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Creative Writing at Corpus Christi College

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Finding the Plot: A Course for Aspiring Fiction-writers
Includes masterclasses by novelists Louis de Bernières, Joanne Harris, T Jefferson Parker, Jewell Parker Rhodes and Lalita Tademy, as well as by leading London literary agent Luigi Bonomi.

07444 315 899


The FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival has a well-deserved reputation for enterprise and innovation, and the 2008 festival saw the introduction of a particularly exciting initiative: a five-day college-based residential course offering an opportunity for aspiring fiction-writers to hone their skills in the company of eminent authors and other representatives of the literary world.

Now in its eighth year, the course has established itself as a firm fixture. Providing a series of five two-hour tutor-led workshops, together with a series of ten one-hour talks (masterclasses) given by eminent novelists and other significant figures from the literary world, it is designed to serve the needs of writers who are interested in developing their creative talents in the company of a small, dedicated group.

The learning environment is intentionally intimate: the course as a whole will have places for a maximum of 30 participants, while the group will be split into two sub-groups for workshops, each containing a maximum of 15 participants. The whole group will gather together for each talk in the masterclass series.

Click here to register now.

One of the masterclass sessions will be led by Luigi Bonomi, founder-director of the LBA literary agency and winner of the Bookseller Literary Agent of the Year award in 2010. All participants on the course will have the opportunity to have a small sample of their work read by Mr Bonomi, who will provide comments on the submissions he considers to be the most promising. This is a remarkable opportunity to have work read by one of the UK’s leading literary agents, and participants are strongly advised to submit material.

The workshops will be led by two knowledgeable tutors who are themselves well-known writers of fiction, Jem Poster and Francesca Rhydderch; in addition, the series of masterclasses will allow participants to listen to, and to engage in discussion with, a wide range of other literary practitioners.

The course offers a remarkable opportunity to experience life as a member of a creative community. Living, dining, learning and writing in one of Oxford’s most attractive historic colleges, participants will be able to extend their understanding of their craft in the company of like-minded individuals.

The course offers five full teaching days and six nights of college accommodation. There is also the opportunity to sign up for a further short period of college accommodation, at a reasonable additional cost: this will allow participants to continue their writing practice beyond the time-frame of the course itself, or to attend some of the festival’s other events.

Oxford has helped to nurture the talents of many well-known writers of fiction: among the University’s alumni are Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, William Golding, Kingsley Amis, V. S. Naipaul, Martin Amis and Julian Barnes.




The Tutors

Jem PosterJem Poster,pictured, has edited a selection of George Crabbe’s poetry and has written a study of the poetry of the 1930s; he is also the author of a collection of poetry, Brought to Light, and a past winner of the Cardiff International Poetry Competition. His two novels, Courting Shadows and Rifling Paradise, were published in 2002 and 2006 respectively. He is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University and Affiliated Lecturer of Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education; Programme Advisor to Cambridge University’s MSt in Creative Writing and Director of its Summer School in Creative Writing; and Director of Academic Programmes for the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival. From January to April 2014 he was Writer in Residence at Arizona State University.

Francesca RhydderchFrancesca Rhydderch, pictured, lives and works in Wales. Her novel The Rice Paper Diaries was longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and won the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Prize for 2014. In the same year she was shortlisted for the prestigious BBC National Short Story Award; her short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies and broadcast on Radio 4. She has also worked extensively as an editor of fiction and creative non-fiction: formerly an influential editor of New Welsh Review, she is also co-editor of an anthology of new short stories from Wales, to be published in March 2015.

The Masterclass Speakers

Louis_de_BernieresMasterclass speakers in 2015 will include Louis de Bernières, pictured, celebrated author of novels including Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; London literary agent Luigi Bonomi, founder-director of the LBA agency and recipient of The Bookseller Literary Agent of the Year award for 2010; Lee Brackstone, Creative Director of Faber and Faber; Joanne Harris, author of numerous novels including the bestselling Chocolat; distinguished American crime writer T. Jefferson Parker; and prizewinning African-American novelists Jewell Parker Rhodes and Lalita Tademy.

Corpus Christi College

Corpus Christi College was founded in 1517 by Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester and a trusted diplomatic and political adviser to King Henry VII. Bishop Foxe had originally intended the college for the training of monks; if he had followed through with this plan, the college would probably have been dissolved in the Reformation of the next generation. Instead, he decided that the college should be a place of Renaissance learning for the education of young men in the humanities and the sciences.

The beautiful main quad, with its tower, dining hall, library and adjoining chapel were planned and completed under Foxe’s guidance. Queen Catherine (of Aragon) was a friend of the college’s first President, John Claimond, and would visit him in his college lodgings while her husband, Henry VIII, hunted at nearby Woodstock. Another early visitor was the great humanist scholar, Erasmus, who wrote admiringly of the college’s library.

Many significant figures have been graduates or fellows of the college, among them the educational reformer Thomas Arnold, the Poet Laureate Robert Bridges, the art historian John Ruskin, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin and the novelist Vikram Seth.

The course, which takes place between Saturday, March 21, and Friday, March 27, 2015, costs £2550 per person including tuition, accommodation and full board

Places go quickly so please make your booking today. Click here to register now. If you have any questions about the creative writing course, please email or telephone 07444 315 899.


Comments from previous participants

‘The mixture of participants was magical, alchemical, inspirational.’

‘Ticked all the boxes on expectations and ambitions. Now I don’t just think I can be a writer – I know I can.’

‘Wonderful environment – very stimulating. A window on another world. I absolutely loved it and found it to be the perfect setting for creative thinking and writing.’

‘Beyond my expectations – loved every minute of it. Thank you.’

‘The workshop brought us together and developed an unusual bonding and mutual understanding.  I had not expected this at all and it made a big difference.  We became friends as well as professional colleagues.  The workshops were very well monitored and the teaching was careful and consistent and well prepared.  The Masterclasses were wonderful occasions, rich, perceptive and intimate in the most compelling way.’

‘Truly excellent.  A great privilege to be able to have such good tutors.’

‘Extremely helpful. I am now publishing some of my work – thank you all.’

‘Atmosphere is unique … I learned so much about the writing process and craft.’

‘Energising – so much to take away and ponder over. A top quality experience.’

‘We were changed by the week and made to see writing and our own approaches to it in a way that was richer and more fulfilled.’