2023 Courses

From Story to Novel: A Course in Fiction Writing

For people who want to write a novel but find the prospect daunting, this course presents the much more accessible short story as a gateway: what begins as a short story written for this course might end up as a full-length novel.

A reading list of classic and more recent short stories will prepare you for writing your own. You’ll be guided by discussions about technique as well as by inspiring prompts to write and submit exercises and completed short stories which will receive personal emailed feedback.  The study material includes pdfs of prescribed reading, four study guides and four MP4s that illustrate the material in the guides. In addition, there will be four optional Zoom sessions where extracts from your stories will be shared and discussed.

Dates: 14 April to 10 July 2023

Course fee: R8000 (if paying in advance) or R2 200 x 4 if paying monthly. It is also possible to enroll for only Part 1, or only Parts 1 and 2.

To book: email finualadowling@gmail.com. Booking will be confirmed once payment is received.

Download the flyer for this course.

I Remember: A Course in Writing from Memory

Memory is the basis of almost every genre of writing from memoir to fiction and poetry. In this short course you’ll draw on memories of sensations, place, people, incident and feeling. You’ll be guided by inspiring examples and prompts and sensitive feedback to shape and develop their memories into memoir, fiction or poems.

A study guide introduces each of the five approaches to memory (sensation, place, people, incident and feeling) in an accessible way, with plenty of examples. At the end of each chapter there are exercises designed to elicit and shape memories in unexpectedly creative ways. The study guide is supplemented by MP4s which help you work through the guide and the exercises.

Dates: 27 January to 21 June 2023

Course fee: R1 800 (if paying in advance) or R400 x 5 (if paying monthly)

To book: email finualadowling@gmail.com. Booking will be confirmed once payment is received.

Download the flyer for this course.

Six Ways to Think about a Poem

This online course in poetry writing will suit both poets interested in refreshing their craft and beginners who would like to give shape to their ideas, and perhaps progress towards getting individual poems published.

The course presents six ways of thinking about and practising the art of writing poetry. It provides ways into a poem that poets have used for centuries, from seeing a poem as something that’s been there all along, to thinking of a poem as a question a poet asks (with or without wanting an answer). 

A study guide introduces each of the six approaches in an accessible way, providing inspiring examples by famous and less well-known poets. At the end of each chapter there are exercises designed to elicit poems of depth and impact. The study guide is supplemented by MP4s discussing and illustrating each approach.

Dates: 27 January-13 March 2023

Course fee: R1 900

To book: email finualadowling@gmail.com. Booking will be confirmed once payment is received.

Download the flyer for this course.

Previous courses

Just the first sentence: starting to write your novel

Thanks to the first four letters of its name, November is novel-writing month. Some people attempt the impossible, but this 90-minute lecture followed by Q&A sets a more manageable goal: to write just the first sentence.

Using inspiring illustrations and author interviews, the lecture takes you from the sources and ideas that lie behind novels to the many different ways of approaching a first sentence. It introduces the all-important concept of voice, which – if you get it right in the first sentence – may give you the momentum you need to produce a completed manuscript. As Colm Tóibín says, ‘The rest is just work’.

This is the first of a planned series on novel writing.

All attendees will receive the exercises, but only those who have paid full price will receive emailed feedback on their submissions. As this is a lecture and not a workshop, there is no time set aside for writing. There will be time for discussion and questions at the end.

From loneliness to illumination: a short course in writing

This online course aims to confirm or reveal your writing talents. You’ll reflect on the stages of the creative process, enter dialogues with authors, and produce a variety of writing including poetry, memoir, and fiction which will receive personal feedback.

Superb writing prompts; sensitive and encouraging discussion and feedback

Diary writing: a short course

Private diary writing is the natural precursor of published fiction and poetry. Times of solitude, confinement, plague, and crisis are ideal for diary writing. In this short online course participants write a diary entry each day for ten consecutive days. Each day there are also three short readings to do. Once the ten-day period of reading and writing is over, participants submit an assignment for comment. They may choose to submit a creative piece (poems, a story), part or whole of their diary, or a reflective essay drawing on their diary and/or the readings provided in the course. The course material is provided in a study guide. Three videos introduce the readings.

I was so inspired by the course material

I don’t think I’ve ever received so much considered affirmation for my writing in my whole life

Thank you, Finuala, for an exhilarating experience

Superb writing prompts; sensitive and encouraging discussion and feedback