Three-Month Novel-Writing Course With Suzannah Dunn

Deep-dive into your novel with expert tuition, a strong peer group and advice from literary agents. All online, and with flexible scheduling.


Nov 11 2019 - Mar 09 2020


Take this course from anywhere in the world

Selective Entry

We offer places to the most talented applicants

Course Fee £1,600

Work on your novel with the experts


We’ve designed this online novel-writing course to be as useful and fulfilling as the courses we run in our offices, with contributions from agents here at Curtis Brown and C&W in London. This is a course for people who are serious about writing a novel. As well as being packed with useful content, it’s flexible so you can write and study at times to suit you.

Author and experienced tutor Suzannah Dunn will give direct feedback to students on their novels-in-progress via weekly online workshops, one-to-one tutorials and writing exercises. Via our online learning platform, you’ll get access to teaching videos, notes and resources from our CBC tutor team (listed below).

The Curtis Brown and C&W literary agents plus the Editorial Director at Borough Press (HarperFiction) Charlotte Cray, will offer writing and pitching advice in special events across the course. At the end of the course, students get to share the opening of their novels informally with the agent teams at Curtis Brown and C&W.

In the eight years since we first launched Curtis Brown Creative, over 70 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 online course students  Jane Harper (The Dry) and Nicholas Searle (The Good Liar), both now international bestsellers whose novels are being adapted for the big screen. You can read more about our online course success stories 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 will be actively looking for clients among our writers.

‘Suzannah is a fantastic mentor; she brings you out as it were, gets you to talk about yourself and your novel – where it’s going, where it’s not going, what you’re happy about, what you don’t feel you’re managing well. Most important of all,  Suzannah encouraged me to see my novel more clearly and to feel positive about the changes that (once again) she led me to make’
Fynvola Le Hunte Ward, CBC alumna


Suzannah Dunn, author

Suzannah Dunn wrote six critically acclaimed contemporary novels and a short story collection before her first historical novel, The Queen of Subtleties, was published in 2004. It has been followed by five more Tudor novels, the latest of which, Lady of Misrule, was published in May 2015 by Little, Brown.


Teaching Videos & Tasks

Advice on key topics from our tutor team

The course takes a new topic each week. You'll get teaching videos and notes from our tutor team, and Suzannah will add her thoughts on each module and set tasks for the group - writing exercises or discussion. Topics tackled include plotting, characterisation, point-of-view and rewriting. 

Writing Workshops

Led by Suzannah Dunn

You'll get two dedicated workshops centring on material from your novel-in-progress with your tutor and the group (Extracts of 3000 words, each time). These sessions offer in-depth written feedback and are also designed to help develop your editing skills.

Student Forum

The hub of our online courses - find your writing community

We have developed a bespoke learning platform exclusively for our students. Here you can give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and tutor.

One-to-One Tutorials

Extracts of your novel will be closely reviewed by your tutor

You'll get two 30 minute, one-to-one tutorials with your tutor Suzannah Dunn, conducted over the phone or via Skype, based on 3,000 word sections of your novel-in-progress. Use these tutorials to address your specific concerns about your writing.

Charlotte Cray, editor

Pitch Workshop

Practise your elevator pitch with a publishing editor

We'll give you advice on how to pitch your novel effectively, and then bring in Charlotte Cray (editorial director at Borough Press) to give individual written feedback to all students.

Editing Your Novel

Synopsis Advice

Our tips on how to conquer the dreaded synopsis

We'll draw on our agenting expertise to give you the vital ingredients of a great synopsis - then you'll write one, and Suzannah will give you individual written feedback.

Literary Agent Q&A

Get answers from our team of literary agents

In a special session, you'll put questions to members of the Curtis Brown, and C&W agent teams in the discussion space, and gain their answers on how to navigate the choppy waters of the publishing industry.

Agent Letter Session

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 the agents from Curtis Brown and C&W will give you written feedback, plus their tips on how to bypass the slush pile.

End of Course Submission

Share your opening with the Curtis Brown and C&W agents

At the end of the course 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.


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 privately and in our online discussion space). 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 two 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.

Guest Sessions

This course offers direct interaction with literary agents at Curtis Brown and C&W and with Charlotte Cray, Editorial Director at Borough Press. You’ll also get teaching videos from your tutor Suzannah Dunn and from the author-tutors on our team:

Application Process

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 trusted readers with us – and form strong working friendships with class-mates which go on long after the course is over.

The course fee of £1,600 (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, let us know and we can discuss a payment plan. 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 more questions about the course, please email cbccourses@curtisbrown.co.uk for assistance.

Course Schedule


Inspiration and Reading as Writers

Monday 11 November – Sunday 17 November 

With videos from Anna Davis and Chris Wakling

see more



Monday 18 November – Sunday 24 November

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

see more


Writing from Life

Monday 25 November – Sunday 1 December

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

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Story, Plotting & Planning

Monday 2 December – Sunday 8 December

With videos from Chris Wakling

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Voice and Narrative Point of View

Monday 9 December – Sunday 15 December

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

see more



Monday 16 December – Sunday 12 January

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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Description, Tone & Style

Monday 13 January – Sunday 19 January

With videos from Erin Kelly

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Monday 20 January – Sunday 26 January

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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Building Suspense

Monday 27 January – Sunday 2 February

With videos from Erin Kelly

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Monday 3 February – Sunday 9 February

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

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Editing and Rewriting

Monday 10 February – Sunday 16 February

With videos from Jake Arnott

see more


The Synopsis

Monday 17 February – Sunday 1 March

With videos from Anna Davis and a synopsis workshop with your tutor

see more


Final Questions

Monday 2 March – Sunday 8 March

A second synopsis workshop with your tutor and a chance to ask questions that have arisen for you across the course and get answers from your tutor in this final teaching week

see more


End of Course Submission

Monday 9 March – Sunday 15 March

Students to submit 3,000 word opening and one-page synopsis to be read by the Curtis Brown and C&W literary agents

see more

Ready to Apply?

Please apply with the first 3,000 words of the novel you’d like to work on during the course, and a synopsis of no more than a page (both need to be in the same document, as you can only upload ONE file in the application form). The application deadline is midnight, end of day Sunday 13th October, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 17th October.

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