Creative writing and publishing

Crime writing with Elly Griffiths and Lesley Thomson

Ref: SWE09822

Suitable for all


Course cancelled - scroll down for other

About this course

Investigate crime fiction, create detective characters and create scenes full of suspense as you develop crime stories you want to tell.

Course Description

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.

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.

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. You will be able to explore the extensive and beautiful grounds in search of gripping crime scenarios, during the course. You will be expected to participate in a evening session on Saturday in the one of the College’s historic rooms, when you will be able to share your work and absorb the atmosphere of this characterful and unique setting.

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.

The course could be used as a top-up for those who have attended our previous creative writing weekends as crime stories carry the key elements of suspenseful, engaging fiction.


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)
  • (You may also have access to College computers in the IT Suite or Library.)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Notebook, pencil, pen
Please note: the standard course teaching timetable will be adjusted by the tutors to accommodate the evening workshop on the Saturday finishing at 9pm. If you are a non-residential students you may book dinner for Saturday night either in advance with the Bookings Office or with Reception on arrival, with regards to attending this session.


Elly Griffiths

Elly Griffiths wrote four novels under her own name (Domenica de Rosa) before turning to crime with The Crossing Places, the first novel featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway. Her first standalone mystery, The Stranger Diaries, was a Richard and Judy Book Club selection and was The Times Crime Novel of the Year 2018.

Lesley Thomson

Associate Tutor

Lesley Thomson's second novel A Kind of Vanishing was escribed by Ian Rankin as a treasure ‘and Lesley Thomson is a class above.’. The novel won The People's Book Prize in 2010. The Detective's Daughter became Amazon UK's longest running #1 in 2013. Lesley has an MA in English from the University of Sussex.


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

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