When Jessie Burton came along to the very first of our creative writing courses with her novel-in-progress The Miniaturist back in 2011, there was no way – even in her wildest dreams – she could have anticipated what would happen next. The course gave Jessie ‘time and space’ to complete her manuscript, and she went on to land a six-figure advance for the book in the UK and several other large deals throughout the world. The Miniaturist went on to be HUGE – selling more than a million copies and, for months, you couldn’t open a newspaper or magazine without seeing its stunning cover or Jessie’s face next to some glowing prose about the year’s most exciting debut.
Today sees the publication of Jessie’s second novel The Muse. This stylish tale – which moves between Civil War-era Spain and 1960s London – is one of the most hotly anticipated releases of 2016, and Jessie now finds herself in the odd position of being the novelist critics are queuing up to judge. Thankfully, the reviews of The Muse have been unanimously positive: The Guardian called it ‘an intricate story of imposture’; The Herald ‘a brilliantly realised story’; The Express ‘an exquisitely written, evocative and suspenseful novel about art, aspiration and identity’; and The Pool ‘a fascinating story of love, friendship and four phenomenal women’. The Spectator, meanwhile, highlighted its ‘great many twists, reveals and paprika-red herrings’. Picador certainly won’t have to look too hard for jacket quotes when the paperback version comes out.
BBC Radio 4 has also been very supportive of Jessie’s second novel. The Muse is to be its Book at Bedtime next week (each of its 10 parts will be aired at 10.45pm from Monday 4 July), and Jessie was a recent guest on its Front Row show – on which she talked about the genesis of The Muse and the emotional fallout from her debut novel’s extraordinary success. It’s no exaggeration to say that Jessie is now one of the best-known authors working today – and it seems like an age since she nervously shuffled into the Curtis Brown Creative offices with her fellow coursemates for that first session back in 2011. ‘Curtis Brown Creative is world-class,’ she says. ‘I will always be grateful for my place on the course.’
The Muse by Jessie Burton is published today. To buy a copy, 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 Wed 17 January).
Six-Month Online Novel-Writing Course with Lisa O’Donnell (deadline for applications is Wed 24 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 Sun 28 Jan).
We are offering three low-cost ‘foundation’ 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).