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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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 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 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 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.