04 December 2014

14 CBC students with book deals

by Rufus Purdy

It’s been a while since we announced details of one of our former students landing a book deal. But in the week when Jessie Burton, who attended our creative writing courses in Spring 2011, landed the Waterstones Book of the Year prize for The Miniaturist (following fast on the heels of the New Writer of the Year award she received at the Specsavers National Book Awards), we thought it was about time we brought you up to date with our ex-students’ successes.

We’re incredibly proud to say that, since we told you about Lisa Williamson’s deal for her YA novel The Art of Being Normal back in April, four more Curtis Brown Creative alumni have had books snapped up by publishers. White Petals by Maria Grace (also Spring 2011) will be published by the Firefly Press next June, Jon Teckman (Spring 2013) will have his debut novel Ordinary Joe published by the Borough Press in July 2015 and The People We Were Before by Annabelle Thorpe (Autumn 2011) is to be published by Quercus in Spring 2016.

Perhaps most exciting of all, though, is the series of major book deals brokered by Curtis Brown’s Jonny Geller for Nicholas Searle – the first of our online-course students to find a publisher. His debut novel The Good Liar was sold at auction to Viking’s Mary Mount in the UK, and US and Canadian rights were pre-empted by Claire Wachtel at HarperCollins. Further sales are now being concluded, with rights already acquired at auction by Fayard in France, and via pre-empts from Kindler Verlag in Germany and Rizzoli in Italy.

The Good Liar is the story of two octogenarians, Roy and Betty, who find love after meeting on an internet dating site, but all is not what it seems. As their relationship develops, we are taken back decade by decade to Roy’s past and his series of confidence tricks and schemes to reveal a dark secret from World War Two.

‘We are very proud that our creative-writing school’s newly launched online course has produced a talent like Nicholas Searle,’ says Jonny Geller. ‘As soon as I finished The Good Liar, I knew we had something very special. It felt like an early Patricia Highsmith with its twists and turns, and shows once again how vibrant and fresh fiction is in this country.’

‘I’m still a little shell-shocked,’ says Nicholas Searle. ‘It’s a somewhat surreal experience to see that odd creature that you’ve been nursing in private all that time suddenly gain that amount of validation and publicity, and to see those hopes that you didn’t dare harbour begin to be realised. The tuition I received on the Curtis Brown Creative Online Course was excellent – a big shout here for the tutor Chris Wakling – and focused on writing a real book that might even get published in the real world. The interaction with other students was also fantastic. I loved the global geographical spread of our class and the huge variety in approaches and genres.’

Nicholas, Maria, Jon and Annabelle join CBC alumni Jessie Burton, Catherine Chanter, Tim Glencross, Kate Hamer, James Hannah, Antonia Honeywell, SD Sykes, Stephanie Wahlstrom, Lisa Williamson and Jake Woodhouse in realising their dream of becoming a professional novelist. And we’re sure many more of our ex-students will follow them.

As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our selective three- and six-month novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.

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