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  • NAW at St Hilda's, Oxford, 25 July - 19 August 2016

    • In July and August 2016 NAW is running a new course in the beautiful and inspiring surroundings of St Hilda's College Oxford. The 2016 St Hilda's College - National Academy of Writing Summer Programme is a four-week residential experience that builds on the successful programme that began in 2013 at Pembroke College, Cambridge. 

      The Summer Programme combines the most effective features of National Academy of Writing and Oxford University teaching. The course will be led by the National Academy of Writing’s Director Richard Beard and by award-winning novelist Kerry Hudson, and is above all about the practice and techniques of writing.
       
      The intensive combination of lectures, supervisions and seminars emulates an Oxford term, with the difference that every class is given by a working writer - the programme concentrates on the practical challenges of creating compelling writing, whatever the approach or genre.

      This year the invitational lectures will be given by a range of internationally prize-winning novelists and writers, including Sophie Hannah, best-selling heir to Agatha Christie, Deborah Moggach, novelist and screenwriter for the Oscar-nominated Pride and Prejudice, A.L.Kennedy, winner of the overall Costa Book of the Year Award and Liz Jensen, nominated three times for the Orange Prize. 

      Tutorials are at the heart of the Oxford University teaching and learning experience. Small groups of students meet with an expert in the field – the tutor – to review and progress their work. Throughout the four-week course students will submit pieces of writing and the supervisor will facilitate a constructive discussion of the work.

      The NAW supervisors this year, and their most recent novels, are Francesca Brill (The Harbour, 2013), Jonathan Gibbs (Randall, 2014), Nicholas Hogg (Tokyo, 2015) and Christie Watson (Where Women Are Kings, 2014)
    • St Hilda's College is now accepting application and enquiries

  • NAW Autumn Season 2015

    During Autumn 2015 there are three opportunities to submit texts to the NAW Public Edit. Or just come along, and see what makes this event one of the most innovative and informative highlights of the UK Creative Writing calendar.

    On 13 October the Public Edit will be at St Hilda's College, Oxford, from 6-8pm. The evening will follow the standard NAW format, where the first hour is the unique NAW Public Edit for which everyone with a ticket can submit a text of up to 2000 words, in any genre of fiction or non-fiction.

    Two texts will be chosen at random and distributed to ticket-holders 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 at St Hilda's, in the fabulous Jacqueline du Pré Music Buildingnovelist Mark Watson will talk about his process as a 
    writer, taking the 'pen or word-processor?' question seriously. How as awriter does Mark Watson get the work of writing done? Every life has its distractions, perhaps especially the life of an internationally renowned stand-up comedian, so how does Mark succeed in fixing the words on the page?

    The same two-hour format will apply for our regular autumn appearance at Pembroke College Cambridge. This year's event will take place from 5-7pm on Monday 23rd November and the guest author will be ManBooker shortlisted author Deborah Levy. As well as novels and short stories, Deborah Levy is an acclaimed writer for theatre, radio and TV.

    The second in a new series of NAW Public Edits, hosted by Writers & Artists at the home of Bloomsbury Publishing in London, is scheduled for 26th November (6.30-8.30 p.m). Submissions of 2000 words, as always, are welcome, and the guest author is Benjamin Wood, whose second novel The Ecliptic was published this summer to wide critical acclaim. Benjamin's first novel The Bellwether Revivals was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Book Prize, and in France won Le Prix du Roman Fnac
    Tickets for these NAW Public Edits are available now, for St Hilda's College in Oxford or with Writers & Artists in London. As at all NAW events, there will be plenty of time for questions.

  • NAW/Pembroke Summer Programme 2015

    In July and August NAW returns to Pembroke College, Cambridge, for the third annual  Pembroke College - National Academy of Writing Summer Programme. This is a residential course that takes place over four weeks in in the beautiful and inspiring setting of one of Cambridge University's oldest Colleges.

    The Summer Programme combines the most effective features of National Academy of Writing and Cambridge University teaching. The course will be led by the National Academy of Writing’s Director Richard Beard and by the award-winning novelist Kerry Hudson, and is above all about the practice and techniques of writing.
     
    The intensive combination of lectures, supervisions and seminars emulates a Cambridge term, with the difference that every class is given by a working writer - the programme concentrates on the practical challenges of creating compelling writing, whatever the approach or genre.

    This year the invitational lectures will be given by a range of internationally prize-winning novelists and writers, including John Boyne, author of The Boy in The Striped Pajamas, Deborah Moggach, novelist and screenwriter for the Oscar-nominated Pride and Prejudice, A.L.Kennedy, winner of the overall Costa Book of the Year Award and Liz Jensen, nominated three times for the Orange Prize. 

    Supervisions are at the heart of the Cambridge University teaching and learning experience. Small groups of students meet with an expert in the field – the supervisor – to review and progress their work. Throughout the four-week course students will submit pieces of writing and the supervisor will facilitate a constructive discussion of the work.

    The NAW supervisors this year, and their most recent novels, are Francesca Brill (The Harbour, 2013), Jonathan Gibbs (Randall, 2014), Nicholas Hogg (Tokyo, 2015) and Lauren Owen (The Quick, 2014).
  • NAW Public Edit for Writers and Artists

    NAW is putting on an evening event for Writers and Artists in their Bloomsbury home on 16th June. This is an evening event (6.30-8.30) that will demonstrate the NAW Public Edit followed by a talk from guest author Christie Watson.

    As always, everyone attending an NAW Public Edit may submit a text of up to 2000 words. The writing can be any genre of fiction or narrative non-fiction, and two of these submissions will be chosen at random and distributed to ticket-holders in advance.

    NAW Director Richard Beard will then publicly edit these texts in front of the audience, working on the principle that all writers face similar challenges and an edit for one is an edit for all. For The National Academy of Writing, it's an article of faith that more can be learned by looking in detail at specific pieces of writing than from any number of Creative Writing generalisations.

    In the second hour, Costa First Novel Award Winner Christie Watson will talk about her process as a writer, taking the infamous 'pen or word-processor?' question seriously. How do writers get the work done? What does it take to fix the words on the page? As an expert on herself and her own work, Christie will explain the processes she followed to produce the prize-winning and widely-translated novels Tiny Sunbirds Far Away and Where Women are Kings. 

    Details about ticketing, along with information about how to submit a text for the NAW Public Edit, are available on the events page at the Writers and Artists website.
  • Ion Trewin 1943-2015

    Ion Trewin, Honorary President of The National Academy of Writing, has died aged 71. In 2009, Ion succeeded Melvyn Bragg and immediately involved himself by attending one of the first NAW Public Edits staged in London. He wrote a generous appraisal of the experience that reassured the editor and audience alike that NAW was moving in a useful direction. From then on, the many skills that went into making Ion such a success as literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation also benefitted The National Academy of Writing.

    Ion Trewin was a perfect fit for the Academy's approach to passing on knowledge about how to write, whatever the genre. As first a literary journalist, then an editor of fiction and non fiction, Ion was steeped in an appreciation of readerly needs. In the tumult and egoism of creation writers can sometimes forget that writing is only one part of the process - despite (or because of) his parallel career as a biographer Ion was an expert at balancing the sometimes conflicting desires of reader and writer.

    As a veteran of the literary industry, and someone who chose not to go to University, Ion was in sympathy with NAW's pragmatic approach to getting words on the page: theories and curricula may help justify academic credits but don't always contribute to the writing of interesting books. Knowing how language works, and re-writing sentences and paragraphs as often as necessary, provides a more reliable pathway to compelling literature.

    It has been a privilege to know Ion, and in particular to play (and lose) at the annual game of trying to provoke an indiscretion about the Man Booker prize. The only criticism of a Booker contender I can remember was the complaint as much of a keen gardener as a sharp literary critic - Ion was astounded that a shortlisted novelist could feature a garden with plants in flower so obviously out of season.

    The National Academy of Writing has been immensely fortunate to have a literary figure of Ion's stature to offer such welcome and good-humoured wisdom. We shall miss him.