04 April 2017

‘Our writing group is closer now than ever’

ella dove, good housekeepingElla Dove, Good Housekeeping
by Ella Dove From Our Students

Many of the students who’ve studied with us on our creative writing courses have gone on to form close relationships – continuing to work together long after their course has ended. Few groups, though, are as close as our Spring 2015 intake. Former student Ella Dove (above) explains…

Nearly three years ago, in summer 2015, I sat down in the boardroom at Curtis Brown HQ, and looked around at a group of strangers. We were all different ages, and had different jobs and backgrounds. But there was one thing that united us, one thing we all wanted to do more than anything – we wanted to write a novel.

During that first class, our love of writing was all we had in common. Now, there’s so much more than that, and these people, once strangers, have become a lifeline. We’ve been on several writing retreats, and still meet once a month to chat about anything and everything. They are firm friends, and last year they supported me through a very dark time. I know they’ll always be there to guide me, both in writing and in life.

It happened in May last year. I woke early on a Sunday morning to go for a jog with my sister. Bleary-eyed, we pulled on our gym gear and trainers, and dutifully headed for the canal path in Stratford, East London, our usual running route.

Circuit complete, we jogged slowly towards home, heads full of the croissants and coffee we’d planned to have for breakfast, a post-exercise reward. But halfway along the path, I tripped.

The pain was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. White-hot and nauseating, it seared through my right leg. My knee had dislocated, severing an artery and cutting off the blood supply to my foot. After several failed operations to try and restart the flow, amputation was the only option. In a single moment, everything had changed.

And yet, the love and support of the friends I’d made at Curtis Brown Creative remained constant. They visited me in hospital, and sat by my bedside for hours, distracting me with their smiles and wisdom. They even arranged for Curtis Brown to send me a huge package of books – no better distraction!

Now, a year on from my accident, I’m back at work, and living a normal, fulfilling life once again. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that even the most unexpected, dramatic and tragic circumstances have their bright side. You come to realise what’s truly important, to cherish little moments, and to value those close to you more than ever. As I stride confidently into the future, I know that my Curtis Brown Creative pals will be behind me, every step of the way. And for that, I will always be thankful.

To raise money for her ongoing prosthetic care, Ella has organized a star-studded comedy evening on 17 July at the Comedy Store, Leicester Square. To find out more or book tickets, please click here.

For an in-depth course as part of a group of 15 (in which students are selected on the basis of their submission) with a great tutor and participation from our literary agents, apply for:

Six-Month Novel-Writing Course in London with Christopher Wakling (deadline for applications is Sunday 21 January).

Six-Month Online Novel-Writing Course with Lisa O’Donnell (deadline for applications is Sunday 28 January).

For a dedicated online course for those writing for young adults or children as part of a group of 15 (in which students are selected on the basis of their submission), with a top children’s author, apply for: 

Writing YA and Children’s Fiction with Catherine Johnson (deadline for applications is Sunday 4 February).

We are also offering three low-cost ‘foundation’ online courses, featuring tuition from CBC director Anna Davis:

Starting to Write Your Novel (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 15 January).

Write to the End of Your Novel (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 22 January).

Edit & Pitch Your Novel (deadline for enrolment is midnight on Mon 29 January).


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