28 September 2017

Authors who took our online creative writing courses

by Rufus Purdy Course News

We’ve been running our online novel-writing courses since 2013. Our three and six-month novel writing courses are at the heart of what we do – and we are so proud of our students’ achievements.

From discovering fresh voices and honing talent to guiding authors through practical aspects of the industry – working with exciting new writers is what makes this job special. More than 60 of our alumni now have publishing deals – and here we’d like to celebrate some of the student successes that have started with our online courses.

To find out more about the courses we run, in London and online, click here.

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JANE HARPER (Autumn 2014)
Based in Australia, where she was working as a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, Jane opted for our online novel-writing course over the London-based one for obvious reasons. As she explains in this video interview, she came up with the idea for an Outback-set crime novel specifically for the course – and wrote its opening 3,000 words in order to apply. That novel, which she worked on with tutor Lisa O’Donnell and her 14 coursemates, became The Dry – which has been an international bestseller and has sold more than 100,000 paperback copies in the UK alone. Jane’s highly-anticipated second novel Force of Nature and third novel The Lost Man were also bestsellers. We can’t wait to read what she writes next!


The opening of Nicholas Searle’s labyrinthine thriller The Good Liar was one of the early stand-out submissions for our then-new online novel-writing course. And, upon completion of the course, the author was picked up quickly by Curtis Brown’s Jonny Geller, and sold to Viking in the UK – where he’s now looked after by John le Carré’s editor Mary Mount. He was then picked out as one of The Observer’s New Faces of Fiction in January 2016. The book is being adapted into a film by New Line Cinema, it will star Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren and is out November 2019. As a resident of northeast England, Nicholas was unable to make the weekly journey to London to study with us, so opted for the online course instead. Nicholas followed the phenomenal success of The Good Liar with A Traitor in the Family in April 2017.


Like Heidi Perks – and Alex Clare, Dawn Goodwin and Catherine Bennetto (see below) – Singapore-based Alice Clark-Platts was a student on our very first online novel-writing course in the autumn of 2013. The taut, Durham-set crime novel she was writing, originally called The Weir, evolved into Bitter Fruits, and was published by Michael Joseph in July 2015. Alice has since followed this with The Taken, which also features her memorable protagonist DI Erica Martin. Her latest novel The Flower Girls is a haunting thriller and was published in January 2019.



Represented by Curtis Brown’s Alice Lutyens – who also looks after other former CBC students Jane Harper and Kate Hamer – Catherine Bennetto also studied on our very first online novel-writing course. ‘Being online allowed us to do the coursework around our jobs and families – wherever we happened to be in the world at whatever time suited us,’ says Catherine, who was living in New Zealand when she studied with us. Her debut novel How Not to Fall in Love, Actually was published by Simon & Schuster in January 2017. Her second novel Make or Break was published in 2018.


David Barbaree author novelist creative writing student Deposed

DAVID BARBAREE (Autumn 2014)
Published in the spring of 2017, David Barbaree’s debut novel Deposed is the first in a trilogy of books set in Ancient Rome, and blends historical fiction with murder mystery. Based around the return of Emperor Nero, it sets the scene for a thrilling exploration of life in a time of political turmoil in the ancient world. David, who lives in Toronto, Canada, studied on our Autumn 2014 six-month online course alongside fellow published student Clarissa Goenawan.



Other former Curtis Brown Creative online novel-writing course students who’ve gone on to be published include Caroline Beecham, Clarissa GoenawanLisa Duffy, Jo Jakeman, Jessica Jarlvi and Hannah Mckinnon.

Click for more information or to apply for one of our online creative writing courses.


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