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Novel Writing Summer School Short Course

Key information

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Course Code:
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Booking Deadline:
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Covid-19 update: The learning doesn't have to stop, join our online community. We will be delivering courses remotely until further notice. Live tutor support and virtual lessons will take place during advertised teaching hours. The classes are taught in small groups, so you'll get lots of support from your tutor. Book now.

Led by an established writer, the Novel Writing Summer School covers essential novel writing techniques and constructs, giving you the skills and confidence to work on your own novel.

Why choose this course?

City's Novel Writing Summer School is part of City's range of short creative writing courses that boasts a growing list of published alumni. An intermediate-level course aimed at those who have done some writing in the past, the Novel Writing Summer Programme is open to writers keen to make a solid start on that novel they’ve been thinking about, or to develop work they’ve already begun.

Delivered from the heart of London and taught by a professional writer and editor, a City writing course is the ideal way to take your potential as a writer to the next level.

Course overview

An intensive week-long writing course, taught at our Central London campus, the Novel Writing Summer School will range from the basic practicalities of novel writing to advanced concepts and techniques. Through exercises, lectures, selected reading and workshop discussion, you will examine the use of vital aspects of the craft and develop your understanding of essential elements: finding the centre (generating and developing ideas), openings, description/evoking time and place, character, narrative development, plotting, narration, voice and more.

There will be concrete advice on supporting your practice as a writer and revising and editing your work and you will have the opportunity to share work in progress and receive motivational feedback from the course tutor and your peers.

This course is ideal preparation for our Writers’ Workshop and The Novel Studio courses.

  • “ I loved the structure of the course and the connection with literature it had ”


    Former student

  • “ I have learned so many interesting insights into writing techniques that have helped me to both read and write more maturely. My novel is starting to develop a shape that it didn’t have before and I’m already redrafting the opening chapter with much greater confidence in what I want to say and how to say it. ”

    Prof. Julia Fionda

    Former student

  • “ Great course, well taught ”

    Jonny Parish

    Former student

  • “ I found Kirstan (the tutor) encouraging and positive to each of us ”

    Valerie Witanska

    Former student

  • “ So much covered in such a short space of time, providing quality and quanity ”

    Linda Fripps

    Former student

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Over the course of the week-long summer school, you will:

  • Make a solid start on that novel you’ve been thinking about, or to develop work you’ve started;
  • Gain a greater understanding of the themes and techniques inherent in excellent fiction;
  • Give and receive feedback on work in progress in a workshop setting;
  • Assemble and make best use of the tools that are needed to complete a sustained piece of fiction.

The Summer School will also cover:

  • Finding the centre (generating / developing ideas)
  • Openings
  • Characterisation
  • Modes of narration / point of view
  • Narrative development
  • Plotting
  • Description / evoking time and place
  • Voice
  • Synopsis / planning document
  • Reading as a writer
  • Self-editing; analysing your own and others’ work

The structure of each day will be as follows:

Morning session 10:30-12:30, lunch 12:30-13:30, afternoon session 13:30-15:30

a.m. – Character and Voice
p.m. – Finding the centre

a.m. – Aspects of structure
p.m. – Plotting

a.m. – Plotting 2
p.m. – Description / Evoking time and place

a.m. – Modes of narration / Point of view
p.m. – Voice 2 / Dialogue

a.m. - Synopsis
p.m. - Getting published



Prerequisite knowledge

Some writing experience and an idea for a novel or novella.

English requirements

Applicants must have fluent written and spoken English.

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

Informal assessment will take place through group discussion, class room activities, and questions and answers sessions as guided by your tutor.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

  • Mittelmark, H. and Newman, S, (2009)How Not To Write A Novel. London: Penguin
  • The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook (annual). London: A & C Black, or
  • Barry, T., ed. (annual) The Writers' Handbook. London: Macmillan
  • Mullan J. (12 Oct 2006) How Novels Work. OUP Oxford

Tutor information

  • Martin Ouvry

    Martin is a writer, teacher, editor and musician. His writing has won a number of awards including a final year prize for outstanding achievement (UEA BA), the Alumni Association Prize for Fiction (UEA MA), a Hawthornden Fellowship, a Wingate Scholarship in literature and two Arts Council grants.

    Martin’s short fiction has been published in various anthologies and magazines, among them Tell Tales, Adrenalin, New Writing, A Little Nest of Pedagogues (in dual English and Chinese texts), The London Magazine and Esquire. His story ‘Forget-Me-Not’ was longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines. His play, Shakespeare: the Puppet Show, ran throughout the V&A’s Shakespeare Festival in April 2014. He has written three novels and is at work on a fourth.

    Martin has taught creative writing for the Arts Council England and at UEA. He currently teaches at City, University of London, with the British Council, and on the MA/MFA programme at Kingston University. He has worked extensively with The Literary Consultancy and The Writers' Workshop and has reviewed books for the Sunday Times, the FT and the Observer. He is writing a novel with the generous support of Arts Council England.

Next steps

This Writers' Workshop is a practical journey for writers. Learn how to revise and edit your fiction, learn more about publishing and more. …
The Novel Studio gives you expert, bespoke guidance. You will have the opportunity to develop your novel over a year through revising, editing and developing your work in masterclasses, workshops…