Writing non-fiction for children: an introduction
Time: 17:30 - 19:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HW580
Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
What is the course about?
This six-week course examines how to write children’s non-fiction. It will look at the classic fact book, biography and narrative. We’ll explore where to find good subject matter, how to approach the research and how to enrich your non-fiction writing by incorporating key creative writing skills. There will be lots of opportunity to practise your writing and get feedback.
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.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
• Child development and adopting the child’s perspective when writing for children.
• The children’s non-fiction market including biography, narrative, non-fiction and the classic fact book.
• Helpful strategies to find good subject matter.
• Routes to research your subject.
• Exploration of key creative writing skills, including character, setting, plot, voice, point of view, dialogue and description
• Pacing your writing - plot and structure
• Practice and feedback on your writing
• The role of illustration
• Approaching agents and getting published.
• Giving constructive feedback and developing your work.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Demonstrate knowledge of non-fiction market and the different age groups.
• Use strategies to find your subject matter and conduct your research.
• Demonstrate skills in creating enticing non-fiction content with entertaining, child-centred facts.
• Create vivid non-fiction characters and setting, and pace your writing using plot and structure.
• Employ a variety of writing techniques such as description, dialogue and changing voice.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No special educational attainments are required, but students should be able to write fluent English.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Through exercises in class, both individually and in groups, class discussion, analysing examples, and through tutor presentation.
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
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?
Please bring writing materials with you to class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit offers further courses in writing for children such as Writing for children: workshop. Please consult with your tutor about progression routes or have a look at our offer on www.citylit.ac.uk
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.
An established writer of children’s non-fiction, Catherine Ingram is author and series editor of the illustrated Art History series 'This is' (Laurence King Ltd). The 'This is' series won the Brand/Series Identity Award at the British Book Design and Production Awards in 2015 and a number of titles in the series were nominated for V & A Illustration Awards. Catherine has also written three art books for younger children: 'Where’s Warhol' (2015), 'Arnold’s Extraordinary Museum' (2016) and 'Find Frida' (2020). She studied Art History at Glasgow University and the Courtauld Institute and completed a PhD at Oxford University.
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.