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Study at City

Writing for Children Short Course

Key information

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An ideal introduction to the world of children’s story writing; students gain confidence and learn to turn their ideas into exciting and creative children’s fiction.

Why choose this course?

Whether you want to publish your work or write stories just for your own children, City's Writing for Children short course delivers a comprehensive introduction to the subject, covering several areas and ages.

Over the course of 10 weekly evening classes you will learn how to apply theoretical knowledge to practical writing tasks and learn more about the market for children’s books and how to succeed as a children’s writer.

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

Course overview

This Introductory Writing for Children short course, taught in the heart of London, is for students who would like to write books for children aged 3-16.

The first part will focus on learning writing techniques in the context of children’s books, covering a range of areas including characterisation, settings, dialogue and plotting. We will examine how to tackle books for different age ranges, from picture books to Young Adult.

The second part will look at refining your writing and understanding what publishers and agents are looking for.

Each week 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 evening course, students should have a strong grasp of what it takes to succeed in the tough but rewarding world of writing for children.

Writing for Children is ideal preparation for our Writing for Children Intermediate course.

  • “ It was a great course. Sophia is a great tutor, very eloquently spoken and clearly knows her subject ”

    Jessica Smith

    Former student

  • “ I have really enjoyed the course - I now begin to understand the nuts and bolts of a story in a way that I had never before grasped. I can now have an initial idea, draft a workable plot (sort of ...) and slowly start moving the story along - none of which I could do 10 weeks ago. The course has been well-structured, encouraging and informative. I have found it immensely helpful. ”

    Janice Taylor

    Former student

  • “ The tutoring was excellent. ”

    Geoff Prout

    Former student

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Over the course of 10 weekly evening classes on the Writing for Children short course, you will learn:

  • 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;
  • Learn how to 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';
  • How to 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.

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