NAW Ten-Week Course, Free Word Centre, London 8 April - 10 June 2015

Monday, 15 December 2014

Wednesdays: 6.00 - 8.30 p.m.

The next NAW ten-week course will run from 8 April until 10 June 2014 at the Free Word Centre in London.

Six writers will be selected for this course, and applications can be made by sending 3000 words of narrative prose (fiction or non-fiction) to NAW Director Richard Beard by the deadline of midnight 13 March 2015. Places will be allocated to six applicants on Wednesday 18 March 2015.

This course is suitable for writers who have early drafts of novels, chapters or stories that they wish to improve through detailed attention to the text. It will also be helpful for those developing prose fiction or narrative non-fiction who need an incentive and regular feedback to inspire an accelerated period of productivity.

During the course the six writers will benefit from the precise editorial feedback generated by the NAW Public Edit, as well as a collective reader response from the Creative Writing workshop.

The NAW Public Edit

The unique NAW Public Edit is an innovative approach to feedback that answers the need to learn about craft in the most direct possible way, by looking closely at a specific piece of writing. Your writing. Twice over the ten weeks of the course each writer will submit a text of up to 2000 words. This text will be read in advance by the six writers on the course and then publicly edited by NAW Director Richard Beard.
The NAW Public Edit works on the Conservatoire principle that all writers face similar challenges, and an edit for one is an edit for all. All writers receive a copy of the detailed editorial notes to take away.

The NAW Workshop

The NAW workshop is an opportunity to try out extracts of work (up to 3000 words) that may feel less polished than those submitted to the Edit. The workshop acts as a community of writers, an attentive readership committed to expressing a considered critical opinion. The NAW workshop will improve reading and analytical skills as well as benefitting the writer.
All writers will be sent the workshop texts to read in advance, and the objective of the workshop is always to improve the end result – the writing.


The course includes an introductory class, in which Richard Beard will discuss the technical ingredients that go into making a succesful narrative. During the course there will be two further classes that offer guidelines on how to exploit structure for narrative effect, and on strategies for editing.

The Writing Industry

The course will be visited by an editor from a major publishing house and a literary agent. The visiting publishers on previous courses include Francesca Main, Editorial Director at Picador, and Jane Lawson, Editorial Director at Transworld/Random House. The most recent agents to visit are Nicola Barr from Greene and Heaton, and Imogen Pelham from Aitken Alexander. We always leave plenty of time for questions.


The tenth week of the course is a one-hour 1-to-1 with the NAW Director for a personalised overview of the work submitted to the course, and a look ahead to what happens next.

NAW 10-Week Course Timetable

The course consists of nine 2.5 hour evening sessions, which will take place on Wednesdays from 6.00-8.30pm at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon Road, London, and a one hour 1-to-1 mentoring session to end the course.
Wednesday 8 April Week One: 6-8.30pm Introduction, Submission rota, Class: The Ingredients of Narrative Writing
Wednesday 15 April - Week Two: 6-7pm NAW Edit; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 22 April - Week Three: 6-7pm NAW Edit; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 29 April - Week Four: 6-7.15pm Class: Structure; 7.30-8.30pm Publisher Visit
Wednesday 6 May - Week Five: 6-7pm NAW Edit; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 13 May - Week Six: 6-7pm NAW Edit; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 20 May - Week Seven: 6-7.15pm Class: Editing; 7.30-8.30pm Agent Visit
Wednesday 27 May - Week Eight: 6-7pm NAW Edit; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 3 June - Week Nine: 6-7pm NAW Edit; 7.15- 8.30pm Workshop
Wednesday 10 June - Week Ten: Mentoring (times to be arranged to suit each writer)

To Apply

Writers can apply by sending 3000 words of narrative prose (fiction or non-fiction) as an email attachment to by midnight on Friday 13 March. NAW will acknowledge receipt of all applications, and the six writers selected for this course will be notified on Wednesday 18 March. There are 6 places available on the course.

The course costs £1000, payable in full by Friday 27th March, or in two equal instalments of £500 (on or before Friday 27th March, and on or before Friday 8th May).

Previous NAW Writers

Christine Breen Williams, author of Her Name is Rose (St Martins Press, New York 2015): “The course works as a whole entity. Having the visit breaks every 3 weeks is one of the many design aspects that I think works perfectly.”
Eamon Somers: 'I have attended many workshops and classes over the years, but attending Richard Beard's NAW course gave me a whole new perspective on what i wanted to achieve in my writing and (as importantly) how i might achieve it.'
Lesia Scholey: 'Richard Beard's course at the National Academy of Writing was the best thing that could have happened to me when it did. The public edit and workshop were fantastic formats to find out what readers really think. Thank you Richard! I'll be back (but hopefully with a different book. . . .)

Press on NAW Masterclass

‘Impressive ... precise, intelligent and unarguable.' Leo Benedictus, Prospect magazine
‘After my initial shock, I felt pathetically grateful.’ Nigel Farndale, Sunday Telegraph

NAW Honorary President Ion Trewin, Literary Director of the Man Booker Prizes

'Richard’s declared intention for the course is to attract writers whose work is better than promising, but not yet good enough to find a publisher. With publishers cutting back on editors rather than acquirers the course is timely. It is Richard’s avowed wish that his students will learn from his teaching, that the quality of what they are writing will improve, that agents and publishers will queue up for their work.'