Winners of City Writes Competition to share stage with author Harriet Tyc

Ben O’Donnell Bourke

Ben O’Donnell Bourke

Delighted to hear the recent announcement of this term’s City Writes competition.

Ursula Hirschkorn, current student on  The Novel Studio

Ursula Hirschkorn, current student on The Novel Studio

Congratulations to Ursula Hirschkorn for her story 'Summer Time'; Jake Leyland for his non-fiction piece 'Portrait of a Technician in a War Zone'; Ben O'Donnell Bourke for his story 'Negative Habits'; Harriet Pavey for her story 'Dad' and Stephanie Pride for her story 'The best way to a man's mind is through his stomach'.  

City Writes is a termly event that showcases the best of City's Short Courses Creative Writing talent, hosting readings from alumni, students and tutors. Winners share the stage with a published alumni or tutor. This term it’s the turn of Harriet Tyce whose debut psychological thriller, Blood Orange, was published earlier this year to great acclaim.  

For your chance to hear Harriet read from her novel, alongside the five brilliant winners, tickets for the event are available here

And for anybody wanting to join City’s flagship Novel Studio programme, the deadline for applications is fast approaching. More details here, including information about their literary agent competition and the Novel Studio scholarship, set up by Harriet Tyce.

 


Brand new Novel Studio scholarship announced at City, University of London

 Delighted to be able to share the news that Novel Studio alumna and crime writer, Harriet Tyce, has initiated a fully-funded scholarship for one successful applicant to the course from a low-income household.

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 The Novel Studio has been running as part of City’s short courses programme since 2004 and has been instrumental in providing a foundation for emerging writers to go on to successful publishing careers. Taught by professional writers and editors, 15 selected students develop their novels over a year. The course has a very strong publication record, including, most recently, Deepa AnapparaHannah BegbieKiare LadnerAnna MazzolaR.K. Salters and Harriet

 Professor Andrew Jones, Vice-President (Research and Enterprise) said “City is tremendously proud of the great opportunity The Novel Studio gives to aspiring writers, and the impressive track-record of novelists who have been helped to launch successful careers in fiction. It is one of the jewels of our short-course portfolio and the university is delighted that Harriet has initiated this scholarship.”

 The aim of the scholarship is to support a student of talent and potential who might not otherwise be able to accept an offer of a place on the Novel Studio. Applicants to the scholarship will go through the same process as all other applicants but with the addition of a form demonstrating their financial circumstances. The top three applications will be shortlisted and a final winner chosen by a panel, including the course director, course tutors and Harriet.

 Harriet was a student on the Novel Studio in 2009/10 and went on to gain a place on the MA Crime Fiction at UEA, where she received a distinction. In 2017 Wildfire pre-empted her debut psychological thriller, Blood Orange, which is being published later this month. Rights to the book have been sold in ten territories around the world, including North America (Grand Central), Germany (Random House), Italy (Mondadori) and Spain (Penguin Random House). Set to be a ‘major debut launch’, and widely tipped as one of thedebuts to read in 2019, Wildfire have described the novel as ‘a stunning piece of psychological suspense...’ with a ‘spectacularly dark and satisfying ending.’

Speaking of her time at City, Harriet said “The Novel Studio course was where I had the privilege of starting my writing career.  I’m very excited to work with Emily Pedder in setting up a scholarship to give other writers that same opportunity, and I’m looking forward to seeing the talent that’s going to emerge through it.”

 The Novel Studio 2019/20 opens for applications on the 1st February 2019. Full details of how to apply to the scholarship are available here.  Great opportunity for budding writers, and a wonderfully generous act.

 

 

Deepa Anappara

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Absolutely thrilled to hear the news that Chatto & Windus have won UK and Commonwealth rights to Deepa Anappara’s debut novel, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line. The book has now sold in a total of 14 international territories. Deepa was a student on City’s Novel Studio some years ago and has since gone on to do a masters and a Phd in Creative Writing at U.E.A. She’s had an astonishing year already, winning the Bridport Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award, the Deborah Rogers Award and the Lucy Cavendish Prize. And now this! Congratulations, Deepa. We cannot wait to read this novel!

Kiare Ladner sells debut novel in pre-emptive bid from Picador

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Absolutely delighted to hear the news that Novel Studio alumna Kiare Ladner has sold her debut novel. Nightshift, to Picador. Associate publisher Ravi Mirchandani, who acquired world rights to the book, has described it as "an immensely exciting debut, a novel of nights and shifts, between gay and straight, sober and carried away; of how it is possible both to find oneself in the city or to become lost entirely; of obsession and the sheer mysteriousness of ourselves and others”.

Kiare's star has always shone bright. After graduating from City's Novel Studio with flying colours, she secured a place at UEA to do their prestigious MA in Creative Writing and subsequently won the David Higham award for her writing. Her short stories have appeared in Wasafiri, Lightship Anthology 1, New Contrast and Eclectica, and she was recently awarded an HW Fisher scholarship for her place on the Curtis Brown novel-writing course. 

Nightshift will be published in 2019 and we cannot wait to read it. Congratulations, Kiare!

An insider's guide to self-publishing

A few years back, I was lucky enough to teach a young writer called Remy Salters, then a student on the Novel Studio at City. Remy was always a very talented writer with a fascinating story to tell so when I heard he'd got an agent, I wasn't surprised. A publishing deal was just a matter of time, or so I thought. 

But for Remy, as for so many talented first-time authors out there, this didn't happen. The book was rejected by traditional publishers leaving him with some tough choices. Rather than give up, Remy began investigating alternative routes to publications. Here's his story.

"I began my novel, Butterfly Ranch, as part of the City's Novel Studio a few years ago. After several full drafts and lots of workshops with fellow writers, I got to a stage where I was able to secure an agent. This was invaluable, as the book underwent a couple more crucial rewrites with her advice. In the end, though, we failed to place the book with the agent‘s targeted imprints, and so I moved on to other projects. However, as time passed, I realised that I had unfinished business. Butterfly Ranch needed to 'live‘ regardless. This is when I decided to self-publish.
 
My first idea was to get the book typeset and a cover done by a designer friend, then publish on Amazon CreateSpace as an e-book and paperback on demand, and promote via social media. CreateSpace is a convenient system and the design was the easy part. Now for the promotion...Without releasing the book, I became more active on Facebook and Twitter for several months, but I eventually concluded that converting social media interaction into meaningful readership, as a complete unknown, required more investment in time than I could spare, and a long-term active role in a multitude of online communities. In my case, social media could help and enhance, but not be the only channel.
 
So I searched for a publicist. I was in touch with several, but always came away with a feeling that there is little interest in self-published authors (or rather interest in their cash, not their title). That was until I came across Matador, who describe themselves as a 'partner publisher‘ – i.e. you finance the design, production and/or marketing/PR of your book, but they advise, project-manage and promote. I have been impressed by this solution. I have had freedom in choosing the level of support I want, while feeling safe in the knowledge that whatever I choose will be delivered professionally and I can reach out for a real publisher‘s advice."

Remy's choice seems to have paid off. After a successful book blog tour last month, Butterfly Ranch has just won the International Rubery Award for fiction 2018 and Chill With A Book Reader's award 2018. As Seth Godin says, don't wait to be picked, pick yourself. Congrats, Remy!

 

Hannah Begbie wins Romantic Novelist's Association Award

Thrilled to hear that Novel Studio alumna Hannah Begbie has won the Joan Hessayon Romantic Novelist's Award for her debut novel, Mother, out later this month with HarperCollins. As if that wasn't enough, TV rights have now been sold to Clerkenwell Films, after a four-way auction, with her husband, Bafta-nominated screenwriter Tom Edge poised to adapt the novel. It's proving to be quite a year. Congratulations, Hannah!

Novel Studio applications and City Writes fiction competition closing soon

It's a busy week in the City short courses calendar. City's year-long flagship Novel Studio programme, the course that inspired Hannah Begbie, Harriet Tyce, Deepa Anappara and Kiare Ladner, to name but a few, at the start of their careers, closes for 2018 applications on June 15. For more information head over here. And to read about the growing list of published alumni visit.

And City Writes, City's termly writing competiton, open to all past and present City short course students, closes its doors for submissions on 15 June. For a chance to take to the stage and read alongside short course alumna and rising star, C.G. Menon, visit and for tickets visit.

Happy submitting!

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Hannah Begbie sells 'brilliant dark debut novel' to HarperFiction

So thrilled to hear that the phenomenally talented Hannah Begbie has sold her debut novel to HarperFiction. Hannah was a star student on the Novel Studio where she also won the new writing competition. Her novel, Mother, developed while on the course, is a brilliant, and brutal, exploration of motherhood in the most complicated of circumstances. Her agent, Veronique Baxter has said that Mother “is a book you don’t forget in a hurry: unflinching, dark and deeply compelling, it moved me profoundly”. Very proud of you, Hannah, and cannot wait to read the finished book! 

Greg Keen launches debut crime novel Soho Dead

Novel Studio alumnus Greg Keen has signed a two book deal with Amazon Publishing’s Crime Imprint, Thomas & Mercer. His first book, Soho Dead, came out in July and is described as a “fast-paced, darkly funny crime novel” in which the hero, PI Kenny Gabriel, finds that “the further he investigates the unnatural death of an old friend's daughter, the more he confronts his own past.” This follows hot on the heels of Greg’s CWA Debut Dagger award which helped secure his agent, Veronique Baxter at David Higham. Soho Ghosts is due out next year.

Wildfire pre-empts Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Harriet Tyce has sold her debut thriller, Blood Orange, to Wildfire. Rights have also been sold in ten other territories. Set to be a ‘major debut launch’, Wildfire have described the novel as ‘a stunning piece of psychological suspense...’ with a ‘spectacularly dark and satisfying ending.’ 

Harriet was a criminal barrister for ten years before starting her writing career. A graduate of the Novel Studio in 2010, she is now part way through the MA in Creative Writing Crime Fiction at UEA, where she received a distinction in her first year. Blood Orange will be published in the UK in January 2019.

Launch of Emma Claire Sweeney and Emily Midorikawa's A Secret Sisterhood

Last week saw the launch of Emma Claire Sweeney and Emily Midorikawa's hotly anticipated book about female literary friendships, A Secret Sisterhood. Based on their hugely successful blog, Something Rhymed, A Secret Sisterhood delves deeper into four transformative female friendships which have been largely overlooked. Writing in the foreword, Margaret Atwood notes that 'In digging up the forgotten friendships chronicled in A Secret Sisterhood, Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney have done much service to literary history.’ We couldn't be more delighted for Emma and Emily and wish them every success with this important book.