Write Around Town, DIY: Online Course


An exciting and practical writing course to deepen your understanding of a sense of place in both fiction and creative non-fiction, and introduce you to new ways of looking at and engaging with the urban landscape. The course is devised to stimulate your creativity and keep you writing, and will include practical exercises, critique, craft tips, and some close study of literary texts. All participants will be included in an anthology to be published later in the year.

"...fiction depends for it's life on place." Eudora Welty

Write Around Town: DIY is an opportunity to look closely at the role of place in the way you write and the themes of your work, as well as being a chance to examine, through writing, the centrality of place to the creation of characters in fiction. So, whether it’s for you or your characters, you’ll be sent out to walk, paddle, eat and write in the city you’re in. You will use the city itself – from the Zoo to the Art Gallery – as a rich resource for personal and fictional stories. No matter where you live or what time of day or night you like to write or wander the streets, Write Around Time: DIY is a writing adventure that will inspire and surprise you.

For the two months of the course, weekly writing prompts and exercises will be sent to your Inbox, or, if you prefer, to your mail-box at home. The exercises will teach you how to map a character’s (or your own) journey through the city; look closely at the ways in which an environment impacts on psychology; and explore the symbolic resonances of aspects of the urban landscape, from bridges to biodiversity, waterways to “watering holes”. Whether you’re working on fiction, science-fiction or memoir the writing exercises are devised to suit all genres and cities!

“Sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map

made by memory and spatial perception…” Rebecca Solnit

You’ll be encouraged to share your work with other course participants, and will receive regular feedback from the course tutor. Each participant will be offered detailed feedback on one short story written during the course to suggest ways of expanding and refining the story.

The course can be done in real time, or you’re welcome to save the exercises for when you’re ready to write. You can follow the exercises and prompts in the city or town you live in, or take them with you on holiday or while you travel. All course content will be relevant to any urban environment.

Together with generating a significant amount of writing, we will also look at extracts from the works of writers who have used the city as setting and inspiration for their fiction. From Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, to Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, from Alaa Al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building to Dickens’ Sketches by Boz, and from Balzac’s A Street of Paris to Jane DeLynn’s Don Juan in the Village… we’ll be inspired by these extracts to roam the city in the name of writing. Each participant will also be given a personalised suggested reading list.

All participants will be included in Writers in the Crowd, an anthology of writing in the city. A dedicated and password-protected blog will be set up for the course and all participants will be invited to share their work.

All participants will:

  • get weekly exercises and prompts
  • be included in an anthology of city writing, Writers in the Crowd
  • be able to contribute to the course’s dedicated blog
  • receive detailed feedback on a story written during the course
  • be given a customised reading list
  • be encouraged to interact with other writers online

limited to 15 participants

The online course Write Around Town: DIY runs alongside the Write Around Town workshop in London.

Course tutor: Shaun Levin

Shaun Levin is the author of Seven Sweet Things, A Year of Two Summers, and Snapshots of the Boy. His most recent work is a fictional biography of the London-born painter, Mark Gertler. He has taught writing for twenty years in colleges and other settings, and run workshops in cafes, art galleries, bookshops, parks, a cemetery, and a zoo. Shaun is passionate about exploring the landscape, the sea, the urban environment, as well as other art forms to enrich our stories and take writing to new and unexpected places. He has lived in London for the past fifteen years and has made the city an integral and important part of his work. Shaun is also the founding editor of the literary journal, Chroma, and is the director of Treehouse Press.

Dates: 26 May until 28 July

Venue: Home and around town

Fee: £190 (£150 early-bird booking before 5 May)

The course is now full

Please contact me if you’d like to go onto the mailing list to be notified of the next course starting in September 2012:

shaun [at] shaunlevin.com



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