There are times when we at Curtis Brown Creative feel like the archetypal lonely creative-writing school, scribbling away in our garret (one that is, admittedly, just a short walk from a well-equipped staff kitchen). So it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy when the wider world stands up and takes notice of what we’re trying to achieve – namely sending students out into the literary world with all the tools they need to give their debut novels the best chance of finding a publisher. Canadian e-reader company Kobo has been a huge supporter of ours over the past year – sponsoring a student through each of our past three courses – and we’re delighted to announce it has reaffirmed its commitment to new writing by agreeing to sponsor a scholarship place on both our Six-Month Novel-Writing Course and our Six-Month Online Novel-Writing Course – both of which close for applications in early January 2014.
This is fabulous news, not just for us (who have loved working with such an enthusiastic supporter of new talent), but also for writers of limited financial means, who might otherwise have struggled to raise the funds to join a Curtis Brown Creative course. ‘Getting onto the CBC course and winning the Kobo Writing Life Scholarship are key events in my life now,’ says Antoinette di Michele, who has just completed the Autumn 2013 Novel-Writing Course. ‘The Kobo Scholarship made CBC possible, so I can’t separate the experiences; it was like getting a full tank of gas when you’ve been going on fumes.’
Antoinette, who flew over from Toronto upon hearing she had been awarded the scholarship place, and has spent the past 12 weeks sleeping on friends’ sofas and feverishly writing in coffee shops, clearly enjoyed the experience. ‘I’ve had the most creative and productive three months I’ve had in years, surrounded by creatives, professionals and industry insiders,’ she says. ‘For me, it meant significant global players spotted me feeling my way through the woods and told me “go on, you’re on a good path”.’
‘Receiving the Kobo scholarship was a real positive boost for me as a writer and fast-tracked my novel beyond my expectations,’ says Callum Church, who was awarded a scholarship place on our Writing for Children course earlier this year. ‘The course was really motivating and gave me direction. It was great to be surrounded by like-minded writers with such a range of ideas and styles.’
‘Winning the Kobo scholarship meant my work was being taken seriously. That’s invaluable,’ says Robert Maslen, who Kobo sponsored through our first Online Novel-Writing Course, which has just drawn to a close. ‘In these three months I’ve seen more deeply into my characters and built, I hope, a story of real dramatic weight. I leave with a sense of possibility.’
And as the number of former Curtis Brown Creative students who’ve gone on to sign book deals with major publishers rises to nine (more on this later), we’re quietly confident it won’t be too long before Antoinette, Callum and Robert’s work starts appearing on Kobo devices all over the world. What goes around comes around, as they say…
As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our 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.