Masterclass: fiction (a year-long workshop)

Course Dates: 20/09/21 - 11/07/22
Time: 19:40 - 21:40
Location: Online
This intensive three-term fiction workshop is open by selective application and interview to a maximum of ten fiction writers working at the advanced and professional levels. Please note: the deadline for applications is Sunday 22nd August. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview via Zoom on Sunday 29th August.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £879.00 Senior fee £879.00 Concession £879.00

This course has now started

Course Code: HW387

Full Mon, eve, 20 Sep - 11 Jul '22

Duration: 33 sessions (over 43 weeks)

Call us to check your level, see if you can still join the course or to discuss other suitable courses

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course is designed to support advanced and professional fiction writers who are working on long or short form fiction projects with a view to publication. Selected students will enrol for three terms. The course offers an opportunity to share and receive constructive critical feedback, network with other writers, and discuss elements of advanced fictional craft.

This course is open for enrolment by application only. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview for a place. It is suitable only for fiction writers who have advanced workshop experience (e.g. Masters level) and/or a history of publication. Writers are invited to submit details of their writing background and workshop experience and a one-page sample of prose to Please include: Masterclass: fiction workshop application in the subject line.

Deadlines for this course are as follows:
Applications due: Sunday 22nd August 2021
Shortlisted candidate interviews: Sunday 29th August 2021

Writers will not be authorised for enrolment except by way of this process.

Please note that an instalment plan is available for this course, and students can pay the course fee on a termly basis. For more information, please contact our Enrolments team: 020 7831 7831.

Students say: "There was a very positive group culture"; "I received detailed feedback from the other course participants"; "Good quality, thoughtful feedback from other students and the tutor"; "It was inspiring and motivating"; "Excellent!".

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- Constructive workshopping of short stories and novel excerpts
- Advanced craft issues that arise from the material under review
- The process of revision.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Assess and respond to pieces of writing with acumen and sensitivity
- Identify complex issues involved in writing fiction, short stories, novellas, novels, etc.
- Apply your critical and editorial skills to your own work
- Produce submissions for comment on a regular basis.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This three-term course is open for enrolment by application only. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview with the tutor and the coordinator of creative writing. It is suitable only for fiction writers who have advanced workshop experience (e.g. Masters level) and/or a history of publication. You will be an enthusiastic reader of fiction, able to commit to attending regularly and participating fully, and fluent in English.

What is the selection process?

All applications will be evaluated by the creative writing coordinator. Writers will be informed of the outcome of their application (decline, waitlist, or shortlist) shortly after the application deadline. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview with the tutor via Zoom on Sunday 29th August. The course will operate a waitlist. In the event that a selected writer cannot attend their interview or take up their space, it will be offered to a student on the waitlist.

How is the shortlist chosen?

The creative writing coordinator will take the following into account:

- Technical ability: does the writer possess the sentence level and structural acumen required to workshop at the advanced level?
- Storycraft: is the fiction compelling, fresh, original? Does it make you want to read on?
- Prior experience: does the writer possess previous advanced workshop experience? Is there suitable evidence of commitment to professional development in the craft?

The creative writing coordinator will also consider group dynamics and how each writer's particular strengths will support and encourage overall peer learning.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Through discussion, peer evaluation and tutor feedback. You will be required to read peer workshop submissions closely at home, and provide detailed written feedback that will then be shared in class. The tutor may also assign additional writing and reading exercises designed to support your project.

All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.

For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.

City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no additional costs. You will be expected to submit your work to the workshop. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to use in class if you feel it will be helpful.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You are welcome to apply to our year-long masterclass again, though as the pool of applicants will change each year, there is no guarantee you will be admitted. Similarly, you are welcome to apply to our term-long masterclass, where the same caveat will apply. We also recommend the 'Advanced fiction writing workshop', which will operate at a similar level to the Masterclass.

Our Craft Focus series is also available to writers who wish to focus on an isolated element of fiction writing craft. We offer short intensive courses in developing character, plot, setting, narrative time, and more. See our website or contact the department for more advice on how you can develop a programme of fiction writing study.

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.

Jonathan Barnes

Jonathan Barnes is the author of three novels. He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review and has contributed to the Arts pages of The Lancet. He is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University. He is also the author of several full-cast audio dramas from Big Finish Productions, featuring characters from Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein and Doctor Who.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.