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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This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin, Words Away’s own Emma Darwin draws on her experience of failure, from her six unpublished early novels to the catastrophe of trying to write fiction about her embarrassingly famous family.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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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: 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.