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  • Events and Courses 2015

    The National Academy of Writing's 2015 programme starts at Cambridge on Tuesday 10th February at Pembroke College in Cambridge. The NAW Director Richard Beard will demonstrate the unique NAW Public Edit on stories or novel extracts submitted by members of the audience, followed by an interview with guest writer Deirdre Madden. Deirdre Madden has twice been shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and her most recent novel is Time Present and Time Past. 

    The first 10-week course of 2015, to be held at the Free Word Centre, London, is for six writers only and will take place every Wednesday evening (6-8pm) from 8th April to 10th June. The 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.

    Writers on the course will benefit from the NAW Public Edit, workshops, presentations and visits from a leading agent and publisher. Agents who have visited previous courses include Nicola Barr from Greene and Heaton, and Imogen Pelham from Aitken Alexander. Recent publishers include Francesca Main, Editorial Director at Picador, and Jane Lawson, Editorial Director at Transworld/Random House.

    Full details of the course can be found here

    In July and August NAW returns to Pembroke College in 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 the College. 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 M. John Harrison, author of the Light trilogy and winner of both an Arthur C.Clarke Award and the Philip K. Dick Award.

    More details about the summer school can be found here, including details of how to apply. The course is open to all.
  • Autumn Season 2014 - Kevin Barry, Alan Hollinghurst

    On Tuesday 7th October at 6pm, in association with Southbank Centre, the National Academy of Writing will present the NAW Public Edit as part of this year's London Literature Festival.

    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.

     
  • Courses 2014

    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.

  • 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 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.
  • 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