Course overview



Find your voice as a writer and write your first short story on this course from the Department of English and Creative Writing.

I registered for the short story course looking for a creative outlet having never done any creative writing before. It turned out to be the most stimulating and fun course I have taken in years! The tutor, Giovanna, was both inspiring and encouraging. Each week she guided us through aspects of the short story form and provided an excellent handbook with a great range of short stories for us to read and discuss.

Angela, Autumn 2016

Giovanna is an inspiring, thorough and relatable teacher and her love of the short story form is evident in every session. Each week we concentrated on structure, character, dialogue, starting points and many others ways into the creative process. We bonded as a group and took care in critiquing each others work. Every week felt like a new discovery. I have gone from this course straight into an MA in creative writing - at a much later stage in my life than I would have anticipated.

Shelley, Spring 2017

This course is an excellent introduction to the short story, how to decode the best ones and begin to write your own. Short stories are a great way into creative writing; they demand discipline, water-tight prose and originality. They are exciting to write, are intensely character-driven and offer the reader tantalising miniature worlds. They are also great practice for longer form narratives; many well-known writers cut their first literary teeth on short stories.

The course is designed for all levels, from complete beginners to more practised writers who are keen to try out the challenges of the short form. It will appeal to students who have a passion for fiction (not necessarily short stories) and a desire to try out different approaches to writing short fiction.

Why study this course at Goldsmiths?

Goldsmiths is home to a world renowned creative writing department that is experimental, risk-taking and exciting. We have award-winning former students like Evie Wyld, Ross Raisin and short story writer, Tom Lee. Goldsmiths has respect from the literary industry in the form of the Pat Kavanagh prize and the Goldsmiths Prize, established in 2013 to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the university and to reward fiction that breaks the mold or opens up new possibilities for the novel form. This year the £10,000 prize was awarded to Ali Smith’s How To Be Both.

This course will not only serve as an excellent introduction to the short story but will open up the possibility for students to take further creative writing courses at Goldsmiths and deepen their understanding. The confidence and skills acquired could lead into making an application for an accredited course at the university like the MA in Creative and Life Writing.

What will I study on this course?

In these workshops you will be reading and studying extracts from some of the great short story writers including Anton Chekhov, Katherine Mansfield, Alice Munro and Raymond Carver as well as contemporary writers like Kevin Barry and Claire Keegan.

Inspired by what we read we’ll begin crafting our own stories, focusing on: characterisation, beginnings and endings, plotting, creating conflict, point of view and dialogue. We will use objects, memories and life experience to develop ideas for stories that explode on the page.

The classes will be focused around you and your writing. The work of course participants will be as highly valued as the extracts included from published writers. Using a workshop-style approach, the course will utilise writing prompts and exercises, prose extracts, pair-work and interesting interview clips from the internet.

What are the intended learning outcomes?

Confidence – you will gain confidence from reading and responding to texts and developing their own ideas, characters and plots for stories.

An edited story -you should be able to develop several pieces of work from the exercises, homework and prompts in class, but the idea will be to draft, develop and deepen at least one short story over the course of 10 weeks that you will be confident presenting in the final session.

Sharing work – each participant will get at least one chance to read out their work and get feedback. As any writer knows, this is invaluable in terms of a group response and understanding readers/your audience.

Develop/hone analytical skills - you will become used to responding to texts and unpacking them in terms of style, literary devices and effects which will feed back into your own work.

Effective feedback - you will learn how to give helpful, supportive feedback in response to other participants' work and learn how best to respond to your peers' feedback on your own work.

Commercial awareness - participants will gain an insight into the short story world in terms of marketing, selling and submitting their stories for publication.

There will be a small pre-course reading and writing task to get you thinking about writing stories. Reading material will also be provided. In each class your tutor will set you a task which will involve a written exercise or developing an idea – you will also be expected to read at least one story for the following week. 

You can expect to produce at least one finished story by the end of the 10 week course. The process of absorption, consolidation and output on the course will be invaluable to the work you produce.

How will this course help me with my life/career?

On ths course you will not only learn how to express yourself and how to write more effectively, you will also learn how to present your ideas, critique the work of others and how to absorb information and integrate it into your own work.

Whilst writing short stories can be a relaxing pastime and a wonderful hobby, it also helps train you in skills that are applicable to almost any career and may even help you discover skills and a confidence that you didn't know you had before.



Booking information

Disability Support

We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible. 

Please note our short courses sell-out quickly, so early booking is advisable.


If you have any questions about this course please contact shortcourses (

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Tutor information

portrait of course tutor Giovanna

Giovanna Iozzi

Giovanna Iozzi is a writer, PhD academic and experienced creative writing teacher. Her course, 'How To Write Short Stories that Resonate' is a popular programme that encourages all students, both new to writing and those who have written before, to discover their own voices. She also teaches for Haringey Literature Live who run bespoke adult writing courses in north London. 

Giovanna is a recipient of the prestigious Pat Kavanagh prize from Goldsmiths for her short fiction and has published stories in print and online including: Ambit, Rattle Tales, the New Writer, Exeter Writers, Young Voices & The Gold Room. In a former life she worked as a tabloid journalist and still enjoys writing non-fiction pieces. She is completing her first novel which was shortlisted in Good Housekeeping's annual novel prize, 2016. 

Dr Catherine Humble - black and white photo

Dr Catherine Humble

Dr Catherine Humble is a writer, lecturer, journalist and experienced creative writing teacher. She has written poetry and prose fiction and has read her work at various events including the Troubadour. She also writes non-fiction for the Telegraph, the TLS, and other publications, and is finishing writing a book on Raymond Carver. Her specialisms are late twentieth century American prose and poetry, psychoanalysis, visual aesthetics, ethics, trauma studies, and more recently she has worked on refugee poetry. Catherine teaches Creative Writing at Goldsmiths and Kingston University, co-organises the annual Poetry and Psychoanalysis Competition and Conference, and is working on a collection of stories.

Lucy Mercer

Lucy Mercer's poems have been published widely in magazines such as Poetry London, Poetry Review and The White Review amongst others, as well as in anthologies such as Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry (Ignota, 2018) and Try To Be Better (Protoype, 2019). In 2017 she was awarded The White Review Poet's Prize. She is a PhD candidate in Geography and Poetry at Royal Holloway, University of London, and is currently she is currently co-editing a special issue of Contemporary Women's Writing on motherhood. Her main research interests are in text-image theory, poetics, ecological philosophy, early modern studies, maternal writing, and contemporary visual arts and poetry.


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