02 November 2017

What my free place on a CBC writing course meant to me

creative writing course in London
by Rufus Purdy From Our Students

At Curtis Brown Creative we always try our best to offer a free place on our course to a student of limited financial means. And though we’re unable to provide free writing courses, we’ve worked with outside benefactors (both individuals and companies) to offer a fully funded scholarship place whenever we can. The Yesterday Scholarship provided by author Felicia Yap, which is for our forthcoming Six-Month Novel-Writing Course in London or our Six-Month Online Novel-Writing Course (or their three-month equivalents, beginning in spring 2018) is the latest in a long line of generous gifts to writers. And several students have been awarded these prestigious – and hotly contested – scholarships since we began running creative writing courses back in 2011. We asked a few of them to tell us what the award meant to them.

Clêr Lewis (London, Spring 2014. Scholarship provided by Kobo Writing Life)
Attending the course was a dream come true. At the time, I had a very rough first draft and was in desperate need of some guidance and feedback. The course not only gave me skills I needed to improve my manuscript but it also gave me a group of a firm friends to ask for help, advice and feedback. We continue to meet every month and talk about books and our writing. At the end of the course, I was incredibly lucky to have my book picked up by Curtis Brown literary agent Felicity Blunt. With her unending support and help, I’ve finished my first novel and have now started my second. I’m still learning and developing as a writer, but the course gave me the foundation I needed to start this journey.

Samuel Daram (London, Autumn 2016. Scholarship provided by former CBC student Sarah Quinn)
The Sarah Quinn Scholarship continues to change my life. The course gave me the confidence to find and trust my own voice. It allowed me to believe in my own brand of stories and their potential place in the world. It taught me to think commercially. More importantly, the words of advice that literary agents and editors gave us have become my daily guiding lights. I’m proud to call myself a Curtis Brown Creative alumnus for all these reasons.

Max Mueller (London, Autumn 2015. Scholarship provided by HW Fisher)
The scholarship meant I could take part in something really valuable that would otherwise have been out of my reach financially. I absolutely loved the course. The feedback from my tutor and fellow students gave me an invaluable outside perspective and made me rethink the structure of my novel.

Kalbinder Dayal (Online, Spring 2014. Scholarship provided by Kobo Writing Life)
The online course put it me into contact with those who were ambitious for their writing, it opened up my vision to different types of genres and kept me motivated – I wouldn’t have finished my first draft without it. I would never have had the opportunity to go on such a course, especially at that particular time in my life, when I was the carer of two pre-schoolers and not free to work.

Louise McCreesh (London, Spring 2016. Scholarship provided by HW Fisher)
I learnt a lot from the people on the course – through their feedback, writing and generally just spending time with them – and had a great time while doing so. As for my writing, I learnt an incredible amount in just three months; from the invaluable one-on-one feedback from my tutor and Anna Davis, to learning how to assemble a synopsis and cover letter for submitting to agents. It was a great experience and one for which I am ever indebted to the folks at HW Fisher and Curtis Brown Creative. Indeed, a year after finishing the course, I signed with an agent and am hoping to submit my book very soon. I thought there wasn’t a chance in hell I would get onto the course and now I can honestly say my life would be a lot different if I hadn’t!

For more information or to apply for The Yesterday Scholarship, 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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