Writing Non-Fiction

6th October 2021 7:00pm to 3rd November 2021 9:00pm, Online

Is there a story you’d love to tell? Would you like to emulate the authors you most admire and tell a story with power and persuasiveness? Are you ready to develop your understanding of your own life and the lives of others?

Join Lara Feigel, an award-winning writer of memoir, history and group biography, for this online course that requires just two hours of your time each week.

Comprising stimulating workshops, discussion, practical exercises and guest speaker slots, across five weeks students will explore essential elements of writing non-fiction: how to take an initial idea and develop it into a story that others will want to read; how to craft scenes and characters in non-fiction using the techniques of the novel; and how to develop a voice both as a memoirist and a storyteller. All attendees will gain an understanding of how the non-fiction book market works and learn how to make their book proposal stand out. In the final session, Lara will share extracts of her own successful book proposals and a leading editor of non-fiction will discuss what they look for in a proposal.

The course is for a maximum of 20 students, and has been designed to welcome authors at all stages of their writing journey so, whether you have an initial idea and want to know where to start, or have a full draft and need help with revising and making it the best it can possibly be, your work stands to benefit. Furthermore, all attendees will receive a critique of up to 5,000 words of their original writing.

Each evening session will run from 7-9pm, making it ideal for those with full-time jobs and other commitments.


Course Benefits:

- 10 hours of expert tutoring and advice from Lara, as well as guest speakers

- Practical sessions with hands-on exercises based around your own writing each week

- A written review of a section of your book proposal or manuscript (up to 5,000 words)

 - Peer-to-peer review; amass a wealth of objective feedback from fellow students

- Deadlines issued for homework exercises

- Course materials available to view ahead of each session, plus catch-up audio recordings

- Exclusive discounts on W&A products including editing services and books

Each week, sessions will combine tutorials with practical exercises, discussion and feedback.



Week 1: Wednesday 6th October

Identifying and telling a story 

- You’ve found an interesting area but how do you know what the story is? 

- What’s the difference between an argument and a story and can you have both?

- How do you create an arc with a beginning, middle and end?

- How can you incorporate the techniques of the novel in a piece of non-fiction?

Week 2: Wednesday 13th October

Writing history and biography

Lara will be joined by a commissioning editor (speaker TBC).

- How can you tell the story of a life without going from cradle to grave?

- Why write a group biography and how do you decide who to include and how to structure it?

- How can you create novelistic characters when writing about real people?

- How can you bring history alive?

Week 3: Wednesday 20th October

Writing memoir: finding a voice and turning yourself into a character

- How do you decide which part of your story to tell and how to give it a beginning, middle and end?

- How do you turn yourself into a character?

- What kind of voice does your story need? Do you want to be appealing or challenging?

- How much is your own story the story of others, and how do you negotiate this?

Week 4: Wednesday 27th October

Writing the beginning of the book

- How do you decide where to begin the story?

- How do you establish the voice quickly?

- How do you capture the reader’s attention?

Week 5: Wednesday 3rd November

Writing a book proposal

Lara will be joined by a leading publishing professional (speaker TBC).

- What do agents and editors want to hear?

- How do you identify why your story matters and why we need to hear it now?

- How to write a good overview and a good chapter summary

- How should you identify the right agent to send your work to and how should you approach them?

Course Details

This is an online course presented via video-conferencing software. Joining instructions and full guidance will be provided before the course start-date.

Speaker profiles
Lara Feigel

Lara Feigel is the author of four books, all published to great critical acclaim. The Love-Charm of Bombs (2013) and The Bitter Taste of Victory (2016) both combine cultural history with group biography, telling the story of the Second World War and its aftermath through the eyes of writers, filmmakers and artists whose lives were shaped by it. Free Woman (2018) combines memoir with biography, thinking about freedom by analysing Feigel’s own life and the life and work of Doris Lessing. Feigel teaches English literature and creative writing at King’s College London, where she is Reader in Modern Literature and Culture and is the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Fellowship and European Research Council grant. She writes frequently for the Guardian and other publications. www.larafeigel.com 

Booking & payment

The course fee of £350 (incl. VAT) per student is payable in full online.

Please note that payment instalment plans are available for all W&A events, writing courses and editing services. Contact W&A Admin on writersandartists@bloomsbury.com so that we can find a payment schedule that works for you.

If this event is Sold Out, please look out for other writing courses by visiting our Events homepage.


Accessible to All

It’s of real importance to Writers & Artists that our events and courses remain accessible to all.

  • As part of our accessibility scheme, one bursary place is available for this course. Please visit our bursaries page for further information about how to apply.
  • All bursary applications must be submitted for consideration by Sunday 5th September.
  • This is an online course presented via video-conferencing software. Joining instructions and full guidance will be provided before the course start-date.
  • Course materials are made available to participants after each session at the discretion of the course leader.
  • A recording of each session will be circulated to participants and remain available to view for a time-limited period.
  • The course will include written text and visuals. Please contact us in advance so that we can make arrangements to be sure all documents appear in a format that works for you.
  • If you’d like to attend but have any questions or concerns regarding accessibility, then please email AccessWA@bloomsbury.com



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