Autumn 2021 Writing Events

Staunch Short Story Prize
Dates: Submissions close 1 September
How to enter: http://staunchbookprize.com/enter-2021/
The Staunch Short Story and Flash Fiction prize is looking for well-written, exciting thrillers that offer an alternative narrative to stories based around violence to women. That doesn’t mean we’re just looking for thrillers that feature men in jeopardy instead, but stories in which female characters don’t have to be raped before they can be empowered, or become casual collateral to pump up the plot.


Week of Creative Writing via the Guildford Book Festival (Online Class)
Date/Time: Monday-Friday, 10am-12pm, 4-8 October
Cost: £45
Booking details: http://www.guildfordbookfestival.co.uk/creative-writing-workshop
If you have always wanted to write but are not sure where to start, then why not join us on our creative writing course being held over five weekday mornings during the Festival. Each lesson will focus on a different aspect of the writing process. The classes will be held via Zoom but will be practical and interactive. Each class is a mixture of lecture, discussion, and applied writing. The course is opened to all levels, meaning that each session can be tailored to your own goals.

Make ’em Laugh – Writing Comedy (Online Class)
Date/Time: Starting Wednesday 6 October 6.30 pm – 8.30pm, runs for 6 weeks
Cost: £48/£42 Code: 05 109
Booking Details: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/make-em-laugh-writing-comedy-tickets-161430514013
Using literature as a guide, this class will look at the process of writing comedy for both prose and scripts. By investigating different forms of comedy from satire to gallows’ humour, to pratfalls, we will unearth the universality of laughter and the cultural conditions that make something funny. The course will be a mixture of lecture, reading, class discussion, and writing prompts, and it is aimed at those looking to write comedy or who just enjoy the humour of it all.

Braemar Creative Arts FestivalThe Braemar Creative Arts
Festival will be face-to-face again this year, and I am slotted for a writing class. Dates and times are yet to be announced, but I did want to put this on your radar. Keep an eye on my website for when the schedule is posted.

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Upcoming Writing Events

  • Lifelong Learning: Grammar for Native Speakers Course
  • Staunch Short Story Prize
  • The Braemar Creative Arts Festival: Creative Writing Weekend
  • Dundee Women’s Festival: Talk with Dr Donna Bonner
  • Braemarnia Project: Reading and a Video
  • Guildford Book Festival: Creative Writing Week

The Confident Writer – Grammar for Native Speakers Course
Host: Lifelong Learning Dundee
Dates/Times: Wednesdays 6.30-8.30, 24 Feb-24 March
Book At: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-confident-writer-advanced-grammar-tickets-118128378159

Aimed at native and/or fluent speakers of English, this course will help you polish your writing – whether it’s a report  for work or a piece of creative writing.  Starting with a review of the basics so the following weeks will cover topics such as verb tense, sentence structure, syntax, lexicology and word usage. The course balances lectures with practical tasks to enable students to apply the information immediately to their own writing.

Staunch Short Story Prize
Dates: Open to submissions from 1 March to 1 August
How to enter: http://staunchbookprize.com/enter-2021/

The Staunch Short Story and Flash Fiction prize is looking for well-written, exciting thrillers that offer an alternative narrative to stories based around violence to women. That doesn’t mean we’re just looking for thrillers that feature men in jeopardy instead, but stories in which female characters don’t have to be raped before they can be empowered, or become casual collateral to pump up the plot.

Creative Writing Weekend
Host: Braemar Creative Arts Festival
Dates: Saturday and Sunday, 6th and 7th March
To Book: Contact braemarartsfestival@gmail.com to express book and for more information regarding times.

Our schedules and our lives have been thrown out of kilter over the last year, making it difficult to focus on that creative project. Therefore, this weekend writing retreat may be just what you need to get the pen on the page. Aimed at both beginners and those who are working on a project, this virtual retreat will provide a supportive environment to all budding authors.

The weekend will start with discussions of character and run through to developing a plot, and screen time will be a combination of guided discussions, creative prompts, and dedicated individual writing time. You’ll have an option to work on an ongoing project, or you can come along to create something new. Support, mentoring and motivation will be the theme of the day.

‘Resilience in Challenging Times: Lessons from Earlier Losses’ with Dr Donna Bonner
Host: Graduate Women Scotland East, in conjunction with the Dundee Women’s Festival
Dates: Monday, 8 March 4pm
To Book: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/resilience-in-challenging-times-lessons-from-earlier-losses-tickets-140138497017

Dr Bonner is a cultural anthropologist who has worked in several countries. In 2005, her life was disrupted by the Hurricane Katrina Disaster and her home was destroyed. Now riding out the Covid-19 pandemic she shares her experiences on trauma recovery and resilience.

I will be chairing this talk with Dr Donna Bonner.

Braemarnia Project: Readings and a Video
Host: Scottish Ecological Design Association
The Braemarnia: A Village’s Story video will be featured at the 12 April ‘Land Conversations’ event. I’ll also be on the panel to talk more about the project. More info is available at: https://www.seda.uk.net/a-story-for-the-future

Also, as a part of the series, I am reading a section from Braemarnia on 22 March for their ‘Natural Benefits’ discussion. More info here on the event: https://www.seda.uk.net/natural-benefits 

Week of Creative Writing
Host: Guildford Book Festival
Date/Time: Monday-Friday, 10am-12pm, 4-8 October
Watch this space for booking details: http://www.guildfordbookfestival.co.uk/

If you have always wanted to write but are not sure where to start, then why not join us on our creative writing course being held over five weekday mornings during the Festival. Each lesson will focus on a different aspect of the writing process. The classes will be held via Zoom but will be practical and interactive. Each class is a mixture of lecture, discussion, and applied writing. The course is opened to all levels, meaning that each session can be tailored to your own goals.

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Autumn 2020 Writing Classes

In October I will be teaching three classes, including a Crime Writing class and a Grammar Class. Please check out the courses below.

Creative Writing – All Levels
Organiser: Guildford Book Festival
Dates: Mon. 5th October – Fri. 9th October
Times: 10am – Noon each day
Cost: £40 for the week
http://www.guildfordbookfestival.co.uk/creative-writing-workshop

This creative writing class is aimed at all levels. You’re welcome to use this course as an opportunity to try something new, or you can use the time to brush-up on a long-standing project. We’ll be discussing character, plotting, setting, voice and language.

Creative Writing – Crime Fiction
Organiser: Guildford Book Festival
Dates: Sun. 11th Oct
Time: 10am – 5pm.Cost: £28 for the day
http://www.guildfordbookfestival.co.uk/writing-crime-fiction

The workshop will be a mixture of lecture, discussion, and applied writing, and it will be highly interactive. The class will start with writing the detective, and then move through to the villain, the victim, and plotting. The day will round out with discussions of setting and readerships. All levels welcome.

Perfecting Your Grammar
Organiser: Lifelong Learning Dundee
Dates: Starts 7th Oct and runs for 5 weeks
Time: 6.30pm-8.30pmCost: £40 for the whole course (£35 concession)
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/perfecting-your-grammar-tickets-118125802455

This course is aimed at native English speakers who would like to brush up their grammar and spelling and develop their confidence in writing for work or pleasure. 

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Braemarnia: A Village’s Story of Nature and Myth

As a part of the Breamarnia Project, my buddy Annie Marie and I put together a film that will debut at the Women’s Library ‘Open the Door’ Festival. Supported by the Open University, this short documentary tells of how this community-written novel came about, and how much of the village’s history is attached to its surroundings. A focal point of the story is about how the mountains, the river Dee, and the ever-changing environment acts as a character in the novel

Join us on 18 May at 2pm:

https://womenslibrary.org.uk/discover-our-projects/open-the-door/open-the-door-2020/open-the-door-2020-online-events/monday-18th-may/

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Lockdown Classes and A Writing Opportunity

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Open Studio at the Fife Arms

If you’re in Braemar for the Creative Arts Festival, pop by the Fife Arms and say ‘hello’. I’ll be in residence working on Braemarnia, and I’m inviting the public to participate in the project. Write a scene, edit a draft, or just have a natter.

October 23 & 24, 2-4pm

http://thefifearms.com/23-24-oct-braemarnia-open-studio/

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A Few Days with the Brontës

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The Old School House in Haworth

On Friday I had the unforgettable privilege of teaching in the same room as the Brontës. The Old School House is to one side of the Brontë Parsonage Museum. The school was built by Patrick Brontë, and he and two of his daughters taught there. Despite the florescent lights and projector, the room still holds an echoey ambiance surely bound up in nearly 200 years of educational use. Curved arched windows look out to rustling tree leaves. It was not difficult to imagine Patrick Brontë commanding a room of local children.
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The Question of Gender and Violence in Crime Fiction

I’ve taught a few crime fiction classes (as both creative writing and as literature courses), and often the majority of my students (which are predominately women) state that when reading crime fiction they either skip pages with graphic violence* or stop reading.

This leads us to the following question…

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New Post with the Open U

A quick update on some exciting news. As of 1 October, I will be teaching on the Open University’s ‘Advanced Creative Writing’ course as an Associate Lecturer. Looking forward to getting stuck in!

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2019 Autumn and Winter Classes

IMG_6407It’s autumn, which means I’ve got a batch of new classes coming up. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like more info, or click on the corresponding link.

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