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Creative Writing Courses

Creative writing courses 2024 at Bookseller Crow Bookshop are:

Creative Writing Course (fiction and autobiographical writing)

  • Tuesday 12th November – 17th December, 7.30 – 9.30pm

Writing a Memoir course (new for 2024) 

  • Tuesday 24th September – 29th October 2024

For more information read below. To enrol, register interest, or ask a question, email: 

Creative Writing Course Information

Designed to help you discover what you are interested in writing about – and in which form – on one hand the course introduces elements of craft, while equally encouraging experimentation. In this highly practical course (you will get writing from the off!) feedback, encouragement and writing tips gathered from my years as a writer are offered along the way. The instruction given is highly supportive, at times playful, and always encouraging to aid everyone in their creative pursuits.

Aside from time spent at the workshop with the group, you’ll need to write for a few hours within the week. Ahead of the course start date, students will receive a suggested reading list to inspire and invigorate. The sessions are delivered live in the events area of Bookseller Crow Bookshop with some course material and information sent via email. Places are offered on a first come first served basis and the total cost is £179.

The group is capped at twelve writers to maintain the personal bonding found within creative workshops. Classes are suitable for over 18’s, and aimed toward beginners or writers who wish to gain confidence and find motivation to write. This course is also suitable for those with a special interest in writing fiction or using autobiographical material.

Exercises will be set each week during class time as well as the explorative ‘creative assignments’ to be completed outside of class. During the six weeks these aspects will be explored:

  • ​Writing autobiography/memoir
  • How autobiography can inspire fiction
  • Building characters
  • Point of view
  • Story structure/shape
  • Using dialogue – necessary or an add-on?

In the final week there will be tips on how to keep writing and then the reading party where we celebrate your achievements so far.


Writing a Memoir – Course Information

Tuesday 24th September – 29th October 2024, 7.30-9.30pm 

Do you want to write a memoir and don’t know where or how to start? Or perhaps you’re already working on one and need ideas on how to continue? Or do you simply wish to explore your life through writing with no definite outcome? Whether you are beginning or already writing then this course is for you.

There are so many rich possibilities for compelling narratives based on our true stories – including lives and experiences that might seem very ordinary until they’re held up to the light.

Over the six evenings of the course, prize-winning writer and memoirist, Karen McLeod, will take you on an
in-depth exploration of your memories. She will aid your gathering of material and introduce you to the techniques you’ll need to sharpen your prose style. This will enable you to start shaping your lived experience into a readable and lively story.

Karen is the author of the memoir Lifting Off published by Muswell Press in 2024. Her first novel In Search of the Missing Eyelash won a Betty Trask Award and was translated widely. In a previous life, Karen worked for British Airways as cabin crew and it was this experience which sent her into freefall, and then many years later became the story for Lifting Off.

As a gay working-class writer, Karen welcomes everyone from all backgrounds to apply, especially those in need of encouragement who don’t feel ‘seen’ in the contemporary literary or UK landscape.

The price of the course is £199 and the maximum class size is twelve people. There will be two concessionary places available for those who are unwaged or having financial difficulties (contact Karen for more details).

Digging into the past – maps and photos

Memory & truth – My story not The Story

Planning & structure – strong beginnings in memoirs.
Reading other texts for inspiration.

Tools for storytelling – how do stories work and finding your authentic voice

Building your writing

Reading party – and looking to the future


Participant feedback (October 2023)

“The main thing I wanted to say was ‘thank you’. When I took your course, I had a real case of lost mojo. I found you properly inspiring and your approach to life writing really helped me reconnect. The novel I’m working on had its genesis in your class so you had a very real impact.”

“I got exactly what I wanted and needed on your course! I was looking for ways to access writing that felt all locked up inside of me and I didn’t want to ‘learn to write like everyone else’… Thank you for an absolutely fantastic course.”

“I loved the course – it knocked me off my normal pattern of thinking and got me to try new things! Also I got some really useful feedback.”

Karen McLeod
Karen McLeod is a prize-winning author (In Search Of The Missing Eyelash) and performer of comic poet Barbara Brownskirt. She holds an MA in Creative Life Writing from Goldsmiths University and is Bookseller Crow’s writer-in-residence and literary events co-ordinator. Her memoir on flying as cabin crew, Lifting Off, will be published in 2024.

For the last ten years she has run Creative Writing courses within the bookshop, and in lockdown delivered them online. These workshops have proved hugely popular, both creatively and for the community, linking together creatives from Crystal Palace, South-East London and beyond.

Those attending the course have gone on to write successful TV dramas, radio plays, poetry, novels and performance. In 2019 Kate Davies had her debut novel published, In At The Deep End by Borough Press and in 2020 it won the Polari prize. Many writers attending the classes form strong friendships and continue to meet in their own writing groups. Karen also runs workshops for other organisations and recently has worked with The Shakespeare Archive Trust, Positive East, a lecturer for University for the Creative Arts and tours with the LGBTQI+ literary salon POLARI.

See Karen’s website

‘In Search of the Missing Eyelash’ by Karen McLeod

Karen’s debut novel ‘In Search of the Missing Eyelash’ was originally published by Jonathan Cape, won the Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Best First Novel Award. Since then she has been widely published in the milieus of fiction and non-fiction. Her memoir, ‘Lifting Off’ about flying as cabin crew and flailing will be published in June 2024 by Muswell Press when they will also bring out a new edition of ‘In Search of the Missing Eyelash’. Both will be available at Bookseller Crow soon.

Before you go