Study at City
  1. Courses
  2. Applying
  3. Fees and funding
  4. Living in London
  5. Visit us
  6. Student support
  7. International students
  8. Order a prospectus
  9. Ask a student
  1. Short courses
  2. Courses
Study at City

Novel Writing Summer School Short Course

Key information

Choose a start date
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
Course Code:
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
Booking Deadline:
To be confirmed
To be confirmed

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

  • “ 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

  • Kirstan Hawkins

    Kirstan Hawkins' first novel, Dona Nicanora's Hat Shop, was published by Random House in 2010. Kirstan graduated from the Certificate in Novel Writing at City, University of London in 2007, and has subsequently taught several guest slots as a visiting lecturer, bringing a unique approach as writer, tutor and alumna. She studied Anthropology at Edinburgh University and has a PhD in Anthropology and International Development from the University of Wales, Swansea.

    As well as her creative writing, she also currently works in international development, and has travelled extensively in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Kirstan was previously a lecturer in Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Swansea, Goldsmith's College and a tutor for the Open University.

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…