We are natural storytellers. We've been doing it since we lived in caves. We do it automatically when we tell tales to children. We shape our memories into coherent narratives. We gossip and tell jokes and dream. We live in a world of stories brought to us in books, plays and film.
But when we try to write, so much gets in the way: doubts about our own creativity; abstract notions about what constitutes good writing; anxieties about our ability to come up with good ideas. The words themselves trip us up – how can I get them to say what I want them to say? And how can I create a convincing character? And even the love of books can be such a burden - how dare I write a single sentence when Dickens wrote Great Expectations? And so the blank pages remain blank.
This class aims to clear away such doubts and anxieties, to plunge into the messy, playful, difficult, joyous, imperfect process of discovering stories that have their own energy and form. It will explore the power of memory, the magic of ordinary objects, the relationships between words and visions. It will nourish confidence in your ability to discover your own stories and to write them in your own voice.
By the end of the two days you should be well under way with at least one new story, and you'll have a fund of ideas for more. Although Almond is known mainly as a children's writer, this is not a class in 'writing for children'. It is for anyone who wishes to write well.
David Almond was born in Newcastle, grew up in Felling-on-Tyne and now lives in Northumberland. He is the author of Skellig, My Name is Mina, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, Clay, The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas, and many other novels, stories and plays. His work is translated into over 40 languages, and has been widely adapted for stage and screen. His many awards include The Hans Christian Andersen Award 2010, the world's most prestigious prize for children's authors. A highly experienced and inspirational writing tutor, he has run many courses for the Arvon Foundation and is now Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.
Dates: Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January 2014
Times: 10am-5pm. Check-in begins 30 minutes before the start time.
Location: The Guardian, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU
☻Early bird special (a limited number of places at a reduced price for people who book in advance) £349
☻ Regular price £399
(all prices include VAT, booking fee, lunch and refreshments)
Event capacity: 16
Dress code: There is no dress code for Masterclasses. Please dress however you feel comfortable.
When & Where
Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.
Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.
Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.
The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.