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- Adult Education Courses 2023-24
Creative Writing: Short Stories and First Chapters (evening) - starts October
At a Glance
- Classroom course (South Kensington)
- 10 weeks | October - December
- Wednesdays 18:00 - 20:00
- Fees from £135
- Tutor: Martin Ouvry
Courses starting in October 2023
- Late entry to courses starting in October 2023 is now closed.
Everyone has a story to tell, whether a work wholly of the imagination or something developed from the experience of life.
On this course we will take you on a journey to find or further develop ways to express your ideas in writing, either in the form of a short story or a passage from a longer piece of work.
Our evening course seeks to educate the imagination and equip you with the technical and practical know-how to fulfil your writing aims.
At the end of the course you will have:
- produced a written piece of between 1,000-2,000 words which will take the form of a self-contained short story or a chapter of a novel or memoir;
- identified, or further developed, ideas towards the production of a piece of writing;
- explored key writing techniques, methods and forms that relate to your own interests and skills as a writer.
On this interactive, discussion-centred course, teaching is delivered in a friendly and guided environment offering the necessary positive and constructive criticism appropriate to the emerging work of each member of the group. The sessions will be further supported by short extracts from great works of fiction and books on the craft, drawn from a diverse community of writers.
This course is normally offered termly and has a maximum capacity of 12 students per course and term.
If you prefer a daytime class, we also have a Friday morning class available.
These classes are not recorded
Successful completion of this course leads to the award of an Imperial College attendance certificate
Terms and conditions apply to all enrolments to this course. Please read them before enrolment
Course programme and additional reading.
Course Programme ( may be subject to some modification )
In the first session the group will get to know each other and we will explore your aims and aspirations in writing. From there, we will begin to discuss the practical and technical aspects of producing compelling narratives: finding the centre (finding our voice and identifying stories to tell), character development and consistency, narrative structure and plotting, world-building (evoking time and place), planning and improvisation, and more. Through discussion of published short stories and brief extracts from great novels and books on the craft, we will examine the key elements that combine to produce outstanding writing.
Brief in-class writing exercises will help you to develop your writing skills in general and will inspire and augment your work in progress. As we move further into the course, we will begin to discuss the central piece of writing (1,000-2,000 words in length) that is emerging from each member of the class. These workshops take place in a positive and supportive atmosphere, and are hugely valuable to the writing process as a whole.
Centred around discussion, and exploring both the practical and technical sides of producing excellent writing, Short Stories and First Chapters is suitable for both beginners and writers with some experience of life writing and/or fiction.
There is no set reading list, but you might be interested in these publications on the craft:
- The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2024 (London: Bloomsbury, 2024) – includes the article ‘How Creative Writing Courses Benefit a Writer’ by your course tutor, Martin Ouvry
- Ailsa Cox, Writing Short Stories (London: Routledge, 2016)
- John Mullan, How Novels Work (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)
- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird (London: Doubleday, 1994)
His awards include a final year prize for outstanding achievement (UEA, BA), the Alumni Association Prize for Fiction (UEA, MA), two Arts Council Writers' Award wins, a Hawthornden Fellowship and a Wingate Scholarship. His fiction has been published in various anthologies and magazines, among them New Writing, A Little Nest of Pedagogues (in dual English and Chinese texts), The London Magazine and Esquire.
Martin has taught creative writing for the Arts Council England, the British Council, City University, the Kingston Writing School, UEA, and the Chelsea Community Hospital School. He has reviewed books for the Sunday Times, the FT and the Observer.
Lee Brackstone has written of Martin's fiction: 'I would struggle to find a writer of comparable talent in Martin's generation.' The late Deborah Rogers wrote: 'I think his is a voice of true originality and distinction, and one that will in time emerge as a major player in a new generation of British novelists.'
Martin recently completed his novel The Cost of Loving with the generous support of Arts Council England.
Course Fees and Rate Categories
Rate categories and discounts.
- Available to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category.
- Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
- People enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
- Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes, including City & Guilds College Association members
- Students, staff and alumni of the Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music and City, UAL and the City and Guilds of London Art School
- Students, staff and Governors of Woodhouse College and the IC Mathematics School
- Austrian Cultural Forum staff
- Co-operative College members
- Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
- Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
- Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
- Friends of Leighton House/ Sambourne House
- Friends of the Royal College of Music
- Harrods staff
- Historic Royal Palaces staff
- Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
- Members of the Friends of Imperial College
- Members of the Kennel Club
- Members of the London Zoological Society
- Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
- Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- National Health Service (NHS) employees
- Natural History Museum staff
- Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
- Royal Geographical Society staff
- Science Museum staff
- Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
- Students (non-Imperial College)
- Teachers and other staff of UK schools
- The American Institute for Foreign Study
- Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
- Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
- Victoria and Albert Museum staff
It is possible to enrol on many of our adult education courses after the course has already started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.
Friends and Family Scheme
This course is eligible for allowing Imperial College students and staff to share their discount with their friends and family.
Term Dates 2023-24
Web enrolment starts 1 August 2023. Early bird discounts are available from 1 August to 30 September 2023
Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. When enrolling:
- Do check on the drop down menu above called "Course Fees and Rate Categories" to see if you are eligible for a discounted rate and also do make sure you select that rate when enrolling on the eStore
- If you are a first-time eStore user you will need to create an account before enrolling. You can do this by entering an email address and password. This account can then be used for any future enrolments via the eStore.
When you have enrolled you will be sent the following email notifications:
If you have any questions about the content or teaching of this course please contact the course tutor, Martin Ouvry , [email protected]
If you have any questions about your enrolment or payment processes please contact the Programme Administrator, Christian Jacobi , [email protected]
Creative Writing for Beginners (Evenings)
- Level(s) of Study: Short course
- Start Date(s): 4 October 2023 / 17 January 2024; 10 April 2024
- Duration: Wednesdays 6 - 8:30 pm, ten weeks
- Study Mode(s): Short course
- Campus: City Campus
- Entry Requirements: More information
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