Beginners' Writing Courses Beginners' Writing Courses Beginners' Writing Courses

Beginners' Writing Courses

Whether you've always wanted to write fiction or are looking for an introduction to poetry, we offer a range of creative writing classes for beginners – from one-day workshops to longer twelve-week courses, online and in our London offices.

Our beginners' writing courses: an overview

Many of our beginners’ classes require no experience at all – if you’ve always wanted to write but never known where to start, you’ll find a supportive, welcoming environment with an experienced tutor and a group of fellow aspiring authors.

Our online courses are accessible wherever you are in the world, and many of our online beginners’ courses are self-paced, meaning you don’t need to be online at a set time and can work through the course materials at a time that suits you.

You’ll leave with a clear idea of the requirements of your chosen genre and the technical tools you’ll need to carry on writing.

Who are these courses for?

Complete beginners

Avid reader ready to start creating fictional worlds of your own? Looking for a new hobby or taking the very first step on a new creative path? These courses are designed to show you how to start writing – and how to carry on after the final session.

Writers looking to refresh their skills

If you've written before but feel you're lacking in confidence after a break, a short course can be a great way to brush up your knowledge and get those ideas flowing again, with a supportive group to cheer you on.

Writers exploring a new genre

An experienced non-fiction writer looking to try your hand at poetry? Or a poet who'd like to experiment with fiction? Our beginners' courses are a great place to test out a new discipline

Beginners' Writing Courses (8)

Fiction Development, Novel Writing

Start to Write

A no-excuses, let’s-get-going, beginners' creative writing course to kickstart your writing life.

Level

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Starting out

What do these levels mean?

Location

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London

Length

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1-5 days

Tutors

Richard Skinner, Sarah May

Start Date

Saturday 17 Dec 2022

12 more start dates available

£100
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Fiction Development, Novel Writing

Getting Started: Beginners' Fiction

Everything you need to call yourself a writer – discipline, craft skills and a great group of people to work with – in one online writing course experience.

Level

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Starting out

What do these levels mean?

Location

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Online

Length

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8 weeks

Tutors

Helen Shipman

Start Date

Monday 09 Jan 2023

£350
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Non-fiction

Memoir and Life Writing

How to write a life – let alone your own? Spend three months in expert company, asking and answering the questions that a memoirist needs to answer.

Level

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Improving

What do these levels mean?

Location

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Online

Length

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12 weeks

Tutors

Miranda Doyle

Start Date

Thursday 12 Jan 2023

£795
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Close-up of someone writing in a notebook in a sunny park
Fiction Development, Novel Writing

Kickstart Your Novel

Take your writing to the next level, and develop both the technical skill and the narrative momentum to really get stuck into your novel.

Level

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Starting out

What do these levels mean?

Location

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Online

Length

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8 weeks

Tutors

Susmita Bhattacharya

Start Date

Monday 16 Jan 2023

£495
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Poetry

Writing Poems

A playful, supportive three-month poetry course for beginners and aspiring amateur poets, with two of the best practitioners and teachers in the country.

Level

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Starting out

What do these levels mean?

Location

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Online

Length

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12 weeks

Tutors

Maurice Riordan, Richard Scott

Start Date

Monday 16 Jan 2023

£595
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Notebook with pencil and cup on wooden table
Fiction Development, Novel Writing

Writing Fiction

This unique twelve-week course is about finding a way to write that is yours – whether you're starting out, starting again, or rethinking your approach to fiction writing.

Level

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Improving

What do these levels mean?

Location

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London

Length

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12 weeks

Tutors

Keith Ridgway

Start Date

Thursday 19 Jan 2023

£995
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Poetry

The Salon: Developing Your Poems

Join Richard Scott and Maurice Riordan for this twelve-week intermediate course – find new paths for your work, broaden your understanding of the craft and meet a group of supportive, like-minded poets.

Level

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Starting out

What do these levels mean?

Location

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Online

Length

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12 weeks

Tutors

Maurice Riordan, Richard Scott, Daljit Nagra, Emily Berry

Start Date

Thursday 19 Jan 2023

£595
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Non-fiction

Five Days to Write a Life

There are many ways in which a life story can be presented but this course aims to understand the story you wish to tell – and to help you tell it well.

Level

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Improving

What do these levels mean?

Location

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London

Length

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1-5 days

Tutors

Julia Blackburn

Start Date

Monday 23 Jan 2023

£550
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Beginners' Course Tutors

The tutors on our beginners' writing courses are all experienced teachers and published writers themselves, with a wealth of experience in introducing new writers to the craft.

richard-skinner-tutor

Richard Skinner

Richard Skinner is a novelist, poet and critic. His most recent book, The Mirror, was described as ‘beautifully written...

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Richard Skinner
sarah-may-tutor

Sarah May

Sarah May is the highly acclaimed author of seven novels, including The Nudist Colony, which was shortlisted for the Guardian...

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Sarah May
Helen Shipman

Helen Shipman

Helen has been teaching people to write for thirty years. She has devised and delivered writing courses from adult classes...

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Helen Shipman
miranda-doyle-tutor-crop

Miranda Doyle

Miranda Doyle's family come from the tiny island of Coney in Sligo Bay. She grew up in Edinburgh alongside three brothers and...

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Miranda Doyle
Photo of Susmita Bhattacharya

Susmita Bhattacharya

Susmita has been a professional writer and teacher since 2005. She won the Winchester Writers’ Festival Memoir Prize in 2016 and her novel...

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Susmita Bhattacharya
maurice-riordan

Maurice Riordan

Maurice Riordan was born in Co. Cork. His first book, A Word from the Loki (1995), was nominated for the T. S. Eliot Prize...

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Maurice Riordan
richard-scott-tutor

Richard Scott

Richard Scott was born in London in 1981. His pamphlet Wound (Rialto) won the Michael Marks Poetry Award 2016 and his poem...

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Richard Scott
keith-ridgway-edited

Keith Ridgway

Keith Ridgway is from Dublin. He is the author most recently of A Shock (Picador, New Directions, 2021), which was the winner...

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Keith Ridgway
julia-blackburn-tutor

Julia Blackburn

Julia Blackburn was born in London in 1948, the daughter of the poet Thomas Blackburn and the painter Rosalie de Meric. Her first book...

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Julia Blackburn
daljit-nagra

Guest Tutor

Daljit Nagra

Daljit Nagra has published four poetry collections with Faber & Faber. He has won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem...

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Daljit Nagra
Emily Berry

Guest Tutor

Emily Berry

Emily Berry’s first book of poems is Dear Boy, which won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Hawthornden Prize....

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Emily Berry

Inspiring surroundings, excellent tutor, supportive fellow participants. I learnt a great deal about character, plot, voice, narration and language.

Inspiring surroundings, excellent tutor, supportive fellow participants. I learnt a great deal about character, plot, voice, narration and language.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start writing?

There’s no “right” way to start writing – it really is about taking that first step and writing that first line! It could be that you start straight away with a project of your own; a poem or a short story or a novel. Or you can use creative writing exercises and prompts to provide some structure (you can find ours [here]). In either case, the most important thing is: don’t be afraid of it not being perfect. No-one’s first draft of anything ever is. You hone your voice and prose over time, by continuing to put words on the page and experimenting with techniques and styles to find what works best for you. Beginners’ writing courses will offer a good introduction to those technical elements, as well as a constructive place to start getting feedback on your work.

What skills do you need to be a writer – do I need any particular experience to take these courses?

You don’t need any experience to take these courses – they’re designed as an introduction to your chosen discipline and are suitable for complete beginners. In terms of skills, being an enthusiastic and eclectic reader will always serve an aspiring writer well – when you read a book you enjoy, try and think about what in particular you liked about it, and whether there are qualities you might also like to see in your own work. And paying attention to the world around you is also a good habit to have. Listen out for interesting snippets of overheard conversation and watch out for images or scenes that catch your eye – you never know where inspiration may strike!

I've done some writing before, but I still feel like a beginner – are these courses right for me?

Absolutely. With all of our courses, we usually say that the level is something of a confidence thing rather than based entirely on experience. If you feel like you need to get a solid grounding in the foundations of your chosen genre before moving on to something more advanced, these courses will help you do that.

Can't find the right course?

Manuscript Assessment

Get comprehensive editorial feedback on your manuscript from our experienced readers – whether it’s still a work-in-progress or you’re preparing to submit to literary agents.

Find out more

Mentoring

We offer a range of mentoring options if you’d prefer to work one-on-one with an established writer to help you shape your project and realise your writing ambitions.

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Browse the Reading Room

From author interviews and writing tips to creative writing exercises and reading lists, we've got everything you need to get started – and to keep going.

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