Our Inaugural Newcastle Writing a Novel Graduates

5 minutes read

This August, we celebrated the first Writing a Novel in Newcastle coming to a close, with a literary salon at The Common Room.

 

 

Hosted by course tutor Preti Taneja, the audience heard readings from the novels which the students have been working on throughout the course, followed by a Q&A.

 

Over six months, our students have come together each week to study the art of the novel, with sessions of every aspect they needed to take them from the bare bones of a draft to a finished novel. The students also had guest sessions from authors, editors and agents, including Faber Academy alumnus S J Watson (who graduated from the first Writing a Novel in London), Faber CEO Mary Cannam, agent Clare Conville and Faber Publisher Alex Bowler.

 

Launching Faber Academy in Newcastle was a landmark moment in our history, and we have been delighted at how Faber Academy has been welcomed to the literary community in the north east. We’re already excited for the autumn when we’ll welcome more students to the first Newcastle-based Writing Crime and Writing Poems.

 

We spoke to our first cohort of writers about their time on the course, their next steps, and if they had any words of encouragement for other aspiring novelists in the north east who might be tempted to sign up to the next Writing a Novel course in Newcastle.

 

‘Being part of the Newcastle Writing a Novel course was a game changer. Led by Preti Taneja we wrote, we studied literary craft and we looked into publishing, but most importantly we learned to identify as serious writers who prioritise a practice of putting words on the page. The group were expected to show up and do the writing which was sometimes exhausting, often emotional but consistently brilliant. I loved every minute.’

Geraldine Nicholson

‘This course has worked for me like no other. I’m now 20,000 words into a novel (one I hadn’t even contemplated before the start of the course) and determined to finish it. Preti Taneja has been an inspiring teacher, treating everyone in the group like authors from the outset and leaving all of us, I’m certain, more confident and thoughtful writers than we were at the beginning. Feedback from fellow students has been an important part of the experience and we’ve already resolved to stay in touch as a group when the course ends officially.

 

The course is not only about learning the nuts and bolts of writing technique, but also about how to be a novelist: how to behave like one, how to get published, learning – through getting to talk with the experts themselves – how publishers, editors and agents work, what they need from authors, what’s most likely to get you noticed.

 

I’d say to anyone wanting to write a novel and contemplating this course: do it! You’ll find it fun, thought-provoking, practical and inspiring.’

 

Chris Rushby

‘I came to the course with no real preconceived ideas of the effect it would have on me. Working ‘feet-up’ through the process of constructing your novel, I felt I really learned the solid skills that enable a writer to produce cohesive work. I think this allows the writer to flourish because they are equipped with all the tools they need, giving them the confidence to experiment and enjoy their writing which all translates to the page.

 

I didn’t get everything right, there were bumps in the road – re-thinks, re-writes – but the skill set acquired and the support given meant that I had the confidence to change, pivot, handle these things.

 

It was also interesting, and indeed vital, to learn about the commercial aspects of the business from a published author, an editor, an agent and the CEO of Faber themselves. Their insights were incredibly valuable and it was good to have a view beyond just producing the novel into the industry I hope to be involved in. I would advise any author to think beyond the creative process.

It was also interesting, and indeed vital, to learn about the commercial aspects of the business from a published author, an editor, an agent and the CEO of Faber themselves. Their insights were incredibly valuable and it was good to have a view beyond just producing the novel into the industry I hope to be involved in. I would advise any author to think beyond the creative process.

Writers, especially those just like me, with little or no formal training, often suffer from a lack of self-belief. After the course, I came away believing in myself as a writer, with a solid group of associates who I know I can call on for advice. And that, to me, was priceless.’

 

Deborah Nixon Carr

 

‘I always felt that I had a novel in me. However, I needed someone — or something — to prise it out! Writing a Novel at the Faber Academy in Newcastle was just what the doctor ordered, and I loved every magical minute.

 

Under the tutelage of award-winning author Preti Taneja, I was encouraged to hone my craft, work way beyond my comfort zone and build up the self-belief that was lacking at the outset of the course. Thanks to the unwavering support of Preti and my classmates, I grew in confidence and identified the techniques and skills required to transform a longstanding idea into 85,000 words, and a first draft I could be proud of.

 

Writing a Novel provided me with the building blocks every aspiring author needs and, at the same time, it opened my eyes to the world of publishing and the unique challenges it presents. Now it’s down to me.’

 

Simon Rushworth

Writing a Novel is Faber Academy’s flagship course, which has seen alumni such as S J Watson, Rachel Joyce, Gail Honeyman, Maddie Mortimer and Alice Feeney go on to conquer bestseller lists around the world. It currently runs in-person in London and Newcastle, as well as online.

 

The next Writing a Novel in Newcastle begins in January 2024 and is now open for applications. If you have any questions about our courses in Newcastle, email us at academy@faber.co.uk

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