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Writing popular science

Guardian Masterclasses

Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (BST)

Writing popular science

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Event Details

Learn how to condense the mysteries of the universe into a gripping page-turner

Popular science books have never been so popular. Subjects from neurology to quantum entanglement have captured the public imagination, resulting in an enthusiastic audience and a string of bestsellers.

Award-winning science writer Brian Clegg (A Brief History of Infinity) explores practical tools and techniques for the popular science writer, guiding aspiring writers through the process of planning, writing and publishing a popular science book, from concept to final edit.

Guest speakers including Angela Saini (Geek Nation) and science publisher and writer Simon Flynn (author of 'The Science Magpie') ensure you'll receive a thorough grounding in how to choose the right topic, make complex science approachable for a lay audience, build a narrative to keep your readers hooked, and craft a proposal publishers will love. Finally, you'll be given a chance to pitch your own idea to a panel of experts for instant feedback.

This course is for you if...

  • You're a scientist or researcher with an idea for a popular science book, or an interest in the field
  • You're a journalist or non-fiction author interested in writing for the popular science market

Course description

This large-scale, seminar-style event features a panel of popular science writers and publishers discussing all aspects of writing a long-form book for a mainstream audience. Topics covered on the day include:

  • Why write popular science?
  • Choosing a topic wisely
  • Understanding your audience
  • Is it a book?
  • Research, research, research
  • Interpreting complex science
  • Diagrams and formulae – helpful or poison?
  • Escaping the 'fact book' – narrative popular science
  • The essential polish
  • Selling popular science

Tutor profiles

Brian Clegg is a popular science writer with 20 books in print who has written for publications from the Observer to Playboy. After degrees in Natural Sciences and Operational Research, he worked at British Airways before leaving to set up a company giving training in business creativity. These days, most of his time is taken up writing popular science books and giving talks. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Find out more on Brian's website.

Angela Saini is a British science journalist and author, whose first book Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World was published in 2011. Angela has also been published in Science, Wired, the Guardian and New Scientist and is a frequent presenter on BBC radio, for shows including Material World and More or Less. In 2008, she carried out an investigation into bogus universities which was broadcast on the BBC TV's flagship Ten O'Clock News.

Simon Flynn has degrees in chemistry and philosophy and worked for a good number of years in publishing, becoming managing director of leading UK independent publisher Icon Books. He recently left the publishing world to become a science teacher.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about Writing popular science? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

When & Where


The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (BST)


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Organizer

Guardian Masterclasses

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.

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