Six-Month Novel-Writing Course With Simon Wroe
The hugely popular course, featuring intensive input from our literary agent team with publishers and authors, based in Curtis Brown's Central London offices. Includes fully-funded Jane Fallon Scholarship place.
Sep 12 2019 - Mar 04 2020
In-person course in central London
We offer places to the most talented applicants
Course Fee £2,990
Work on your novel with the experts
Our Six-Month Novel-Writing course is our ‘biggest’ London-based course for anyone with writing talent and a strong novel idea, who has decided they want to take their writing seriously.
Tutor Simon Wroe will lead weekly writing workshops; provide one-to-one tutorials on how to write a novel, and give teaching sessions on key topics such as how to create memorable characters and how to develop your story.
This creative writing course also features five special guest speaker sessions in which literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W, paired with leading writers and fiction editors, will share their experience and insights with students and answer their questions.
A unique feature of this course is the two ‘mini courses’, the first led by author Kerry Hudson, the second by Nikita Lalwani.
The course takes place in our London offices, at the heart of our business, and is scheduled for evenings to suit participants with full-time jobs and other daytime commitments. All teaching sessions, workshops and visiting speaker sessions will take place in our boardroom.
In the eight years since we’ve started Curtis Brown Creative, over 60 of our former students have gone on to get major publishing deals for their novels. We’ve had some fantastic success stories across all genres, including London course students turned bestselling authors: Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist), Kate Hamer with (The Girl in the Red Coat) and Laura Marshall ( Friend Request). Read more about the published authors who’ve studied with us in London here.
While we can’t guarantee publication or representation, we lavish our expertise on our students. The agents of Curtis Brown and C&W are hungry for new authors and actively looking for clients among our students.
There is also a scholarship opportunity for a talented writer of limited financial means. Bestselling author Jane Fallon has generously provided funding for one writer to attend this course in London or our online 6-month novel-writing course. Find out more about the Jane Fallon Scholarship.
‘Simon is a fantastic tutor who clearly spent a great deal of time preparing and had a great talent for finding each student’s strengths and weaknesses. For me, his advice was nothing short of revolutionary.’
Carmen von Rohr, former student of Simon Wroe’s on the Six-month course
Simon Wroe, author
Simon Wroe's first novel Chop Chop was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for Desmond Elliott Prize and the winner of a Betty Trask Award. His second novel, Here Comes Trouble, was published in April 2017 and was shortlisted for the Everyman Bollinger Wodehouse prize. He writes books and arts reviews for The Economist and features for The Guardian.
Kerry Hudson, Author
Kerry Hudson's first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma was in 2012 by Chatto & Windus and won the Scottish First Book Award and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Kerry’s second novel, Thirst, won France’s most prestigious award for foreign fiction the Prix Femina Étranger. Her memoir, Lowborn, was published in 2019.
Anna Davis, Director
Anna is the founder and Director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. She is the author of five acclaimed novels which have been published in twenty languages. She has been a journalist and Guardian columnist, as well as a Curtis Brown literary agent. She taught creative writing at the University of Manchester and in many other settings before founding Curtis Brown Creative in 2011.
Nikita Lalwani, author
Nikita Lalwani's first novel Gifted was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and was the winner of the Desmond Elliot Prize for New Fiction. Her second novel The Village was published in June 2012. Nikita was a judge for the Orwell Prize in 2013. Photograph: Bucy Neech.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
Weekly Teaching Topics
Lively teaching sessions take place on Thursday evenings
During the first hour of the Thursday class, Simon will teach on a variety of novel-writing topics, such as characterisation and narrative point of view, with discussion, reading materials and writing exercises. Each week, Simon will set a homework task.
Weekly Writing Workshops
Led by Simon Wroe
The group meets weekly, and across the course you'll get three dedicated workshops centring on material from your novel-in-progress with your tutor and fellow students (extracts of 3000 words, each time). These sessions offer in-depth written feedback and are also designed to help develop your self-editing skills.
Two One-to-One Tutorials
Work closely with Simon on your novel in progress
You'll get two 25 minute, one-to-one tutorials with Simon, before the Thursday class starts, based on 3,000 word sections of your novel-in-progress. Use these tutorials to address your specific concerns about your writing.
A 45-minute Agent one-to-one
Get a literary agent's perspective on your novel-in-progress
Near the end of the course all students will get a 45-minute one-to-one tutorial with a Curtis Brown or C&W literary agent. The agent will read a 6,000-word extract from your novel-in-progress plus your synopsis. They will provide detailed feedback and publishing industry advice.
Five Visiting Speaker Evenings
Insights and inspiration from published authors, agents and editors
In five visiting speaker sessions, literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W partner with major authors and top publishing to talk to the student group. These special sessions allow time for Q&As and some visitors like to hear the students' elevator pitches ...
'Mini Courses' from two Guest Authors
Get different teaching perspectives from our two guest tutors
We like to give our students the chance to hear from different author-tutors across the course: Two guest authors will each lead 3 evening teaching sessions (as listed). The first is acclaimed author Kerry Hudson; the second will be with prize winning author Nikita Lalwani.
Agent letter workshop
Expert feedback on the all-important pitch letter
We'll give you the vital do's and don'ts of agent pitch letters - you'll then write your own and CB agent Norah Perkins, plus another CB or C&W literary agent will give you verbal feedback in a group workshop
We'll show you how to nail that tricky synopsis
We'll give you the ingredients of a great synopsis - then you'll write one to share with the group and receive individual feedback from Simon
Share Your Work with Literary Agents
A chance to informally show your work to our team
Ahead of the end of the course drinks session, all students will be invited to submit the 3,000 word opening of their novel, plus a synopsis, to be shared with the agent teams at CB and C&W. This is not a formal submission to the agency but a chance to give the agents a taste of your work at this stage.
Drinks and networking with the agents
Attend an end of course drinks evening with Curtis Brown and C&W Literary Agents
At the end of the course you will be invited to a celebratory drinks reception with the literary agents. You'll get the chance to talk about your novel, to practice pitching, and to chat about books and publishing in an informal setting.
WORKING WITH OTHER WRITERS
We pride ourselves on the tightly-knit writing communities that are established on our courses. As well as getting feedback on extracts from your own novel during the course, we’ll be asking you to read the work of your 14 fellow students week by week, and provide constructive written comments (both in writing and at the group workshop sessions). We find this process helps students develop their own inner editor and has a hugely positive impact on their own writing. Each week three students will submit 3,000-word extracts from their novels-in-progress to be workshopped by the rest of the group and the tutor. It’ll be your turn to get the group’s dedicated workshop attention three times across the course.
New mentoring opportunity
At course end, you’ll be offered the opportunity to sign up for a brand new exclusive mentoring scheme, available only to the alumni of our selective courses. For a fee of £1,500 (including VAT), we’ll match you up with a mentor, who will be one of our team of expert tutors and editors. On three occasions across a period of 6-8 months, your mentor will read up to 10,000 words of your novel-in-progress and discuss the work with you in-depth one-to-one, for 1 hour each time – either in person (if you’re able to meet at a location designated by the mentor) or by skype – as well as giving you 500 words of editorial notes.
Our selective applications process means that you will be writing your novel in a peer group of 15 students working at a high level. Many of our former students have found their tribe with us – and continue to meet up with former class-mates who have become trusted readers long after the course is over.
The course fee of £2,990 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. If you are unable to pay the full fee upfront, we’re happy to discuss payment in instalments. We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest students make their own insurance arrangements if required. Students opting to join the mentoring scheme will be asked to pay a further £1,500 (inc VAT) before their mentoring begins (you don’t need to make a decision about that at this stage).
Please upload your application via the form at the end of this page. If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any questions about the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Read about the guests who’ll be visiting this course in five special sessions, along with a literary agent host (further visiting speakers tbc)
Agent, Curtis Brown
All sessions take place at Curtis Brown’s offices in London. The Thursday teaching and workshop sessions run from 7pm-9pm (with tutorials immediately prior to class – 6pm-7pm)
The visiting speaker sessions are on Tuesdays – 7pm-8.30pm
Thursday 12 September
Teaching Session with Anna Davis and Simon Wroe. Anna and Simon will welcome the group to the course, explain how the course works and share what students should do to get the most out of the three-months.
Inspiration and Ideas
Tuesday 17 September
Visiting Speaker Session with Cathryn Summerhayes (CB) and Lucy Foley (author)
Thursday 19 September
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. This week Simon will discuss where writers get their inspiration.
Plotting and Story
Tuesday 24 September
Visiting Speaker Session with Emma Finn and Katie Greenstreet (along side a publisher TBC)
Thursday 26 September
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will give tips on how to plot and plan your story arc.
Thursday 3 October
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will talk about what makes a good novel opening.
Developing Your Protagonist
Tues 8 October
Visiting Speaker Session Gordon Wise alongside a publisher TBC
Thursday 10 October
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. This week is all about getting inside the head of your main character: what drives them, how do you make them convincing, etc.
Narrative Point of View
Thursday 17 October
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. This week Simon will give guidance on narrative point of view.
Guest Tutor ‘Mini Course’
Tuesday 29 October
Guest Tutor Session with Kerry Hudson
Thursday 31 October
Guest Tutor Session with Kerry Hudson
Voice and Tone
Tuesday 5 November
Final night of the first ‘mini course’. Guest Tutor Session with Kerry Hudson
Thursday 7 November
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will discuss the different stylistic approaches to novel-writing that an author can take.
Developing Your Supporting Cast
Tuesday 12 November
Visiting Speaker Session with Sheila Crowley (CB) and Louise Candlish (author)
Thursday 14 November
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. It is important not to forget about the minor characters which help flesh out the reality of your story.
Thursday 21 November
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Dialogue can make or break a novel and good dialogue is all about authenticity.
Thursday 28 November
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will talk you through what makes a compelling and convincing scene.
Description and Setting
Thursday 5 December
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will share examples of descriptions which really work.
Writing from Life
Thursday 12 December
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. This week Simon will discuss how best to draw inspiration from real life experiences and knowledge.
The Synopsis I
Thursday 9 January
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. During week one of the synopsis workshops Simon will explain why the synopsis is so important to get right and give tips on how to do this.
The Synopsis II
Tuesday 14 January
Visiting Speaker Session with Jonny Geller (CB) with Elif Shafak (author)
Thursday 16 January
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Week two of the synopsis workshops.
Guest Tutor ‘Mini Course’
Tuesday 21 January
Guest Tutor Session with Nikita Lalwani
Thursday 23 January
Guest Tutor Session with Nikita Lalwani
Thursday 30 January
Guest Tutor Session with Nikita Lalwani
Editing and Rewriting
Tuesday 4 February
Letters to Agents session – get feedback on your agent letter from two agents from C&W or CB.
Thursday 6 February
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will talk you through techniques and tips for redrafting and editing your manuscript.
Thursday 13 February
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Your novel needs an ending and finding the right one to do the story justice can be tricky, Simon will help lead the way.
Drinks Reception with Literary Agents
Thursday 27 February
Celebratory evening with a chance to meet the agents from Curtis Brown and C&W.
Thursday 5 March
Teaching Session and Goodbyes with Simon Wroe and Anna Davis.