29 January 2014

CBC on cloud nine

James Hannah
by Rufus Purdy

Crikey, it’s been a while since we’ve blogged. In our defence, we at Curtis Brown Creative (current staff level: two) have been busy organising our now-running courses, not to mention planning our forthcoming spring/summer Three-Month Creative-Writing Course, tutored by author Erin Kelly; and our Online Novel-Writing Course, which will be taught by Nikita Lalwani.

But while we’ve been slaving away at the coalface – or whatever the modern term is for being on the phone a lot and clattering away at a computer keyboard – another of our former students has been making headlines. In our blog post on Stephanie Wahlstrom’s deal at the beginning of the year, we mentioned we’d news of another ex-CBC student who’d signed a contract with a major publisher. Well, now the red tape has been cleared away and those irritating embargos lifted, we can announce the identity of that mystery man. Step forward James Hannah, whose debut novel, The A to Z of You and Me, has just been sold at auction by Conville & Walsh’s Sue Armstrong for a six-figure sum to Transworld. It will be published by its Doubleday imprint in early 2015.

‘This debut novel of a young man lying on his death bed bearing secrets and a broken heart is resonant and compelling,’ says Transworld editorial director Jane Lawson. ‘James Hannah has an irresistible storytelling voice that brings to this timeless story of love, loss and mortality, a unique brand of humour. He joins the select gallery of literary male novelists who write about matters of the heart with an unsentimental yet keen eye.’

James, who attended our Autumn 2011 Novel-Writing Course, brings the total of ex-CBC students who’ve gone on to secure publishing deals to nine. The A to Z of You and Me will follow Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist (Picador), Catherine Chanter’s The Well (Canongate), Tim Glencross’s Barbarians (John Murray), Kate Hamer’s The Girl in the Red Coat (Faber), Antonia Honeywell’s The Ship (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), SD Sykes’s Plague Land (Hodder), Stephanie Wahlstrom’s The Accidental Socialite (Piatkus Entice) and Jake Woodhouse’s After the Silence (Michael Joseph) into print.

It looks as though we’ll have to get a larger bookshelf.

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.

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