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Beginners Creative Writing

Beginners Creative Writing

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Joanna Pocock


Have you ever wanted to know how the elements of prose work? What makes for compelling writing and what leaves readers out in the cold? And what are the best strategies for getting published? This beginners’ creative writing class is just the place to find out!

Through in-class exercises, readings, workshopping and plenty of constructive feedback, you will explore the basic elements of writing in a variety of genres from flash fiction and the classic short story to narrative non-fiction and more experimental forms. This course will involve some walking and writing on the subject of “place” within the urban environment. (Anyone with mobility issues can let me know and I will make sure they are accommodated.) By the end of the week students will have some wonderful pieces of writing under their belts and a lot of practical information to help them take their work to the next level. The focus will be firmly on literary fiction (short stories and flash fiction) as well as narrative non-fiction (memoir and essays). We will read examples from some of the best writers across many genres from the essays of Joan Didion to the flash fiction of Lydia Davis, the classic short stories of Raymond Carver and Sherman Alexie to the nature writing of Barry Lopez, Rebecca Solnit and Robert McFarlane.

This course will enable students to flex their writing muscles, do some psycho-geographical exploration and find their literary voices in a fun, focused and supportive environment. This is the perfect class in which to try your hand at writing in various genres and in different styles. We will also discuss pitching and approaching editors for both online and print media.

Topics covered

  • There will be discussions on technique, with particular emphasis on point of view, characterisation, dialogue, structure, and the process of editing
  • We will explore different genres of writing from essays to flash fiction and much in between by reading and discussing classic examples of each genre
  • The course has a strong workshop component, which will enable students to become comfortable with reading and sharing work
  • Students will benefit from feedback from both the tutor and colleagues

This is an unmissable opportunity if you want to take the first steps in finding your voice and working out a style of writing that best suits you.

Who should take this course?

People with little writing experience who want to experiment with different forms.

Entry requirements: A willingness to explore the craft of writing and a very good command of the English language.

Level: Beginners

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Joanna Pocock graduated with distinction from the Masters in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her short story collection "Blue Suburban Skies" won the Peters, Fraser & Dunlop award for the best manuscript to come out of a Masters degree in the UK. Her short stories have won prizes and been anthologised in 'Love on the Road' (Malinki Press) and 'Good Reads' (Hearst Publishing). Her non-fiction has appeared in a variety of publications in the US and the UK, such as The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, The Sunday Independent, Good Housekeeping, Orion Magazine, Dark Mountain, Distinctly Montana, Mslexia, Litro, The Tahoma Literary Review and 3:AM, among others. She has been teaching creative writing at Central Saint Martins for over fifteen years and has taught Genre Fiction at Bath Spa University and Life Writing at Roehampton University, where some of her students have gone on to win substantial international awards. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Barry Lopez Narrative Non-Fiction Award and in 2018 she won the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize. Her book-length essay ‘Surrender’ is scheduled to be published in 2019 by Fitzcarraldo. She has lived in Canada, the US and the UK and brings a global perspective to her writing and teaching.


Please bring with you to the first session:

  • Pencil or pen and paper

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please Enquire about this course and we will contact you when new dates are published.