It was only this summer that we announced the 50th former CBC student to gain a major publishing deal. In just a few short months we have received news of a further five exciting deals for our alumni – some of them brokered at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair – a major annual trade fair for the books industry, which is also a key opportunity for literary agents to pitch the new books they’re representing to publishers from all around the world.
To celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our former students we’re going to a highlight a few of those recent deals:
Julia Armfield was one of the VERY talented bunch of students on our second-ever London-based novel-writing course in 2011 – along with Kate Hamer, James Hannah, Annabelle Thorpe and Tim Glencross, to name just a few. It was clear from the off that she was a major talent, and we are thrilled that she has gained a commercial book deal: Picador bought her short story collection Salt Slow, plus a debut novel.
Her short story “The Great Awake” won the 2018 the White Review Short Story Prize in May and then her story collection was longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Foundation Prize earlier this year. It was these powerful short stories that initially got her noticed by her agent Sam Copeland. Salt Slow is a collection of stories exploring themes surrounding gender, sexuality and women’s bodies.
Find out more about her upcoming publication in our interview. We can’t wait to see what is next in store for Julia …
Clare had already written The Sober Diaries, a memoir based on her experience of getting sober and overcoming breast cancer, when she came to CBC in the Spring of this year to take our 3-month novel-writing course in London, taught by Charlotte Mendelson, in order to turn her talent for writing towards fiction. Her debut novel, The Authenticity Project, was auctioned in many territories around the world – with her agent Hayley Steed securing exciting deals for her with Transworld in the UK, Penguin in the US, and a host of translation deals.
The Authenticity Project was a big hit at the Frankfurt Book Fair, with the increased desire for uplifting ‘Up-lit’ narratives in these uncertain times.
Ella took our London-based course back in 2015, taught by Matt Thorne, and was a very vibrant member of her group of talented writers – often helping to champion their meet-ups after the course ended.
But in May 2016, Ella suffered a life-altering accident which resulted in a leg amputation. Ella kept writing – not the novel she was working on when she took the course – but a new novel, informed by her own very painful experience. She gained representation from our lovely colleague Richard Pike at C&W, and then Ella’s debut novel, Five Steps to Happy, was snapped up by the fabulous Sam Eades, the publisher of Trapeze (a Hachette Orion imprint). Ella’s novel also excited publishers at the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair as they searched for much needed ‘Up-lit’, and has already been snapped up for translation editions in Germany and France.
Read more about Ella’s inspiring path to publication here.
Karen’s psychological thriller, Deliver Me, is coming out in eBook from Quercus later this month, with the paperback publication to follow in spring 2019.
Funnily enough Karen was actually a student on our Writing YA and Children’s Fiction course taught by Catherine Johnson, but it was during her time studying with us that she discovered her talent for writing thrillers. We’re excited to see what Karen does next.
Finally, we come to the fifty-fifth major publishing deal for a former student. Eleni’s historical novel, Five Days in December, has been acquired by Hachette following their first ever open submissions scheme: The Future Bookshelf, an initiative that was set up to discover under-represented (and unpublished) new voices and stories in the hopes of making publishing accessible to all.
Eleni’s debut tells the story of Dina, a Greek Cypriot immigrant newly arrived in London in the 1950s, who is enticed into new dangers while trying to better her life – and is the novel she worked on during her time on our novel-writing course in Autumn 2015, taught by Erin Kelly. We’ll be finding out more from Eleni in an upcoming blog, watch this space …
If you’re currently working on a novel of your own why not take a look at our selective entry novel-writing courses. Our spring 2019 courses are currently open for applications: Six-Month Online Novel-Writing Course with Lisa O’Donnell or Six-Month Novel-Writing Course in London with Laura Barnett.
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 at budget-price 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 – all starting in January 2019.