This week at Curtis Brown Creative we reached our half-century, our golden anniversary … that’s right, our 50th former novel-writing student has gone on to get a major publishing deal and we couldn’t be more thrilled. We are so proud of each and every one of our students, and here’s to the next 50!
In honour of this huge milestone, we thought we would highlight just a few of the recent deals from former students.
Rachel took our 3-month online novel-writing course taught by Lisa O’Donnell in 2016. Her debut novel, The Odd One Out, is a funny, warm-hearted and profound love story, with an autistic child at the centre of it. The Odd One Out was sold at auction to Michael Joseph (part of the Penguin Random House group) by Curtis Brown agent Alice Lutyens, and will be published in 2019.
The Odd One Out is a unique love story. Jake and Emily meet on an anger management course, he’s there in a last-ditch attempt to save his failing marriage, she’s attending under court order after responding to unwanted male attention with a glass bottle. Sparks fly between them – and not the romantic kind. But when Emily meets Jake’s unmanageable yet amazing 6-year-old son Alfie – and instantly wins him over, they’re forced to put aside their intense dislike of each other for Alfie’s sake …
Kiare was the HW Fisher scholar on our most recent 3-month London-based novel-writing course when she landed a major book deal. Nightshift, the novel she was working on in class, was snapped up by Picador in a deal agented by Curtis Brown’s Cathryn Summerhayes whilst she was still finishing the course. When Kiare applied for the scholarship we were hugely impressed by her mesmerising writing style and her idea for Nightshift, a gritty urban tale of same-sex obsession set in the strange world of night shift work. Her debut will be published in autumn 2019.
Kiare on the themes of Nightshift: ‘Obsession with another person, in the sense of wanting to be them, is about the infinite appeal of the other, the mystery of the other – but it is also about wanting to escape the self, there’s a nihilistic element to it. Obsession more generally allows you to lose yourself. Urban existence allows for this too. In a city like London, you can have anonymity. You can be who you want to be, you can explore who you are. There is an exhilarating side to such freedom but also danger. Nightshift is set at the end of the twentieth century when social media was not yet a thing – but even now, particularly as a foreigner, a migrant, in two steps you can be off the grid, you can disappear, you can die.’ Find out more in our full interview with Kiare.
Struan took our 3-month London-based course back in 2013. Struan’s debut middle grade novel, Orphans of the Tide, will be published by Penguin Random House Children’s in 2020 in an impressive deal negotiated by Curtis Brown’s Stephanie Thwaites.
Orphans of the Tide follows 13-year-old Ellie who is living in the heart of a half-submerged city, in a ramshackle workshop overflowing with curiosities. The world in which she lives is haunted by an ancient evil called The Enemy that, once every generation, takes possession of a human body as its Vessel.
Ellie’s role is to fix things and solve problems, but when the arrival of a mysterious boy arouses the suspicions of the Inquisition, she finds herself facing an enigma she can’t fathom. Ellie is certain that the boy is innocent – but who is he, can she protect him, and how might he be linked to the dark secret she is harbouring herself? Read more on Struan’s deal here.
And watch this space as we will be catching up with Struan soon …
Ann-Marie is our 50th former student to get a major publishing deal! Her debut middle grade novel, The Garden of Found and Lost, will be published by Usborne in 2019. Ann-Marie was a student on our online Writing YA and Children’s Fiction course back in 2015 (check out this blog about her time on the course).
The Garden of Found and Lost, was inspired by the discovery of a 100-year-old gardener’s notebook at the National Trust’s Ickworth house in Suffolk. The book is set in 1916 and is about 12-year-old Clara, who is sent to stay with her aunt and uncle at Gardener’s Cottage in the grounds of a country estate. Clara soon discovers her surroundings hold secrets, including a locked room and hidden key and a boy who only appears at night. We can’t wait to talk more with Ann-Marie about her debut novel …
If you’re currently working on a novel of your own why not take a look at our selective entry novel-writing courses. Our autumn courses are currently open for applications: Three-Month Online Novel-Writing Course with Nikita Lalwani or Three-Month Novel-Writing Course in London with Charlotte Mendelson.
Or, if you’re writing YA or children’s fiction why not take a look at our dedicated selective entry online course for Writing YA and Children’s Fiction with Catherine Johnson.
We also run three short online courses designed to help writers at different stages of their novel-writing journey: Starting to Write Your Novel, Write to the End of Your Novel and Edit & Pitch Your Novel.