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'Telling Tails' Creative Writing Course 

The Short Story for Beginners

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Devised and taught by internationally-acclaimed publisher and author Justin David, this eight-week course for beginners delivers the nuts and bolts of how to write a short story. The weekly Zoom sessions will explain the process—from planning and sketching out an idea, to fully fleshing out a piece of structured prose—resulting in your very own short, compact, self-contained story. With personal contact with your teacher, Justin, and interaction with the other students, you’ll be able to ask questions and throw ideas around, which is something text based courses can’t offer. And at only £210 for the course, which includes 14 explanatory pdfs, reading and writing homework tasks, and an exclusive opportunity to take part in a Q&A with author, Neil Bartlett, this is the best value online short story writing course on the market.

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JUSTIN DAVID graduated from the MA Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths. He has taught English,

Creative Writing and Art and Design for twenty-eight years. He is the author of three books, Tales of the Suburbs,

Kissing the Lizard and The Pharmacist which was described by the Times Literary Supplement as

‘the perfect introduction to a singular voice in gay literature.’ He is the publisher at Inkandescent which he founded

in 2016 with editor Nathan Evans, to shine a light on underrepresented writers. Their publications include their first

collection, MAINSTREAM, an anthology of diverse voices, and Address Book

by Neil Bartlett. In 2022, Inkandescent was a finalist for

Small Press of the Year in the British Book Awards.



The course will run from 7pm-9pm on consecutive Thursdays

1. Thursday January 11th, 2024 (Zoom)
2. Thursday January 18th, 2024 (Zoom)
3. Thursday January 25th, 2024 (Zoom)
    Thursday February 1st 2024 (no Zoom session; writing time)
4. Thursday February 8th 2024 (Zoom)
5. Thursday February 15th 2024 (Zoom)
6. Thursday February 22nd 2024 (Zoom, meet the author, with Neil Bartlett, date to be confirmed)
7. Thursday February 29th 2024 (Zoom)
8. Thursday March 7th 2024 (Zoom)

If you can't do Thursdays, please do register your interest anyway because we will add new dates as and when the first course fills up. 

The cost is £210 which includes weekly Zoom meetings during which Justin will facilitate a welcoming and supportive learning environment,

14 PDFs (delivered to your inbox over the duration of the course), weekly reading and writing homework tasks and a copy of  MAINSTREAM whose

stories we will study as part of the course. Two half-priced places are reserved for students who are financially disadvantaged. 

This will suit anyone who wants to try their hand at writing for the first time, or beginners who have just started to engage in their own creative writing

and want the focus and support of a short course. 


  • an understanding of the elements of the short story—hook, dilemma, conflict, complications, climax and denouement

  • exercises which explore aspects of fiction—narrative voice, point of view, dialogue, setting, etc.

  • weekly and mid-week prompts designed to get you writing and keep you writing

  • by the end of the course you will have received a toolkit to enable you to develop, write and edit a short story to publishable standard

  • selected stories may be showcased on the Inkandescent website

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This course includes a special 'meet the author' session with our very own Neil Bartlett whose collection of connected short stories, ADDRESS BOOK, was selected by Jackie Kay as one of the Best Books of 2021 in The Guardian. Neil will give a short reading from his work, chat to course leader, Justin David, about aspects of the craft of the short story, and then will be available to answer questions from the writing students. 

Neil Bartlett lives in London with his partner James Gardiner. His first novel, the ground-breaking queer love story Ready To Catch Him Should He Fall, written in a council flat on the Isle of Dogs, was published in 1990 and translated into five European languages. Since then, his books have been nominated for (amongst others) the Whitbread Prize (Mr Clive and Mr Page, 1996), the Costa Award (Skin Lane, 2007) and the Polari Prize (Address Book, 2022).

Address Book was an Observer Book of the Year, 2021, and The Disappearance Boy earnt him a nomination for Stonewall Author of the Year in 2014. Neil also makes theatre; most recently, he wrote the script for an adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, the lead role in which was played by Emma Corrin in the West End of London in 2022. He has been described by Edmund White as 'one of England's finest writers'.

We are waiting to hear from you. Register your interest here:

Thanks for submitting!

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