Festival 2015: Courses

Here is the timetable and course descriptions for the 2015 Open Festival of Writing. Complete details are available in our brochure, free to download.

Also on the site are mini-biographies and photos for the festival tutors.

Bookable Workshops

There are twenty-three workshops to choose from, all of which will add to and compliment your writing skills…

Tim Wilson/Jude Morgan

Saturday Morning (TW-Sat-01) You Can Write a Novel

This workshop shows you how to turn a daunting task into an exciting challenge. There will be tips on getting started, shaping ideas and maintaining confidence.

Saturday Afternoon (TW-Sat-02) The Plot Thickens

This workshop explores the importance of a well-constructed plot in a novel. We will look at various ways of approaching large-scale story structure with emphasis on pace and cohesion.

Sunday Morning (TW-Sun-01) The Lazy Novelist's Guide to Research

Whether contemporary or historical, thriller or sci-fi, research will play an important part in writing a novel. This workshop shows how to approach it, how not to get bogged down in it, and how to maximise your time.

Sunday Afternoon (TW-Sun-02) Criticism: How to Give it and How to Survive it

The initial approach is all-important, and this workshop will show you how best to maximise your chances when seeking publication.

Tim will also be available for bookable one-to-ones, see pages 12 and 30 of the brochure.


Adam Strickson

Saturday Afternoon (AS-Sat-02) Building a Character – for Script, Prose and Poetry

What brings a character alive? Adam will pass on tips and strategies from his work as a scriptwriter and poet to make your characters jump off the page. Find out about contradictory characteristics, an old green overcoat and a character compass you can follow to the end of the plot. Come with a partly formed character in mind, please.

Sunday Morning (AS-Sun-01) Seasons of Fruitfulness – writing the seasons in poetry

How can we celebrate seasonal change with verve and panache, escaping the beautiful clichés of lazy hazy days, crisp snow underfoot and gambolling lambs? Adam will share inventive approaches derived from seasonal poetry in Japanese and other cultures, as well as from his imaginative work with children. Then we'll write some surprising poems about the beginning of September! Come prepared to walk and look outdoors as well as spending time reflecting indoors.


Aimee Bell

Saturday Morning (AB-Sat-01) The Importance of a Website for Authors

A website is vital for any business to survive in today's market, and as an author you are no exception. In this workshop, Aimee will look at the process of creating a website and the options available. This workshop is ideal for those who don't yet have a website, or are in the first stages of creating one.

Saturday Afternoon (AB-Sat-02) Using your Author Website to the Full

Having a well-designed author website is important, but getting readers to view it is more so. Here we discuss how to get the best results from a website with useful tools and receive further direction on making the most of building your online Author Platform.


Della Galton

Saturday Afternoon (DG-Sat-02) Writing Short Stories to Sell

This workshop will focus on what a short story is and how you can sell it. We will look at existing short story markets (including magazines) and up-to-date information on what those markets require. We will also be looking at other paying short story markets (including podcasts) and what they require. Advice will be given on house style and how to find ideas to suit your intended market. Workshops are run on an informal lecture/discussion group basis with a practical exercise where you can gain feedback on your work.

Sunday Morning (DG-Sun-01) How to Give Your Competition Story the X-Factor

What do judges look for? What types of stories do they dread seeing? How can you make your story stand out from the crowd? This fun workshop will focus on how to improve your chances of success in short-story competitions.


Steve Bowkett

Friday 5.00 pm – 6.00 pm (Engineering F107) Adventures of a Visiting Author

Steve will take a humorous look at the experiences writers are likely to have when they visit schools. He will also chat about how to promote yourself and your books in schools.

An open-to-all talk; there is no need to book.

Saturday between 11.30 and 1.00

Steve will be available for bookable one-to-ones, see pages 15 and 30 of the brochure.


Talli Rowland

Saturday 1.45 pm – 2.30 pm (Engineering F107) How do Authors Know What's Right for Them?

Authors now have several different routes to take when publishing work, but how do they know what's right for them? From traditional to self-publishing, to a mix of both, hear about the positives and negatives of each from an author who has done both.

An open-to-all talk; there is no need to book.

Sunday Morning (TR-Sun-01) How to Build an Online Platform to Market your Books

These days, authors are expected to come out from behind the desk and enter the world of social media. Setting up profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Blogger is one thing, but how can you use these platform to sell books effectively? Author and social media addict Talli Roland will discuss the do's and don'ts of the online world, as well as how to engage with readers and build a following. Whether you're published or not, having an online presence is now a must-have.


Veronica Heley

From Cluedo to Capture. Veronica will adjust to any level, but these two sessions will be of most benefit to those that have already dipped their toe in the waters of crime writing.

Saturday Afternoon (VH-Sat-02) Cluedo

Choose a genre, and acknowledge what this readership looks for. Consider how to create and maintain tension, provide characterisation and setting. Tips on dialogue.

Sunday Morning (VH-Sun-01) Capture

How to plot and how to end a crime book. Consider synopsis, submission, and marketing. Tips on the blurbs and the cover.

Please note: If you book for Veronica's workshops she has offered to look at delegates' work beforehand if it deals with crime.

She would like to see page 1 only, double-spaced, together with a one-page synopsis, also double-spaced. When you attend the workshop it will give her a really good idea of what you need to learn to develop as a writer.

Veronica may be contacted on:

www.veronicaheley.com & blog.veronicaheley.com

Please do not take advantage of this offer unless you have secured a place for one of Veronica's workshops. Note also that this is not a requirement for attending, just a very generous gesture on Veronica's part.


Paul Dodgson

Saturday Morning (PD-Sat-01) Writing From Life – Turning Memories into Stories

We will look for ways to make the most of your memories, the raw ingredient of life writing, and to transform these into compelling prose. There will be exercises and examples from published memoirs.

Sunday Afternoon (PD-Sun-02) Writing From Life – Truth and Fiction

How important is the truth when writing about your life? What do you do about the bits you can't remember? What if you upset someone? What do you do when someone remembers things differently? With exercises and examples we will explore the grey area between truth and fiction.


Marvin Close

Saturday Morning (MC-Sat-01) Telling Stories

Telling stories will look at how to shape narrative in your lyrics.

Sunday Afternoon (MC-Sun-02) Finding the Words

Finding the Words will give advice and tips on rhyme patterns, phrasing and making every word count.

No musical experience necessary, but instrumentalists are more than welcome too.

In the month before the festival, delegates who sign up for Marvin's lyric-writing workshops can contact him at marvinjohn@btinternet.com for a downloadable instrumental song recording, as a possible template for their lyrics.

Please do not use this generous offer unless you have a place on the course.

Marvin is available for one-to-ones on Saturday morning, see pages 20 and 30 of the brochure.


James Nash

Saturday Morning (JN-Sat-01) Poetry Oasis: Finding Inspiration From Your Own Experience and the Poetry of Others

A fun and interactive workshop where you will share experiences, from the comic to the sublime. There will be a chance to see how other poets have used their own lives (or have they?) to produce powerful and effective poetry, before you move on to write your own pieces.

Sunday Morning (JN-Sun-01) Treading the Boards: a Poetry Performance Workshop

Hate the sound of your own voice, or lose confidence in front of an audience? This workshop will give you some basic techniques which will improve how you read your own work, and with the right kind of introduction, make it more accessible to your audience. Bring some of your own writing to read out loud.

Sunday Afternoon (JN-Sun-02) Less is Often More: Editing and Redrafting to Get the Best Out of Your Writing

What are you trying to say? What are you trying to show your reader? This workshop will ask critical questions of you and your poetry, with the aim of making it more powerful, more subtle, more entertaining. Bring along some drafts to work on, or perhaps the poem that somehow you have never quite finished.

James is willing to do One-to-Ones, see pages 21 & 30 of the brochure.


Julie Bowkowiec

Saturday Morning (JB-Sat-01) Saying & Telling

Writing the psychological interior, saying the unspeakable, and telling tales: constructing "plays within plays" and using story-telling through characters to widen the horizon of a play.

Saturday Afternoon (JB-Sat-02) Characters that Zing

Writing characters that zing. Creating characters that speak with multiple voices to create convincing depth and great lyricism.

Sunday Afternoon (JB-Sun-02) Engaging the Audience

How to draw the audience into the situation of the play, take them on a journey with characters and involve them in the action. The art of imaginative invitations, less is more and clever use of information.


Festival Timetable – 2015

Friday 4th September 2015
3.00 pm onwards Check in at Conference Reception, the atrium of the Warwick Students' Union.
4.00 pm Tea/coffee and cakes with the NAWG committee. Engineering F110.
4.30 pm – 6.00 pm

Welcome Reception with Lady Emma & Lord Julian Fellowes.

Please note that this is a change from the original schedule.

7.00 pm Evening meal in the Rootes Restaurant, 1st floor, Rootes Building.
The bar will be open, on this floor.
8.30 pm (ish) Relax in the Rootes bar; meet new writing friends and renew old friendships. Entertainment to be confirmed.
Saturday 5th September 2015
7.30 am – 9.00 am Breakfast in the Rootes Restaurant, 1st floor, Rootes Building.
9.30 am – 11.30 am 1st bookable workshops. All in Humanities Building. Break for tea/coffee at 10.30 am.
11.30 am onwards Market Place, at its liveliest. Several alternative sessions/book room open to view and buy members' books/one-to-ones/meet specialist experts.
12.30 pm – 1.30 pm Buffet Lunch, served in Engineering F110.
1.45 pm – 2.30 pm How do Authors Know What's Right for Them? Talk by Talli Rowland, open to all. From traditional to self-publishing, by an author who's done both. Engineering F107.
2.30 pm – 3.00 pm Grand Raffle. Engineering F107. All drawn prizes will be noted for collection later.
Don't forget to hand in your Mini-Tale before 3.15 pm today.
3.15 pm – 5.15 pm 2nd bookable workshops. All in the Humanities Building. Break for tea/coffee and cakes at 4.15 pm.
6.15 pm – 6.45 pm We now adjourn to the Chancellor's Suite, 2nd floor, Rootes Building, for the rest of the evening.
The bar will be open until midnight.
6.45 pm for 7.00 pm Gala Dinner. Chancellor's Suite.
8.30 pm (approx.) After-Dinner Speaker.
9.00 pm (approx.) Awards Ceremony.
9.30 pm (approx.) After-Dinner Sparkles (4 minutes of Fame).
Sunday 6th September 2015
7.30 am – 9.00 am Breakfast in the Rootes Restaurant, 1st floor, Rootes Building.
9.30 am – 11.30 am 3rd bookable workshops. All in the Humanities Building. Break for tea/coffee at 10.30 am.
11.45 pm – 12.25 pm NAWG AGM in Engineering F107.
12.30 pm – 1.30 pm Buffet Lunch, served in Engineering F110.
1.45 pm – 3.15 pm 4th bookable workshops. All in Humanities Building. Break for tea/coffee at 2.30 pm.

The Festival officially closes at 3.30 pm

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Author: Kevin Machin Date: February 6, 2015 8:11 pm
Categories: NAWGFest Tags: None
Responses: 2 – open Article: 3649 – published
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