Young Writers Conference: Workshops

If you're aged between 14 and 17 and you love writing, our Young Writers Conference 2014 is for you! Head over to the main page to find out more and download a booking form. 


Elizabeth May
Building a Fantasy world with Elizabeth May

This workshop will cover the vital components for creating a fantasy world in fiction. World building will give you the chance to create a distinctive and original setting for your readers to enjoy. This workshop will also help you see how the individual perspectives of your characters can enhance your fictional world further. 


Elizabeth May was born in California. She is currently working on her PhD at the University of St Andrews. Her debut novel, The Falconer, was published by Gollancz in 2013. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter (@_ElizabethMay) or visit her website.


Creating believable characters with Cat Clarke
Cat Clarke

In this workshop we’ll talk about creating believable characters – well-rounded, three-dimensional characters that readers will care about. We’ll look at goodies and baddies, and the all-important grey area in between the two. This workshop will also focus on creating and getting to know your main character, including putting them in a dramatic situation and seeing how they’ll react.


Cat Clarke has written non-fiction books for children and worked as a commissioning editor in children’s publishing. She is now an award-winning writer of Young Adult fiction, and also runs a children’s literary consultancy. Visit Cat's website. 


Ryan Van Winkle photo by Ericka Duffy
Zine making with Ryan Van Winkle

In just 90 minutes you’ll create your own publication and enter the great and fantastical world of 'zine making.' Zines are lo-fi, easy-to-produce publications which include a range of topics from poetry to punk music. All hands and imaginations and talents will be needed to cut, collage, write and fold our creations.


Ryan Van Winkle is a poet, live artist, podcaster and critic. His first collection, Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, was published by Salt in 2010 and his poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, AGNI, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Daily and Prairie Schooner. Visit Ryan's website.

Jenny Lindsay photo by Simon Baker
Let your voice be heard- discovering poetry with Jenny Lindsay

Have you got something you really want to say? This workshop will let your voice be heard through poetry. Whether you get fired up about war, bullying or politics, you’ll get the chance to explore and express your opinions through a variety of different styles. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or you’ve tried writing some poetry before, this workshop will be a great introduction to experimenting with poetry through a range of solo and collaborative activities. 


Jenny Lindsay is a writer, performer, educator, poet and events programmer. She has been performing and writing for over ten years, including performances at Glastonbury, Latitude, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe. She is the co-creator of highly acclaimed literary cabaret Rally & Broad, and the author of The Things You Leave Behind (Red Squirrel Press, 2011).


Matt Whyman
Kick Start Your Story with Matt Whyman 

Do you get into trouble for staring out of the window during class? This workshop will help you make the most out of that critical thinking time for your writing.

Unusually for a creative writing workshop, this session won’t see you put pen to paper. Instead, we’ll get to grips with the creative process beforehand, so that everyone can go home feeling inspired. You’ll work with your fellow writers to turn an idea (a recent news report) into a story. 


A graduate from the University of East Anglia’s MA in Creative Writing, Matt’s career has taken him from advice columns (as an agony uncle for Bliss magazine and AOL) and teen self-help guides, to the cutting edge of both adult fiction and UK YA. His teen novel, The Savages, a black comedy about a family of cannibals, won the 2014 Angus Book Award and is followed by a sequel, American Savage (both Hot Key Books).