Dec
2
7:30 PM19:30

Writing Humour In Fiction

Guest author: Ayisha Malik

Come and join us by the fire to explore the funny side of writing fiction in this our last salon of the year. Everyone loves a laugh – it’s a way to connect and bond with the reader – but the skilled use of humour in fiction is one of the greatest challenges for the writer. If tackled effectively, though, humour can illuminate truths about characters and the worlds they inhabit. It can also be used to tackle difficult or taboo subjects, easing tension and providing respite from awkward moments. Join us tonight to unpack these challenges in conversation with author Ayisha Malik, whose debut novel, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, was met with great critical acclaim and was a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick in 2016. The book has also been optioned for TV. The sequel, The Other Half of Happiness was published in April 2017. Her latest novel, This Green and Pleasant Land, is out now. Ayisha is also the ghost writer for Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain’s book, The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters.

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Being Edited and Being Published: what every writer needs to know
Nov
4
7:30 PM19:30

Being Edited and Being Published: what every writer needs to know

Guest publisher: Richard Beswick

Discover how the editing and publishing process works and what happens to your book from submission through to the final manuscript ready for publication. Join Kellie and Emma tonight in conversation with Richard Beswick, the Managing Director of Little, Brown & Abacus. Abacus is the paperback imprint for Little, Brown books and has an impressive roster of award-winning, bestselling fiction authors, including Donna Tartt; Celeste Ng; Alexander McCall Smith; Beryl Bainbridge; Anita Shreve and Chigozie Obioma among many others. Little, Brown/Abacus also has a hugely successful non-fiction list, with authors including Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom; David Sedaris; Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs; and the Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff.

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Psychological Thrillers: creating dark and addictive fiction
Oct
14
7:30 PM19:30

Psychological Thrillers: creating dark and addictive fiction

Guest author: Paul Burston

As the nights begin to draw in we’ll be heading to the dark and twisty side of fiction to explore the craft of writing psychological thrillers. Our guest tonight is the novelist Paul Burston, who’s recent book The Closer I Get looks at what happens when literary appreciation takes a malevolent turn. Kellie, joined by crime writer Caroline Green, will be talking to Paul about approaches to writing thriller narratives. Come along and learn how to ramp up the pace and suspense to create vivid characters, shadowy worlds and compelling plots.

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Identity and Belonging: Writing Character and Place
Sep
23
7:30 PM19:30

Identity and Belonging: Writing Character and Place

Guest author: Diana Evans

Themes of identity are the DNA of fiction, questioning and illuminating who we are and the way we think about ourselves. Whether it’s an exploration of the self in a social context or a broader investigation of our cultural and political inheritance, how can a writer find creative ways to draw from this pool of ideas to enrich story, characterisation and place? In tonight’s salon our guest Diana Evans, the award-winning author of Ordinary People, will be joining Emma and Kellie to discuss what makes us the same, what makes us different, and how we can play with identity in our writing.

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Miracle in a Matchbox: the Art of Short Story Writing
Jul
8
7:30 PM19:30

Miracle in a Matchbox: the Art of Short Story Writing

Guest writer: Adam Marek

The short story is a wondrous and elastic form where every word must contribute to the final effect. As short story supremo Raymond Carver once said, “Get in, get out. Don’t linger. Go on.” Join us at our final salon before the summer break for some end-of-term excitement discussing the joys and mysteries of the form with short story whizz and creative writing teacher Adam Marek. Adam is the award-winning author of two collections whose stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and appeared in many magazines and anthologies. You should leave tonight’s salon fizzing with ideas to transform your words into matchbox-sized miracles.

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Voice: The Writer’s Palette
Jun
18
7:30 PM19:30

Voice: The Writer’s Palette

Guest Writer: Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

A strong voice gives prose a recognisable quality that casts a lasting impression on the reader. Mood and emotion are created through the command of voice and tone, while hints of gossip or slander can add vibrancy and colour to the fiction writer’s palette. Our guest tonight Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott uses these techniques to great effect in her novel, Swan Song, the story of Truman Capote and the betrayal of his High Society ‘swans’, published to much acclaim in 2018 and recently long-listed for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. A screenwriter as well as a novelist, Kelleigh will be joining us to discuss ways to use voice to develop character and story. 

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Writing For Children
May
13
7:30 PM19:30

Writing For Children

Guest writer: Candy Gourlay

How do we take our personal experience and broader histories and turn them into cracking stories, gripping characters and vibrant worlds that glue readers to the page from the very start? In tonight’s salon we’ll be talking about writing fiction that reflects who we are and where we come from. We’ll also touch on practical matters such as research, connecting with readers and maintaining a successful online presence. Candy Gourlay’s novels for children have been listed for many prizes including the Waterson’s, Blue Peter, the Carnegie and the Guardian Prizes. Her most recent novel Bone Talk draws on the colonial history of the Philippines and has been long-listed for the CLIP Carnegie Medal 2019 and short-listed for the Costa Book Award 2019. Come along, bring your questions and take part in the discussion over tea and cake or a glass of wine.

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Plotting, Process and Page-turners
Apr
29
7:30 PM19:30

Plotting, Process and Page-turners

Guest writer: Antonia Hodgson

Delve into the writer’s toolbox this evening and discover how to create compelling plots and page-turners with our guest, best-selling author and former publisher Antonia Hodgson. Co-hosting tonight alongside Kellie is veteran editor and creative writing teacher Andrew Wille. Bring your questions and join in the conversation. You should come away from tonight’s salon with new ways to drive your story forward and keep your reader hooked until the very last page.

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The Art of Failure: resilience and the writer
Mar
25
7:30 PM19:30

The Art of Failure: resilience and the writer

Guest writer: Emma Darwin

How do you pick yourself up when your writing has gone horribly wrong? In her new creative non-fiction, This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin, Words Away’s own Emma Darwin draws on her experience of failure, from her six unpublished early novels to the catastrophe of trying to write fiction about her embarrassingly famous family. Kellie, joined by guest chair Caroline Green, will be talking to Emma about how you not only survive disaster as a writer, but actually develop resilience for whatever might happen next.

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Recovering Voices and Stories Lost From History
Feb
11
7:30 PM19:30

Recovering Voices and Stories Lost From History

Guest writer: Alice Jolly

Societies have so rarely recorded the voices of the marginalised and enslaved, the poor and oppressed or dispossessed. So how does a writer go about researching and reimagining these unheard or erased voices? You might have a germ of an idea but not sure how to begin or where to find the raw materials. Then there’s the question of form – fiction versus non-fiction? Join us this evening alongside novelist, playwright and creative writing teacher, Alice Jolly, as we discuss ways to develop character, point of view and some of the other tools you might need to recover voices lost to the past.

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How Agents and Writers Work Together
Jan
14
7:30 PM19:30

How Agents and Writers Work Together

Guest agent: Jenny Savill

After the excitement of the first deal, what happens next? Join us in conversation with Jenny Savill talking about the creative challenges and rewards of working to maintain an author’s career in the long term. Jenny, a Director at Andrew Nurnberg Associates runs a successful list of authors, representing children’s and young adult fiction; also literary fiction,commercial and literary women’s fiction, psychological suspense, historical fiction, comic fiction, and narrative non-fiction.

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Folklore, Fables and Fairytales: enrich your fiction
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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There Will Be Blood: Writing Violence
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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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.

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