SNWF 2021’s theme is… Long-Form & Short-Form!

24- 25th April 2021


Diana Evans

Diana Evans is the author of Ordinary People, which won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. Her previous novels are The Wonder and her bestselling debut 26a, which won the inaugural Orange Award for New Writers. Her journalism, essays and criticism appear in Time Magazine, the GuardianVogue and Financial Times among others. She is an associate lecturer in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Photo credit: © Charlie Hopkinson


Ruth Brandt

Ruth Brandt is a creative writing tutor and writer. Her short stories and flash fiction have been widely published. She won the Kingston University MFA Creative Writing Prize, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Write Well Award and Best Small Fictions Award. Her short story collection No One has any Intention of Building a Wall will be published by Fly on the Wall Press in 2021. She lives in Surrey with her husband and has two delightful sons.

The Session: Where to Begin with Your Book.

Do you think you would enjoy creative writing but are not sure where to start? Or do you have an idea for a novel or want to write about your life but don’t know how to go about it? This course will touch on the importance of reading for a writer, of being prepared to make mistakes  and the necessity of redrafting, and it will introduce you to techniques used to bring characters, real and fictional, to life on paper.

The course will be set in a relaxed, workshop atmosphere where you will be encouraged to write your own creative piece. No previous experience is necessary.

Taster Sessions

Gillian Best

Teaching Your Characters to Talk

Gillian Best is a writer, swimmer, and seaside enthusiast.

Her debut novel, The Last Wave, is published in Canada and the USA by House of Anansi Press, in AUS, NZ, and UK by Text Publishing, and in Germany as Martha und Das Meer by Dromer Knaur.

Gillian was chosen by CBC Books as one of 17 Writers to Watch in 2017. She was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize (2018), Wasafiri’s New Writing Prize (2015), was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize International Creative Writing Competition (short story, 2013), and won the Bronwen Wallace Award for Short Fiction (2003). She was awarded her PhD in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Glasgow. Originally from Waterloo, Canada, she lives, works, and swims in Bristol.

The Session:

Teaching Your Characters to Talk

In this 45 minute session we’ll explore how dialogue works, and how it can work for you. We’ll discuss how phatic talk often falls flat in fiction, examine subtext and how you can do it well in dialogue, and finally we’ll do a couple of brief writing exercises together to get you started.  If you have specific questions, please bring them along!

This session would be most appropriate for those writers who have tried writing dialogue before and find it’s falling flat.

Robert Kiely

Poetic Compaction: An Introduction to Short-Form Poetry

Robert Kiely is the author of simmering of a declarative void (2020) and Incomparable Poetry, an essay on the financial crisis of 2007-8 and Irish literature (2020).

The Session:

Poetic Compaction: An Introduction to Short-Form Poetry

Poetry is frequently bound up with ideas around economy of words and compactness. In this workshop, we will discuss short-form poetry by looking at sample poems, how they demonstrate urgency, exactness and rigour. Equally, we will discuss the dangers of glibness and the too-well-rounded close, and how to let imperfection and error into our short poetry and our writing life more generally. Like the world of miniatures, short poems are a space where fine details and miniscule blunders scream. We will discuss how to experiment with the linebreak and the “swerve,” where an unexpected detail emerges, and hopefully these tools can bring some excitement and adventure to your writing.

[The session will be opened by Sharron Green and run by Robert Kiely.]


Nikita Gill

Instagram Poetry Talk

Nikita Gill is a poet and playwright. She has more than 600,000 followers on Instagram and has been described as one of the most successful “Instapoets”. She has also written and curated six poetry books and one novel in verse. Her latest collection, Where Hope Comes From: Healing poetry for the heart, mind and soul, will be published on 18 February.

Nikita will read some of her work before we open the floor to your burning questions. More information on the session will be coming soon!

Roz Morris

Ghostwriting Author Talk

Roz Morris is an author, editor, writing coach and ghost-writer. She is the author of My Memories of a Future Life, Lifeform Three, Ever Rest (coming out on the 3rd June), Not Quite Lost: Travels Without A Sense of Direction and the Nail Your Novel series for writers. Roz has a full online self-study ghostwriting course on Jane Friedman’s website.

The Session: Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting is a shadowy corner of the publishing world. How much of it goes on? Who does it? How does it work? Is it respectable? If you’re a writer, how do you gain entry? Most of all, would it suit you? Roz Morris is a novelist, memoirist and writing coach. She’s taught masterclasses at international events and for The Guardian in London. She’s acclaimed for her own novels, My Memories of a Future Life and Lifeform Three, and she’s also the secret hand behind ghostwritten books that have sold more than 4 million copies. In this one-hour session, she gives a glimpse behind closed doors.

More guests to be announced soon!

Take a look at our blog posts below to get inspired before the festival:

Game Writing’s No Game: Why Interactive Writing Isn’t Simple – by Leon Lynn

Video games perhaps aren’t the first things that come to your mind when you’re asked to think of art or literature. In fact, many people I speak to about games writing seem unaware or even surprised that games can, and today often do, carry a narrative and artistic depth similar to or even surpassing cinematic, … More Game Writing’s No Game: Why Interactive Writing Isn’t Simple – by Leon Lynn

Screen Tricks and Chill – by Sarah Callow

A locked down Valentine’s Day has just passed and many of us may have spent the evening in front of the TV, with or without that special someone. The latest figures from Ofcom show a 40% rise in viewing time. After all, the real love affair of the past few months has been with our screens.   Writers can, however, indulge guilt free in quality time with the … More Screen Tricks and Chill – by Sarah Callow

Accuracy vs. Character: The Debate Around Biographical Fiction – by Chiara Fumanti

Reality is a fact. Right? Well… In the realm of life writing, reality might not be as straightforward as it seems. A few years ago, I asked my grandmother if she could tell me about her life. I wanted to write about it, but I never thought I actually would. A few months after she … More Accuracy vs. Character: The Debate Around Biographical Fiction – by Chiara Fumanti

How Blackout Poetry Can Bring Colour to Your Creative Writing and Reading – by Emily Wootton

Emily delves into the form of blackout poetry and discovers it might be the perfect way to induce creativity. The name might sound dull, but blackout poetry (or erasure poetry) is anything but. If you’re a writer and haven’t tried writing blackout poetry before, it might just be the form that’s missing from your repertoire. … More How Blackout Poetry Can Bring Colour to Your Creative Writing and Reading – by Emily Wootton

Amanda Gorman & Our Laureates Across the Pond – by Laurs Oakley

Inspired by Amanda Gorman’s incredible reading at the 2021 inauguration of President Biden, Laurs takes a look at the laureate programs we have in the UK. It seems I am not the only one in awe of Amanda Gorman and her poem, The Hill We Climb after her reading at the U.S president’s inauguration. The world has woken up to a … More Amanda Gorman & Our Laureates Across the Pond – by Laurs Oakley

New Year, New You: 8 Books to Get You Inspired – by Tenikah Beveney

With a humorous look back on 2020, Tenikah recommends eight brilliant books to inspire a new year of growth and kindness. A new year brings new hope and 2021 is no different. After a year that can only be described as literally a living hell, we all have our fingers, toes, eyes, nose and practically every … More New Year, New You: 8 Books to Get You Inspired – by Tenikah Beveney