Pembroke College-National Academy of Writing Summer Programme 2013

Friday, 14 December 2012



The National Academy of Writing has joined with the International Programmes Department at Pembroke College Cambridge to design a Creative Writing Summer Programme for 2013. The course will run from 21st July to 9th August and offers a unique opportunity for committed writers to meet and work with leading practitioners while enjoying the atmosphere and hospitality of Pembroke.

Pembroke College is one of Cambridge’s oldest Colleges, and the Summer Programme combines the most effective features of National Academy of Writing and Cambridge teaching. The course will be led by the National Academy of Writing’s Director Richard Beard and by Fiona Sampson, and is designed for those with at least some and possibly quite an extensive background in creative writing.

The course is above all about the practice and art of writing. Six plenary lectures will look at a range of challenges that face creative writers, from making readable narrative from real lives to the distinction between genre and ‘literary’ writing. The skill of adapting a novel for the screen is an excellent introduction to various techniques for communicating action and emotion, while the disciplines of poetry offer lessons to writers of all kinds. The lectures will also examine strategies for creating tension, and the secrets of how to keep a reader reading.

The objective of the programme is for students to understand how best to apply these principles to their own writing. The plenary lecturers:

Sir Michael Holroyd on biography and narrative non-fiction
Deborah Moggach on structure in screenplays and novels
Ion Trewin on literary and popular fiction
Sophie Hannah on creating suspense
Richard Beard on editing
Fiona Sampson on poetic effects 

Supervisions, sometimes known as tutorials, are at the heart of Cambridge University teaching and learning. Small groups of students meet with an expert in the field – the supervisor – to review and progress their work. In groups of five, writing students will submit a piece of writing and the supervisor will facilitate a constructive discussion of the work. Writers can ask for feedback on work they bring to the programme or on new writing that emerges from the Cambridge experience. The supervisors are practicing writers:

Kerry Hudson, Nicholas Hogg, Pete Salmon, Francesca Brill, Richard Beard, Fiona Sampson

The course timetable is structured to allow plenty of time for writing and reflection, especially on weekends. Full details of the course, and how to apply, can be found at the Pembroke College website.