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Writing for Children Summer School Short Course

Key information

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Course Code:
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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.

A highly intensive, practical introduction to the world of children’s story writing. Aimed at beginners, the course makes up part of City's range of short creative writing courses which boasts a growing list of published alumni.

Why choose this course?

Whether you want to publish your work or write stories just for your own children, City's Writing for Children summer school will provide a comprehensive introduction to the subject

Taught from our central London location, the course offers flexibility and expert tuition.

Course overview

Delivered over 5 days in a short intensive burst, this children’s writing summer school will cover writing books for children aged 3-16 and will teach students how to apply theoretical knowledge to practical writing tasks, how the market for children’s books works and how to succeed as a children’s writer.

This highly practical week-long introduction to Writing for Children will explore writing techniques in the context of children’s books, including characterisation, settings, dialogue and plotting. It will also examine how to tackle books for different age ranges, from picture books to Young Adult.

Towards the second half of the week students will learn how to refine their writing and understand what publishers and agents are looking for.

In each session, students will tackle writing exercises and there will be some element of sharing work. We will also look at texts from a variety of published children’s authors.

By the end of the Children's Writing summer school, students should have a strong grasp of what it takes to succeed in the tough but rewarding world of writing for children.

Our Writing for Children summer school is ideal preparation for our Writing for Children Intermediate course.

  • “ This course has been really wonderful. I have enjoyed each day and felt that the content was delivered in an understandable way. Just the right amount of content. ”

    Alexandra Cooper

    Former student

  • “ Seven stars (out of five). ”

    Emily Tucker

    Former student

  • “ Really excellent, inspiring. ”

    Brigid Mahony

    Former student

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Over the course of 5 daily classes on the Writing for Children summer school, you will learn how to:

  • Understand the market - who exactly are you writing for?
  • Identify what works about successful stories, across a range of texts;
  • Create strong settings, stand-out characters and convincing dialogue;
  • Build pace and structure into your work;
  • Use descriptions that will bring your writing to life;
  • Edit and revise your writing, including when to cut;
  • Understand what agents and publishers are looking for in a publishable manuscript - the practicalities as well as the indefinable 'it';
  • Submit your work to publishing professionals.



Prerequisite knowledge

This course is open to anyone interested in writing for children.

English requirements

Good written and spoken English.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

    Picture books
    Klasen, J. (2012) I Want My Hat Back. London: Walker Books
    Donaldson, J. (2016) The Gruffalo/The Snail and the Whale. London: MacMillan Children's Books
    Child, L. (2010) Charlie and Lola. London: Puffin

    Chapter books and Middle Grade
    Hoy, C & Nadin, J. (2016) Flying Fergus. London: Picadilly Press
    Stanton, A. (2011) Mr Gum. Dean & Son
    Stevens, R. (2016) Murder Most Unladylike. London: Puffin
    Cowell, C. (2017) How to Train Your Dragon. London: Hodder Children’s Books
    Dowd, S. (2016) The London Eye Mystery. London: Puffin

    Young Adult
    Crossan, S. (2016) One. London: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
    Thomas, A. (2017) The Hate U Give. London: Walker Books
    Lawrence, P. (2017) Indigo Donut. London: Hodder Children’s Books
    Nelson, J. (2015) I’ll Give You the Sun. London: Walker Books
    Rosoff, M. (2005) How I Live Now. London: Penguin

Tutor information

  • Sophia Bennett

    Sophia Bennett is an award-winning children’s writer whose books have sold around the world since her debut novel, Threads, won the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Prize in 2009.

    Sophia's novels have regularly been featured in national press, with The Times calling her ’the queen of teen dreams’. She has been shortlisted for the Book Trust Best Book award and the Oxfordshire Book Award, and her seventh book, Love Song, was the overall winner of the RoNA Romantic Novel of the Year 2017. She has also written historical Young Adult fiction for Stripes, and non-fiction for Tate Publishing with her latest book, The Bigger Picture, illustrated by Manjit Thapp, published in 2019.

    Sophia runs writing workshops around the country and is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund.

Next steps

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