Creative writing and publishing

Crime writing with Elly Griffiths and Lesley Thomson

Ref: SWE08864

Suitable for all

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About this course

Investigate crime fiction and gain an understanding of the crime stories you want to tell and how to begin. Develop detective characters and create scenes full of suspense. Everyone writes and shares work, and the course also serves as inspiration for those who have attended previous creative writing weekends.

Course Description

On this practical course you will investigate what crime fiction novelists are choosing to write and why. It is for beginners to more experienced writers who want to write, or who are already writing within this popular genre.

During the weekend, you will develop characters who are detectives - official or unofficial - and create suspenseful scenes. The course serves as a 'top-up' for those who have attended our previous creative writing weekends: crime stories carry the key elements of suspenseful, engaging fiction.

You will be participating in small and larger group sessions, using a mix of photograph, film and text, working on writing exercises. On the Saturday you will complete an extended writing task. Tutors Lesley and Elly will provide individual feedback as well as offering advice and examples from their extensive writing experiences. Sessions will be lively and fun and also stimulating and challenging.

We will encourage you to exploit the possibilities of a classic country house setting. In an evening session in the historic King's Room you will be able to share your work and absorb the atmosphere of this characterful and unique setting. You will be able to explore the extensive and beautiful grounds in search of gripping crime scenarios.

Lesley and Elly will be joined on the last day by acclaimed crime writer Julia Crouch. All three authors will participate in a panel session where they will answer questions about their books, their approaches to writing and their experiences of the publishing world.

Julia Crouch is the author of five domestic noir novels: Cuckoo, Every Vow You Break, Tarnished, The Long Fall and Her Husband's Lover. She also teaches creative writing for Faber Academy and The National Centre for Writing, and is also a Visiting Teaching Fellow on the Crime Fiction MA at UEA.

By the end of the course you will have developed your understanding of the kind of crime stories you want to tell and how to begin. You will have gained confidence in your writing and developed some of the skills you will need to complete an engaging crime story. You will leave with new ideas and techniques as well as an understanding of, and an enthusiasm for, the crime writing genre.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Laptop (if you have one)
  • (Students have access to PCs in the IT Suite or the Library.)

Available to buy

  • Notebook, pencil, pen

There is an evening workshop on the Saturday finishing at 9pm. Non-residential students should book dinner for Saturday night either in advance with the Bookings Office or with Reception on arrival.


Elly Griffiths

Elly Griffiths is the author of the highly successful Ruth Galloway crime novels ('wonderfully rich' The Guardian, 'highly atmospheric' New York Times). The first in the series, The Crossing Places, won the Mary Higgins Clark Award and three books have been shortlisted for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year. The eighth book, The Woman in Blue, was published in February 2016.

Lesley Thomson

Lesley Thomson has published seven novels. A Kind of Vanishing won The People's Book Prize in 2010. The Detective's Daughter, first in Lesley's internationally successful crime series, has sold over 500,000 copies. It was Sainsbury's e-book 2013 and Amazon's longest running Kindle number one for that year. The fifth in the series, The Dog Walker (April 2017) was published to enthusiastic reviews. Lesley runs short courses and workshops across the UK. Her masterclass at the Bloody Scotland Crime Festival in 2016 was filmed by the BBC's Imagine and in summer 2017 she's teaching at the Theakston's Crime Festival in Harrogate.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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