Guardian Masterclasses and decent pizza lunches

News just in… I’m one of three writers giving a Masterclass for the Guardian newspaper on 12 September, called Reinventing Fiction. The session has been put together by fellow author Kate Pullinger. Here is the blurb:

What happens when you put text on a screen? What do the current transformations in reading, writing, and publishing, mean to us as readers, writers, and artists? The new technologies allow us to create stories that mix media with text, stories that utilize the vast potential that the new technologies give us for creating hybrid forms, and stories that find new ways to connect with readers. Showcasing a mix of new approaches, this is an exceptional opportunity to spend an evening with writers who operate at the cutting edge of where fiction meets new technology. This event will consist of a series of three presentations and a discussion with guest speakers Tim Wright and Tony White.

I talked to Kate Pullinger about some of these issues last year. You can read that interview here.

In recent years it has been striking how many creative writing classes and courses are increasingly being offered not just by Universities, but also by different parts of the publishing industry. I know that as a mid-career author I’m not the target market, but when I see some such opportunities advertised they seem almost prohibitively expensive, with unpublished writers frequently being asked to shell out hundreds or even thousands of pounds to take part. One way to look at this is perhaps to say that at last the slush pile has been monetised. Another, that the participants obviously and rightly enjoy doing them, that they get all kinds of value for their money in terms of feedback and contacts, access to publishers and agents, not to mention an audience, and precious time to write. But looking at some of these only recently I joked that I simply couldn’t afford to be an unpublished writer now.

It is almost the antithesis of a gag once offered by the novelist Stewart Home. When someone asked him what advice he might have to give the aspiring writer, he simply said, ‘Learn to eat less!’

This is why the recent short story workshops I gave in Bristol as part of my Missorts public art project — as well as the workshops I did for the Science Museum, when I was writer in residence there — were free.

In light of all this then, I’m delighted to be giving this Guardian Masterclass session with Kate Pullinger and Tim Wright in September, and doubly pleased to note that these sessions are priced more at the level of a decent pizza lunch for two than a month in a villa in Tuscany!


Reinventing fiction with Kate Pullinger: Spend an evening with writers who operate at the cutting edge of where fiction meets new technology

Date: Wednesday 12 September
Timings: 6.30pm- 9.30pm
Location: The Guardian, 90 York Way, King’s Cross, London, N1 9GU
Maximum attendees: 100
Price: £39 (inclusive of VAT and booking fees)

Click here for speaker biogs and to book a place.