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Inspiration and research: A masterclass with Cambridge University’s creative writing tutors

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (BST)

Inspiration and research: A masterclass with Cambridge...

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Inspiration and research: A masterclass with Cambridge University’s creative writing tutors   more info Sep 6, 2019 £129.00 £6.48
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Event Details

Discover ways of balancing inspiration and research as you embark on the writing of your novel or short story, with Professor Jem Poster and Dr Sarah Burton of the University of Cambridge creative writing programme.

What is inspiration and what are its sources? Can we go looking for inspiration or do we have to wait for it? What forms might research take, and how do we use the results of our research? How can we recognise a potentially fruitful idea?

These are all questions we must address as writers, and in this supportive full-day course you will participate in a combination of practical exercises and discussions to explore them. You will leave with a better understanding of the relationship between inspiration and research, and will have developed a firmer grip on the ways in which stories may arise in our minds, and the strategies we can use to sustain and develop our early insights.

This masterclass is suitable for all aspiring fiction writers, from beginners seeking guidance to more experienced writers wanting to sharpen and energise their practise. It is part of our workshop series with Professor Jem Poster and Dr Sarah Burton, founders and former leaders of the master’s degree course in creative writing at the University of Cambridge.

Book the series ticket and save over £100.

Course content

  • The nature of inspiration

  • The nature and uses of research

  • Assessing the potential of our ideas

  • Developing our ideas

  • Some feedback will be given during the course

Tutor profiles 

Jem Poster is the author of two novels – Courting Shadows and Rifling Paradise – as well as a collection of poetry, Brought to Light. He has also recently completed Volume 3 of the six-volume series, Edward Thomas: Prose Writings. He has won major prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry and the Peterloo Poets Open Poetry competitions. He is emeritus professor of creative writing at Aberystwyth University, and has been chair of the editorial board of New Welsh Review and programme advisor to the Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education’s MSt in creative writing. He is currently director of the institute’s international summer programme in creative writing and is an affiliated lecturer of the institute. He is director of academic programmes for the Financial Times Oxford Literary Festival and in 2014 was writer in residence at Arizona State University.

Sarah Burton was founder of the creative writing MSt at Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education and was its director from 2013 to 2017. Her publications include two critically acclaimed biographies, Impostors: Six Kinds of Liar and A Double Life: A Biography of Charles and Mary Lamb, which was shortlisted for the Mind Book of the Year award; a children’s book, The Miracle in Bethlehem: A Storyteller’s Tale; a page-to-stage guide, How to Put on a Community Play; and the humorous Complete and Utter History of the World By Samuel Stewart, Aged 9.

All Guardian Masterclasses are fully accessible but please contact us at masterclasses@theguardian.com if you have any queries or concerns.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about Inspiration and research: A masterclass with Cambridge University’s creative writing tutors? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

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When & Where


The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (BST)


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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

  Contact the Organizer

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