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  • Upcoming Events 2014

    The National Academy of Writing's 2014 series of events started in Cambridge on 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 end up on 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 dates for the diary are 19th May and 16th June. Tickets are available one month in advance of each event at the Eventbrite Box Office, with tickets available soon for 19th May.

    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 novel. 

    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 she finished and is now publishing Her Name is Rose through her own hard work and perseverance. The extract she read was her first UK public reading.

    After a break for Easter, NAW is back at the Free Word in May for another 'Creative Writing Course in an Evening' where the Public Edit will be followed by Naomi Wood, whose new novel Mrs Hemingway will be everywhere in 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. 

    Everyone who attends the 'Creative Writing Course in an Evening' can submit a text (fiction or narrative non-fiction) for the Public Edit. Full details can be found at the box office listing.
     


  • NAW 'Creative Writing Course in an Evening' 2014

    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 BeardAnyone 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,
    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.

    Tickets £25, Concessions £20, NAW Members free.
    Freeword Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA
  • NAW 10-week course April-June 2014

    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.

    Classwork

    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.

    Mentoring

    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)

    To Apply

    Writers can apply by sending 3000 words of narrative prose (fiction or non-fiction) to richard@thenationalacademyofwriting.org.uk 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.'

  • Exclusive NAW Ten-Week Course

    Freeword Centre, London
    9 October - 11 December 2013
    Wednesdays: 6.00 - 8.30 p.m.
     

    The new NAW ten-week course will run from 9 October until 11 December 2013.

    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 25 September 2013. Places will be allocated to the six successful writers on 27 September 2013.

    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.

    Classwork

    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.

    Mentoring

    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 9 October Week One
    : 6-8.30pm Introduction, Submission rota, Class: The Ingredients of Narrative Writing

    Wednesday 16 October - Week Two: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop

    Wednesday 23 October - Week Three: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop

    Wednesday 30 October - Week Four: 6-7.15pm Class: Structure; 7.30-8.30pm Publisher Visit

    Wednesday 6 November - Week Five: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop

    Wednesday 13 November - Week Six: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop


    Wednesday 20 November - Week Seven: 6-7.15pm Class: Editing; 7.30-8.30pm Agent Visit

    Wednesday 27 November - Week Eight: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop

    Wednesday 4 December - Week Nine: 6-7pm NAW Masterclass; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop


    Wednesday 11 December - Week Ten: Mentoring (times to be arranged to suit each writer)


    To Apply

    Writers can apply by sending 3000 words of narrative prose (fiction or non-fiction) to richard@thenationalacademyofwriting.org.uk by midnight on Wednesday 25 September.

    NAW will acknowledge receipt of all applications, and successful writers will be notified on Friday 27 September.

    There are 6 places on this course.

    The course costs £1200, payable in full by Friday 4th October, or in two equal instalments (on or before Friday 4th October, and on or before Friday 8th November).
     

    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.'
  • NAW Autumn Season

    September to December 2013

    NAW has successfully completed an inaugural collaboration with Pembroke College, Cambridge on a Creative Writing Summer School. Visiting speakers included Deborah Moggach, Ion Trewin, Sophie Hannah and Sir Michael Holroyd. Professor Fiona Sampson called the course 'a terrifically-rich, layered experience for the participants: much more complex and varied than the usual.' It was a pleasure to work with such responsive writers in such a beautiful location. The Academy is looking forward to staging a similar summer programme in Cambridge during July and August 2014.

    The 'Creative Writing Course in an Evening' events will resume at the Free Word Centre in September. For those missing the excitement of a monthly NAW Public Edit, the photo above links to a set of six One-Page Masterclasses newly assembled on theNAWchannel on youTube. The texts for each First Page edit can be found by typing First Page in Search Articles on this site.

    There will be a one-off NAW 10-week course running from the second week of October through until December. The course will accept a maximum of 6 writers - each writer will have their work Masterclassed (the unique NAW Public Edit) twice. The course will also feature craft seminars, viisiting industry experts and a concluding 1-to-1 mentoring session.

    For those in or near Bristol come November, NAW will be making a third consecutive appearance at the Bristol Festival of Literature. NAW Director Richard Beard will moderate a panel on Characterisation featuring novelists Sanjida O'Connell and Patricia Ferguson. For all writers interested in honing their skills there will be a demonstration NAW Public Edit and Man Booker shortlisted Alison Moore will discuss her habits and tricks as a novelist.