Saturday workshops and keynotes at the Festival of Writing | Jericho Writers

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Saturday workshops and sessions

At The Festival of Writing 2018

Festival of Writing Saturday workshops

Saturday kicks off with a special opening keynote and then a selection of workshops for you to attend.

You’ll get the opportunity to book your place in each workshop when you buy your ticket, but here’s a sneak peek of the 2018 Saturday Festival programme.

Choose three workshops and a genre panel to attend on Saturday.

Take a look at the options for Session 1Session 2, and Session 3.


Join us for an extra-special keynote speech from Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author, Sarah Pinborough.

Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed and award-winning, adult and YA author. She’s written 25 novels thus far across a range of genres including fantasy, horror, sci-fi and crime. Her most recent psychological thriller, Cross Her Heart, has received rave reviews, and is in development as a four part TV mini-series. Her previous novel, Behind Her Eyes, has sold in nearly 30 territories, was shortlisted for the Crime and Thriller Book of the Year at the British Book Awards and was a Sunday Times No.1 bestseller in hardback and paperback, as well as a New York Times and international bestseller. Her YA novel 13 Minutes is currently also in development with Netflix and Michael Du Luca productions as an original film. She is also a screenwriter who has written for New Tricks on the BBC and has several original television projects in development.

You can follow her on Twitter @sarahpinborough.


Choose from one of these workshops

Writing fantasy for young people

Tutor – Brian Keaney

Brian Keaney has had 19 children’s books were published by OUP & Hachette. They have been translated into 20 languages. His most recent work is The Alphabet of Heart’s Desire, a historical novel for adults. He has worked as a playwright with TIE companies and written more than 30 educational books. He has been Writing Fellow at Goldsmiths College & the London College Of Fashion. He taught Creative Writing on the University of Cambridge summer programme.

Course Description

In this workshop Brian Keaney explores how to set about :

  • understanding the full spectrum of fantasy fiction
  • developing an over-arching account of your own fantasy world
  • conveying a sense of the magical in your writing
  • finding a convincing fantasy voice for your story

Ten things I wish I’d known ten years ago

Tutor – C. M. Taylor

C.M. Taylor, Craig wrote Premiership Psycho, described as ‘Brilliant’ by The Sun, and ‘Horribly entertaining’ by The Mirror, for which he’s also written the TV pilot. His geriatric coming-of-age novel Staying On is forthcoming summer 2018. He edits fiction for publishers and co-wrote a thriller, Writers Retreat, which premiered at Sitges International Festival. Craig lectures on a Publishing degree and teaches widely on structures of narrative.

Course Description

In this session we explore the ten most helpful tips I’ve unearthed while writing six novels and editing more than 200 for publishers and private clients. My aim is to save you some of the hours I’ve spent weeping at the desk.

Dos and don’ts for strong pace and tension

Tutor – Eve Seymour

Eve Seymour writing as E.V. Seymour is the author of eleven novels. She writes in two genres: psychological thriller and espionage.  To make her work as authentic as possible, she has spoken to numerous police officers, firearms officers, scenes of crime, lawyers and United Nations personnel. ‘House of Lies’, ‘A Deadly Trade’ and ‘Final Target’ were published by Harper Collins in 2017 and she is represented by Broo Doherty at D.H.H Literary Agency.

Course Description

I’ll be giving you tips, including some really easy ‘fixes’, on how to guarantee strong pace and tension as well as explaining instant pace-slowers and tension-killers. Short excerpts from the cream of crime and thriller writers will be used to illustrate how to extract maximum pace and tension from your story. You don’t need to be an experienced writer to learn from and enjoy this session, as basic techniques will be explained. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions afterwards.

Psychic Distance

Tutor – Debi Alper

Debi Alper is an experienced tutor and editor. Debi provides critiques, mentoring, Book Doctor sessions and creative writing workshops. She edits in all genres and many authors that she has worked with have been signed up with agents and gone on to see their books published. Tutor of the famous Jericho Writers’ Self-Editing course, Debi’s novels have been published by Orion to critical acclaim. She has since set up her own imprint.

Course Description

Psychic Distance is the most powerful tool in the novelist’s kit, covering character, voice, POV, show and tell, and more. Sometimes you may want the reader to share your characters’ innermost thoughts. At other times, you might choose to be more remote and objective. Understanding psychic distance will enable you to adapt your narrative voices to suit the degree of emotional engagement you’re aiming for, bringing your characters to life.

How to Hook an Agent

Tutor – Sarah Manning

Sarah Manning I represent commercial and accessible literary adult fiction, nonfiction and YA. I am looking for uplifting women’s fiction in the reading group space as well love stories that make me cry. I represent high-concept thrillers and crime books full of twists and turns with interesting settings and speculative fiction – but nothing that feels too unrecognisable from our own world. For YA I would really like to find an emotional contemporary story.

Course Description

The slushpile can feel a scary place, and with agents receiving up to 50 submissions every day it is tough competition to make your submission standout. There is no magic formula to bagging yourself an agent, but I have very clear and easy tips to ensure your manuscript hits the right people. From deciphering who to submit your novel to, to crafting a professional cover letter, I’ll make sure you are giving your book the very best chance of being picked up by the your dream dreams + Q&A.

Writing Women’s Fiction

Tutor – Kathryn Taussig

Kathryn Taussig After six years commissioning commercial fiction at Quercus, I joined Bookouture to pursue my passion for digital publishing. While at Quercus I published everything from romance to psychological thrillers, includeing bestsellers Linda Green, Tracy Rees, Joanna Bolouri and Cate Woods. I love twisty thrillers, family epics, backstabbing best friends, clandestine affairs and will drop everything for a truly excellent romantic comedy.

Course Description

Writing women’s fiction: from emotional drama to romantic comedies, what publishers are looking for now.


In this session, choose the one genre panel that best matches your interest:

Literary / Reading Group Fiction

Genre discussion. Led by industry experts. This is your chance to ask them anything about this genre

Children / YA

Genre discussion. Led by industry experts. This is your chance to ask them anything about this genre

Sci-fi / Fantasy

Genre discussion. Led by industry experts. This is your chance to ask them anything about this genre

Crime / Thriller / Mystery

Genre discussion. Led by industry experts. This is your chance to ask them anything about this genre

Historical Fiction

Genre discussion. Led by industry experts. This is your chance to ask them anything about this genre

Industry keynote

A well-respected industry expert will address the Festival.

Name to be announced soon…!


Choose from one of these workshops:

Four Act Structure (Plot)

Tutor – Allie Spencer

Allie Spencer is the author of five romantic comedy novels. Her first won the debut award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association and she has twice been shortlisted for the prestigious Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. As well as writing novels, she teaches English literature at university level, is an experienced creative writing tutor and is currently reading for a PhD in eighteenth-century women’s fiction.

Course Description

Hollywood screenwriters are obsessed with ‘Act Structure’: a formula of well-honed checks and balances that ensure a tightly-written, perfectly paced screenplay. This secret formula is also a ‘must have’ in every successful novelists’ tool kit – and it will transform the way you approach your writing. Goodbye to saggy middles, farewell to slow beginnings! Back by popular demand, this workshop tells you all you need to know about getting your book onto the right structural track and keeping it there.


Tutor – Louise Walters

Louise Walters is an author, editor and publisher. Her novels have been trade published and self-published, and she now runs her own imprint, Louise Walters Books.

Course Description

I plan to look at what makes a character memorable; I’ll talk about the importance of “good” dialogue, and what that really is; and I’ll explore the “less is more” rule as it applies to characterisation. Using examples from books, film, TV and music to show what makes a “character” come alive in the reader’s imagination.

Make Your Novel Shine

Tutor – Emma Darwin

Emma Darwin’s debut The Mathematics of Love is possibly the only novel ever nominated for both the Commonwealth Writers Best First Book and RNA Romantic Novel of the Year; A Secret Alchemy was a Sunday Times bestseller. Her blog This Itch of Writing gave rise to Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction, and her memoir, This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin, is forthcoming in 2019. She mentors and tutors writers, and has a PhD in Creative Writing.

Course Description

Everyone says writing is re-writing, but what does that actually mean? And where on earth do you start? In this workshop we will begin by thinking about the big issues – story-structure and narrative drive – before closing in to explore characterisation, voice, and the close-up work to ensure that your story is truly compelling. You should go away with a clearer sense of just what a difference editing can make, and how you might set about making your novel or creative non-fiction shine.

How to write a sentence

Tutor – Hal Duncan

Hal Duncan writes mainly fiction and poetry but also a considerable amount of literary criticism and commentary. He’s also made forays beyond print, with a queer rock musical, collaboration with a Scottish band and an Edinburgh Fringe show.His first novel, Vellum shared awards shortlists with everyone from Neil Gaiman (BFS Award) to Brett Easton Ellis and Haruki Murakami (World Fantasy Award).

Course Description

Good prose has to communicate, but good narrative prose has to conjure or it can kill your story dead on the page, turn it into a leaden trudging deposition of events that doesn’t work as narrative at all. Here we’ll go through six simple principles you can apply to transform that lead into gold, in a hard-nosed no-nonsense guide to fixing flaws, tightening slack, and honing your narrative to a vital, visceral experience for the reader.

Is your children’s book ready for submission?

Julia Churchill and Penny Holroyde

Julia Churchill Julia is the children’s book agent at AM Heath and she’s always on the lookout for new writing talent.

Penny Holroyde I founded Holroyde Cartey with Claire Cartey in 2015 and we represent an award-winning and bestselling roster of clients. I have also worked for Walker Books in the UK, Candlewick Press in the US and for a decade as an agent with Caroline Sheldon.

Course Description

With many agents receiving between 20 and 50 submissions every day, how can you make yours stand out? There is a lot of information for writers on the internet but hear it from the horses’ mouths in this workshop. A vital list of common transgressions and real life examples of good, and bad submissions. How a writer submits is a crucial part of the process. Never get it wrong again.


Choose from one of these workshops:

The Easy 10-Point Plot

Tutor – Amanda Saint

Amanda Saint is an author and publisher. She founded and runs Retreat West, providing creative writing competitions and courses, and in 2017 launched Retreat West Books indie press. Her debut novel, As If I Were A River, was a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month and a Book Magnet Blog Top 20 Book of 2016. Her new novel, Remember Tomorrow, will be published in 2019. Her short stories have been long and shortlisted for, and won, various prizes.

Course Description

Does the thought of plotting a novel fill you with horror? Then this is the session for you. It can help you overcome those fears by showing you how to use a simple 10-point plot, which is aligned to story structure, to easily plot your novel. This can be used to guide the writing of your first draft or to edit when you’ve got a complete draft that needs restructuring. It’s plotting for writers that don’t like to plot.

Learning Story Structure from Pixar

Tutor – Julie Cohen

Julie Cohen’s novels Dear Thing & Together were chosen for the Richard and Judy Book Club; Together debuted on the Sunday Times list, was a no 1 Amazon bestseller, and won Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year. She teaches creative writing and is a Vice President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Twitter: @julie_cohen

Course Description

Back by popular demand, this workshop shows you how to craft a novel using the techniques perfected by Pixar writers. Bestselling, award-winning novelist Julie Cohen demonstrates how to handle sub-plot, endings and beginnings, three-act structure, and more. Bring tissues.

The Secrets of Successful Self-Publishers

Tutor – Dave Gaughran

David Gaughran lives in Dublin, where it rains every day and conversation is a sport. He is the author of the historical adventures Liberty Boy, Mercenary, and A Storm Hits Valparaiso, and has helped thousands of authors to self-publish their work via his workshops, blog, and writers’ books Let’s Get Digital, Amazon Decoded, and Strangers to Superfans. However, he appears to be afraid of bees, which isn’t very impressive.

Course Description

Self-publishers have taken over around 40% of the US ebook market. How did they do that? Probably not the way you think! This one-hour session will puncture a whole load of myths about how indies sell books and show you the real secrets behind their success. It will wrap up by outlining a marketing approach which will work for any author starting from zero and show you how to scale up that launch plan to hit the Amazon charts

From pitch to publication

Tutor – Hannah Todd

Hannah Todd is an assistant editor with a background in digital publishing. Besides previously working at Bookouture, she is also the founder and editor of a young adult mental health charity. She commissions primarily for the Canelo escape list which is made up of compelling stories that will transport you into far-flung places; full of romance, self-discovery and family. If you can make her laugh or cry with your writing then you’re onto a winner!

Course Description

In this workshop, we’ll talk through the publication process from pitch to publication and beyond. What can you expect from a good publisher? What will be expected of you as an author? It’ll cover areas such as etiquette, dos and don’ts and a chance for you to ask any questions you’ve got too. The plan is to dispel myths and give you a map for the, sometimes confusing, world of publishing.

Breaking down the walls of character

Tutor – Jody Klaire

Jody Klaire a former police officer and musician, Jody is an award winning, best-selling author of over ten books and countless smaller works. She has been a professor at the GCLS Writing Academy, teaching a wide-range of international students and continues to mentor and run workshops for both the LGBTQIA community and beyond.

Course Description

What makes characters transcend fiction? How do you create characters that are vivid and unique yet compel and enchant readers?

This session explores how characters are Eco-systems and each level creates moods and helps them evolve as they battle between core needs and superficial desires. You will learn how differential barriers are overcome by the universal traits which connect us so that you can create your own unforgettable and diverse characters that readers will adore.

Gratuitous Sex and Violence

Tutor – Harry Bingham

Harry Bingham is an acclaimed author of fiction and non-fiction, and is especially known for his Fiona Griffiths crime series. He is also the founder of Jericho Writers (previously The Writer’s Workshop), where for over 12 years he has been helping writers get published, both via traditional and self-published channels.

Not afraid of bees.

Course Description

Do your sex scenes feel a bit . . .icky? Does your violence seem shocking . . . or just a bit confusing? Worse still, does your book lack a little bit of bite? A steel edge? Bring your own sex or violence scene to the workshop and we’ll jointly figure out how to makes your writing work even better.

NB: please bring your own cutlasses. Beds & bathrobes will be provided.

Saturday Night

Join us for a fabulous Gala Dinner and a night of celebration, as we announce the winners of the Best Opening Chapter competition, and the Pitch Perfect competition.

Book your place

Ready to book your place? Book now to make sure you don’t miss out!