some of the writers she most admires and why.

Here’s a chance to pick up some top tips for writing short stories. You should leave this salon with some new approaches and thinking to enrich your short fiction.

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Plot And Story
Nov
14
7:30 PM19:30
Creating Characters In Fiction
Oct
17
7:30 PM19:30
Make Your Novel Shine
Sep
19
7:30 PM19:30