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Spring School 2024: A Torch in a Darkened Room

A Torch in a Darkened Room: The Definitive Guide to Writing the Short Story

Course details

The short story has often been compared to a torch in a darkened room. Explore what this image means and the various devices the short story writer might use to achieve this intense effect. Bring your short stories into sharp focus and investigate how this form balances darkness and light in a week of workshops guaranteed to be illuminating. Generate new stories and craft stories in-progress in workshops designed to explore the essential characteristics of the short story, building your expertise in both choosing the right material and developing that material in the most skilful way. All will be revealed, explored, explained, practiced and developed in a week dedicated to the short story.

Spring School will involve writing exercises, research methods workshops, reading groups, feedback and discussions. The course finishes with a group reading and dinner at Blackfriars Restaurant (included in the course fee: £300).

Spring School lead tutor Margaret Wilkinson will be joined by expert tutors and writers Jan Carson and Andrew Hankison to deliver Spring School.

Jan Carson is a writer, tutor and community arts facilitator based in Belfast. Her first novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears, was published in 2014 followed by a short-story collection, Children's Children (2016), and two Postcard Stories anthologies. Her second novel, The Fire Starters (2019), won the EU Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the Dalkey Novel of the Year Award. The Raptures (2022) was shortlisted for the An Post Novel of the Year and the Kerry Group Novel of the Year. She won the Harper's Bazaar short-story competition and has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, the An Post Irish Short Story of the Year, and the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize. Her short story collection, Quickly, While They Still Have Horses is forthcoming in Spring 2024. Jan is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Andrew Hankinson is a freelance journalist, editor and award-winning author of two creative nonfiction books You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You are Raoul Moat] (Scribe UK, 2016), and Don't Applaud. Either Laugh Or Don't. (At The Comedy Cellar.) (Scribe UK, 2020). He taught creative writing at Newcastle University and has written for the New Yorker, Guardian, GQ, FT Weekend Magazine, New Statesman, Observer, Esquire, Spectator, Sunday Times and Wired. Andrew hosts the Logroll podcast, on which he interviews the world’s best nonfiction writers, and is a judge on the Gordon Burn Prize 2024.

Margaret Wilkinson has been a senior lecturer on the MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University for over fourteen years. She writes script for both stage and radio, is a prose writer, mentor and regular contributor to Mslexia. Margaret gained her PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Her new novel will be published this autumn.

Spring School is open to everyone, although those attending should be committed writers. The ideal candidate is an aspiring writer who possesses a serious creative intent to see their work develop. Beginners and writers with more experience are equally welcome.

In the unlikely event of the course being cancelled, a full refund will be given. Otherwise refunds are not available.