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EXPERT FEEDBACK, PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE...
The first hour is the unique NAW Public Edit. Everyone attending this event may submit a text of up to 2000 words, in any genre of fiction or non-fiction. Two texts are chosen at random and distributed to the audience in advance. Novelist, non-fiction writer and NAW Director Richard Beard will then publicly edit these texts, working on the principle that writers face similar challenges and an edit for one is an edit for all.
In the second hour, novelist and short story writer Kevin Barry will talk about his process as a writer. Kevin Barry has published two collections of short stories, and the novel City of Bohane, winner of the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His eagerly-awaited new novel, Beatlebone, will be published in 2015. At Southbank with NAW, Kevin Barry will be taking the 'pen or word-processor?' question seriously. How do writers get the work done? What does it take to fix the words on the page?
On November 4th in Pembroke College, Cambridge, the novelist Alan Hollinghurst will be doing something similar. Alan Hollinghurst is the author of five novels, including The Line of Beauty, winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize. The Cambridge event will also feature the NAW Public Edit, focusing on two texts submitted by the audience. The Southbank event in London is open to all, and tickets are available here (£15, Concessions 50%). The Cambridge event is open to members of the National Academy of Writing and Cambridge University.
At both events plenty of time is allotted for questions, a rare opportunity to ask brilliant writers direct questions about how they actually write.
New 10-Week Course Starting October 2014
‘Beard's unique public edits are as bracing and vital as a Nordic sauna. He is authoritative yet sympathetic, insightful but never cutting.’
Mike Aylwin, NAW 2013
The next NAW ten-week course will run from early October at the Free Word Centre in London. Six writers will be selected for this course, and applications can be made after reading the full course details here.
This course is suitable for writers who wish to improve their work through detailed attention to language and narrative strategies, and the six writers chosen for the course will benefit from editorial feedback generated by the unique NAW Public Edit.
The ten weeks also feature the NAW workshop, presentations on various narrative techniques, mentoring and visits by a publisher and an agent who give an overview of the industry as it is today.
“The course works as a whole entity. Having the visit breaks every 3 weeks is one of the many design aspects that I think works perfectly.”
Christine Breen Williams, author of Her Name is Rose (St Martins Press, New York 2015), and NAW 2011.
Tuesday 18th February. The early evening event at Pembroke College featured two texts submitted from the audience for the NAW Public Edit, with NAW Director Richard Beard. The Public Edit was followed by guest writer Kazuo Ishiguro, who revealed his personal tricks and techniques for making sure the words leave his head and reach the page.
The Cambridge event filled the ancient space of the Pembroke Old Library, and was described by one Cambridge English Literature student as 'the best evening I've had in Cambridge'. We aim to please.
The popular combination of NAW Public Edit and guest writer continues as our 'Creative Writing Course in an Evening' at London's Free Word Centre. The next date for the diary is 16th June. Tickets are available now.
As February's speaker NAW was delighted to welcome the novelist Jill Dawson, whose new novel The Tell-Tale Heart is published by Sceptre. Jill Dawson has published eight novels in all, and has featured as a Richard and Judy Summer Read and on the short-list for the Orange Prize and the Whitbread (Costa) Novel Award. Jill brought in her notebooks and compared the impressions from a research day in the Fens to the prose in the finished book.
In March Christine Breen, the Irish-American novelist and former NAW student spoke about her method as the writer of Her Name is Rose, a debut novel to be published by St Martin's Press in New York in early 2015. Christine was very kind about her experience of the National Academy of Writing, but essentially the success of Her Name is Rose came about through hard work and perseverance. The extract she read was her first UK public reading.
After a break for Easter, NAW was back at the Free Word in May where the Public Edit was followed by Naomi Wood, whose new novel Mrs Hemingway is one of the finest reads of 2014. Naomi Wood is a graduate of Cambridge Univeristy and the Creative Writing MA at UEA, and her first novel The Godless Boys was published to critical acclaim by Picador in 2011.
On June 16th there will be the usual Public Edit, for which submissions are welcome, and the guest writer will be Monique Roffey. Monique was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2010 and has won the OCM BOCAS Award for Caribbean Literature. Her latest novel, House of Ashes, is published in July.
Everyone who attends the 'Creative Writing Course in an Evening' on June 16th can submit a text (fiction or narrative non-fiction) for the Public Edit. Full details can be found at the box office listing.
Returning in February 2014!NAW's monthly event offers insights into the skills needed to write and re-write effective texts. The two-hour event condenses the technical expertise shareable between writers, and is a practical approach to writing focused on improvement rather than academic requirements.
The first hour is the unique NAW Public Edit with NAW Director Richard Beard. Anyone attending may submit a text of up to 2000 words, in any genre of fiction or non-fiction. Two texts will be chosen at random, the writers notified, and their work distributed to the other participants in advance. The NAW Public Edit answers the need to learn about craft in the most direct possible way, by looking closely at a specific piece of writing. For the audience, the Public Edit follows the Conservatoire principle that all writers face similar problems. An edit for one is an edit for all.
The second hour is a a chance to hear published writers take the 'pen or word-processor?' question seriously. How do writers get the work done? What does it take to get the words on the page? NAW works on the basis that every writer is best qualified to talk about themselves,Tickets £25, Concessions £20, NAW Members free.
and each writer approaches this talk in a different way, but there wll always be plenty of time for questions.
Writers who have recently spoken about their process for NAW include Keith Ridgway, Elziabeth Buchan, Minette Walters, Kevin Barry, Frances Fyfield, Iain Banks, Jennie Rooney, Jess Richards, Linda Grant, Jojo Moyes, Simon Brett, Jane Harris, David Almond and Alison Moore.
The line-up for 2014 will be announced imminently. The schedule of dates is here.
The NAW Creative Writing Course in an Evening event takes place from 6-8 pm at the Freeword Centre in London. There are 25 spaces available for each NAW 'Creative Writing Course in an Evening', and the places will go to the first 25 to apply. The box office for each event opens one month in advance.
Freeword Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA
Exclusive NAW Ten-Week Course Freeword Centre, London 2 April - 4 June 2014
Wednesdays: 6.00 - 8.30 p.m.
The next NAW ten-week course will run from 2 April until 4 June 2014. Six writers will be selected for this course, and applications can be made by sending 3000 words of narrative prose (fiction or non-fiction) to NAW Director Richard Beard by the deadline of midnight 12 March 2014. Places will be allocated to the six successful writers on 14 March 2014.
This course is suitable for writers who have early drafts of novels, novel chapters or stories that they wish to improve through detailed attention to the text. During the course the six writers will benefit from the precise editorial feedback generated by the NAW Masterclass, as well as a collective reader response from the Creative Writing workshop.
The NAW Masterclass
The unique NAW Masterclass is an innovative public edit that answers the need to learn about craft in the most direct possible way, by looking closely at a specific piece of writing. Your piece of writing.
Twice over the ten weeks of the course each writer will submit a text of up to 2000 words. This text will be read in advance by the writers on the course and then publicly edited by NAW Director Richard Beard. The NAW Masterclass works on the Conservatoire principle that all writers face similar challenges, and an edit for one is an edit for all. All writers receive a copy of the detailed Masterclass edit to take away.
The NAW Workshop
The NAW workshop is an opportunity to try out extracts of work (up to 3000 words) that may feel less finished than those submitted to the Masterclass. The workshop acts as a community of writers, an attentive readership committed to expressing a considered critical opinion. The NAW workshop will improve reading and analytical skills as well as benefitting the writer.
All writers will be sent the workshop texts to read in advance, and the objective of the workshop is always to improve the end result – the writing. There will be no reading out loud of texts.
The course includes an introductory class, in which Richard Beard will discuss the technical ingredients that go into making a succesful narrative. During the course there will be two further classes that offer guidelines on how to exploit structure for narrative effect, and on strategies for editing.
The Writing Industry
The course will be visited by an editor from a major publishing house and a literary agent. The visiting speakers on this course are Francesca Main, Editorial Director at Picador, and Nicola Barr from Greene and Heaton. There will be plenty of time for questions.
The tenth week of the course is a one-hour 1-to-1 with the NAW Director for a personalised overview of the work submitted to the course, and a look ahead to what happens next.
NAW 10-Week Course Timetable
The course consists of nine 2.5 hour evening sessions, which will take place on Wednesdays from 6.00-8.30pm at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon Road, London.
Wednesday 2 April Week One: 6-8.30pm Introduction, Submission rota, Class: The Ingredients of Narrative Writing
Wednesday 9 April - Week Two: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 16 April - Week Three: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 23 April - Week Four: 6-7.15pm Class: Structure; 7.30-8.30pm Publisher Visit
Wednesday 30 April - Week Five: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 7 May - Week Six: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 14 May - Week Seven: 6-7.15pm Class: Editing; 7.30-8.30pm Agent Visit
Wednesday 21 May - Week Eight: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 28 May - Week Nine: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 4 June December - Week Ten: Mentoring (times to be arranged to suit each writer)
Writers can apply by sending 3000 words of narrative prose (fiction or non-fiction) to email@example.com by midnight on Wednesday 12 March.
NAW will acknowledge receipt of all applications, and successful writers will be notified on Friday 14 March.
There are 6 places on this course.
The course costs £1250, payable in full by Friday 28th March, or in two equal instalments (on or before Friday 28th October, and on or before Friday 2nd May).
Previous NAW Writers
Christine Breen Williams, author of Her Name is Rose (St Martins Press, New York 2015): “The course works as a whole entity. Having the visit breaks every 3 weeks is one of the many design aspects that I think works perfectly.”
Nicola Gault: “I've really enjoyed the course - have learnt so much.”
Ziggy Evitts: “... lots of helpful stuff about language and character etc, with a level of insight and precision that is bloody breathtaking.”
Press on NAW Masterclass
‘Impressive ... precise, intelligent and unarguable.' Leo Benedictus, Prospect magazine
‘After my initial shock, I felt pathetically grateful.’ Nigel Farndale, Sunday Telegraph
NAW Honorary President Ion Trewin, Literary Director of the Man Booker Prizes
'Richard’s declared intention for the course is to attract writers whose work is better than promising, but not yet good enough to find a publisher. With publishers cutting back on editors rather than acquirers the course is timely. It is Richard’s avowed wish that his students will learn from his teaching, that the quality of what they are writing will improve, that agents and publishers will queue up for their work.'