About Us

The National Academy of Writing was set up as a non-profit organisation in 2000 to offer writers practical training of the type available to actors at RADA and musicians at the Royal College of Music. Specialised training both individually and in groups, provided by working practitioners, is the accepted start for actors, musicians and visual artists. Emerging writers benefit from a similar approach.

"Natural creative talent is not enough. Writers need to learn their skills and perfect their craft. That's the task of The National Academy of Writing, to convert promise into achievement.Jim Crace, Novelist & NAW Patron

NAW Courses

NAW courses, based in London, combine the best aspects of NAW Public Edits, seminars on technique, and workshops. NAW Writers receive expert feedback on a scheduled, regular basis, while visiting professionals contribute their knowledge of craft and the industry.

The unique Conservatoire-style NAW Public Edits are delivered by the Director Richard Beard. These public edits are a central component of every Academy course, and Leo Benedictus in Prospect magazine described the NAW Public Edit as 'impressive ... precise, intelligent and unarguable.'

Writers visiting courses and NAW events have included Iain Banks, Jane Harris, Minette Walters, Kevin Barry, Jojo Moyes, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Almond, Sir Michael Holroyd, Sophie Hannah, Alan Hollinghurst and many more.

NAW Events

The Academy is national, and stages literary events around the country to demonstrate the Academy's unique approach to Creative Writing. Workshops, Public Edits and NAW writer visits have featured at the Cheltenham Literature FestivalHenley Literary FestivalBristol Festival of Literature, Nottingham University, Birmingham City University and Cambridge University.

The National Academy of Writing designs and runs an annual Creative Writing summer programme in association with Pembroke College, Cambridge.

To enquire about hosting an NAW event, please contact richard@thenationalacademyofwriting.org.uk

NAW and the Publishing Industry

The Academy is led by practising writers and has extensive contacts in the industry through the NAW Board of Trustees, Patrons and Partners. The Academy is supported by leading writers who visit Academy sessions to discuss battles with craft and technique as well as challenges within the industry.  Editors, agents and other industry professionals may also give presentations offering insights into their work.

The National Academy of Writing is a most welcome addition to the landscape of publishing. By offering first class editorial assistance and professional guidance, for new writers NAW may be that vital help to bridge the gap between writing and publication.’ Ion Trewin, NAW Honorary President


Richard Beard has published five novels and three books of creative nonfiction.  The novel Damascus was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Muddied Oafs was short-listed for the British Sports Book Awards. In 2008 he was short-listed for the BBC National Short Story Award and in 2010 long-listed for the inaugural Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. Acts of the Assassins (Harvill Secker 2015) is his next book.

Course Coordinator

Rena Brannan was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in the United States.  She has been short-listed for the Harper’s Bizarre/Orange Short Story Competition, the Mslexia Short Story Competition, Yellow Voices Play Writing Competition, and the BBC 10-Minute Shorts Competition. In 2006 she co-produced Henry Green’s Nothing at the 59 E 59 Theater for the annual Brit’s Off Broadway Festival in New York. Her play Sidekick had a rehearsed reading at the Royal Court in 2010, and her cartoon series GAYDAR can be found on the online magazine whensallymetsally. She is currently working on her new play Club F*ck. 

Honorary President

Ion Trewin
Ion Trewin
was literary editor of The Times before becoming a publisher with Hodder & Stoughton and then Weidenfeld & Nicolson, where he was managing director and editor in chief.   His own books include the highly praised Alan Clark: The Biography, and since 2005 he has been literary director of the Man Booker Prizes. 


Francis Bennett rwu
Francis Bennett has worked in publishing for over forty years. In 1987 he co-founded Book Data, and was its Managing Director until 2005. He has served as Vice-Chairman of the Book Development Council, Chairman of the Society of Bookmen and has received a British Book Award 'Lifetime Achievement'.  He is currently Deputy Chairman of Yale University Press in the UK. He is the author of three novels.


Nicolette Jones is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who has worked for national newspapers and the book trade press. Specialising in literary and arts journalism, she is the children's books editor of The Sunday Times and Director of the children's/YA programme at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival (2010-2013) and Consultant Director of the Festival for 2014. 

Geroge Brock
George Brock is Professor and Head of Journalism at City University London. He worked at The Times for 28 years. He is a board member of the World Editors Forum, a member of the British committee of the International Press Institute, and a governor of the Ditchley Foundation. He broadcasts and lectures frequently and reviews for the Times Literary Supplement.

Andrew Cowan is the Director of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.  He is the author of five novels, including Pig, which won a BettyTrask Award, the Authors' Club First Novel Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Prize, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.  His Creative Writing guidebook The Art of Writing Fiction was published by Pearson in 2011.  His latest novel Worthless Men was published by Sceptre in spring 2013.  His work has been published in ten languages.