Over five or 10 weeks, this live online course will help you let go of writing inhibitions and discover your individual expression. Through a series of live online seminars and supportive workshops led by one of our experienced writers and academics, develop your creative writing skills, craft original plots and characters that come alive on the page and explore how to structure a poem and produce brave, visual images.
The course is suitable for beginners as well as practising writers looking to improve their fiction-writing skills.
During the course, you’ll explore the technical aspects of writing, so that you can confidently recognise and use devices such as point of view, voice, plot, poetic form, rhythm and imagery. You’ll learn how to read as a writer, participating in group discussions on relevant texts and be able to respond sensitively and critically to other people’s work. Through workshops and writing prompts you will learn to self-edit, produce several pieces of writing as well as receive feedback on your work. You'll also gain commercial awareness of literary publication and be able to transfer your writing skills to other fields.
Each tutor has their own individual approach to the course, so the courses do vary. For the most part, the first part of the course will focus on prose writing, especially short stories. You’ll study writing techniques such as how to craft character, create a sincere voice, write surprising plots and original points of view. The latter part of the course will look at writing poetry, where you’ll examine the workings of poetic logic, metaphor, form, and sound.
Weekly sessions will often begin with looking at an extract of published prose or poetry in order to get a strong feel for writing techniques—vital for the development of your own work. There will be some class exercises, and sessions will also include a writing workshop, where you will have the chance to present your own writing and receive constructive feedback from the group. You’ll be joining a supportive community of writers who will be encouraged to respond sensitively and constructively to each other’s work. Please note, some homework assignments will be set.
Following this course you may wish to take further creative writing courses to deepen your understanding. The confidence and skills you acquire may even lead you to make an application for an accredited course at Goldsmiths like the MA in Creative and Life Writing.
The courses vary depending on the tutor but below is an example course outline reflecting the 10-week delivery of the course. five-week courses replicate the structure of the 10-week course, but two of the below session topics will be covered during each of the weekly sessions.
- Session 1: Writing anew
- Session 2: Showing and telling
- Session 3: Point of view
- Session 4: True character
- Session 5: Plotting
We look at an assortment of writers such as - Lorrie Moore, Zadie Smith, Hanif Kureishi, David Szalay, Alice Munro, Kimberley King Parsons, Carman Maria Machado, James Salter, Denis Johnson, James Baldwin.
- Session 6: Poetic logic
- Session 7: Making metaphors
- Session 8: Soundscapes
- Session 9: Form and line
- Session 10: Redrafts and Publishing
Poets may include: Jack Underwood, Sara Peters, , Kayo Chingonyi, Will Harris, Rachel Allen, Liz Berry, Louis Macniece, Dorothea Lasky, Sylvia Plath, Ocean Vuong, Andrew Macmillan, Rachel Long, Kathryn Maris, Kei Miller, Will Burns.
- Read as a writer – how to respond sensitively and critically to pieces of fiction and poetry, and use these skills in your own work.
- Use writing devices with confidence – be able to identify various techniques used by writers such as point of view, voice, plot, poetic form, rhythm and imagery, and use them in your own writing.
- Enhance your imagination by carrying out a series of innovative writing exercises to help you do away with dead language and produce fresh and alive work.
- Self-edit, by developing a writer’s ear for words that ring false and those that sound true, through the practice of giving constructive feedback to other students
- Produce an edited story or poem – you will write several short pieces of creative writing and produce one polished piece of work to present at the final course session.
- Increase your Commercial awareness - gain knowledge of literary publishing and prepare to send your writing off to publications.
- Cultivate skills that are transferrable to other fields - using vivid and engaging language is a valuable skill that can enrich other areas of work.
You will receive a digital certificate of completion if you attend 80% of the course.
Goldsmiths offers a 15% concession rate on short courses to Lewisham Local cardholders, Students and Goldsmiths Alumni.
Please note our short courses sell out quickly, so early booking is advisable.
If you have any questions about this course please contact shortcourses (@gold.ac.uk).
For information on our upcoming short courses please sign up to our mailing list.
We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please contact us at email@example.com so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible.
Dr Catherine Humble
Dr Catherine Humble works at the Institute of Psychoanalysis as Executive Editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. She holds the posts of Honorary Associate Lecturer at the UCL Psychoanalysis Unit and Short Course Tutor in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University. Catherine has co-edited a book and published papers on psychoanalysis, literature and film, as well as writing for the Telegraph and Times Literary Supplement. She has also written an award-winning short film. Her first book, Women in the shadows of psychoanalysis, will be published by Faber in the UK, FSG in the US, and in other territories, in 2025.
Dr Lucy Mercer is a writer who lives in London. Her debut poetry collection Emblem (Prototype, 2022) is the Poetry Book Society Summer Choice and was featured on BBC Radio 3. She was awarded the inaugural White Review Poet's Prize. Her poems have been published widely in magazines such as Poetry Review, Poetry London and The White Review, and anthologies such as Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry and Altered States (Ignota Books). Her critical writing has appeared in Art Review and LA Review of Books among others. She recently completed a PhD where she developed a speculative theory of emblems.
Alice Ash is the author of the short story collection Paradise Block, which won The Edge Hill Short Story Readers' Prize in 2021. She was longlisted for the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize in 2019, and other writing has been featured in Granta, Refinery29, 3:AM, Hotel, Extra Teeth Magazine, the TLS and Mslexia, amongst many others. Interests include motherhood, women’s horror writing, domesticity, magical realism, and metamorphosis. Alice’s second book, a novel, will be published by Serpent’s Tail in 2024. Alice also teaches at the University of Westminster and City Lit, and she is an editor at The Literary Consultancy. She lives in Brighton.
Sam Buchan-Watts is the author of Faber New Poets 15 and co-editor, with Lavinia Singer, of Try To Be Better (Prototype, 2019), a creative-critical engagement with W. S. Graham. He is the recipient of an Eric Gregory Award (2016) and a Northern Writers’ Award for Poetry (2019). Path Through Wood (Prototype, 2021), his debut poetry collection, was a White Review Book of the Year. He is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in Fine Art at Newcastle University and has taught Art Writing and Creative Writing in and beyond universities for several years.
Ralf Webb is a poet, writer and editor. His debut collection of poems, Rotten Days in Late Summer was published by Penguin in 2021, and was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. Webb’s poetry and critical writing has appeared in the likes of the London Review of Books, Fantastic Man, The Poetry Review, and the Guardian. He has written on film for the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, Sheffield DocFest, and The White Review, where he worked as Managing Editor for four years. He currently manages a creative writing mentorship programme in collaboration with Folio and First Story, which supports school-age writers from low-income backgrounds. In 2022 he was a writer in residence at the Jan Michalski Foundation in Switzerland. His debut nonfiction book, Strange Relations: Masculinity, Bisexuality and Four Midcentury Writers will be published by Sceptre in 2024.
Dr Livia Franchini
Dr Livia Franchini is a writer and translator from Tuscany, Italy. She is the author of a poetry pamphlet, Our Available Magic (Makina Books, 2019) and a novel, Shelf Life (Doubleday, 2019), and has translated Natalia Ginzburg, James Tiptree Jr., and Michael Donaghy, among many others. Livia is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, where she also coordinates The Goldsmiths Prize, and has taught both poetry and fiction internationally. Her second novel and a new translation of Lorenza Mazzetti’s classic debut Il Cielo cade are forthcoming in 2023/24.
About the department
The Department of English and Creative Writing is one of the largest and most dynamic in the University. We offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, with a strong research focus on critical and creative practice. Whether you are interested in classical literature and/or linguistics or creative writing and contemporary fiction, our range of interdisciplinary courses has something to offer everyone. The Department has four Research Centres and a Writers' Centre, which holds regular events that are open to the public. As well as the Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies, the Centre for Comparative Literature, the Centre for Critical and Philosophical Thought, and the Decadence Research Centre, we are proud to be the home of the Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre and the Goldsmiths Prize, which is in its 10th year of celebrating fiction at its most novel.