Structure in Creative Writing

A series of eight seminars by leading academics, poets, prose writers, script writers and script doctors on structure, narrative and plot in creative work. These seminars will be craft-focused and designed to help writers to plot their work and refine its structure. Prescribed texts are available to download below. The seminar leader will guide us through those texts at the seminar. You will be expected to have read the texts in advance and the seminar will be considerably more helpful if you have.

These will be hosted in London and Norwich. The seminars will be for a maximum of fifteen students. If you sign up and do not attend or cancel with less than five days notice, you may not be permitted to attend future seminars in the series.

Seminars will be accompanied by wine tastings and a carnival of snackery. They are scheduled at 5–7pm on the Wednesdays specified below.

The following four sessions below have been confirmed. For the remaining sessions, we are hoping to confirm writers including novelist Rachel Cusk and poet Denise Riley. Once the remaining session leaders have been confirmed, this page will be updated.

Apply using the form below and if your application is accepted, you will receive an email confirming your attendance (with room details and reading material) three weeks in advance of the event.

24 October, 5pm, UEA
Narrative and Minor Characters, with a close study of Greta Gerwig’s Ladybird and Alex Woloch's 'The One and the Many’

Steve Waters is a playwright whose plays include Limehouse (Donmar Warehouse, 2017) and Temple (Donmar Warehouse, 2015). He convenes the MA in scriptwriting at UEA.

Steve Waters.jpg

28 November, 5pm, UEA
Title TBC

Rachel Cusk is the author of OutlineTransit, the memoirs A Life’s WorkThe Last Supper, and Aftermath, and several novels: Saving Agnes, winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award; The TemporaryThe Country Life, which won a Somerset Maugham Award; The Lucky OnesIn the FoldArlington Park; and The Bradshaw Variations. She was chosen as one of Granta’s 2003 Best of Young British Novelists. She lives in London.

Rachel Cusk.jpg

30 January, 5pm, UEA
Plot, Desire, and Play, with reference to Nabokov’s Lolita, Peter Brooks's Reading for the Plot and Gérard Genette's Narrative Theory

Thomas Karshan is a lecturer at the University of East Anglia, where he teaches twentieth-century literature, with a focus on games, nonsense, and parody. He is the author of Vladimir Nabokov and the Art of Play, the editor of Nabokov’s Selected Poems and the co-translator of Nabokov’s first major work, a Shakespearean verse-play called The Tragedy of Mister Morn

Karshan Head-shot.jpg

27 February, 5pm, London
McEwan’s Machinery of Narrative, looking at On Chesil Beach the book and film adaptation

John Mullan is Professor of English at UCL and best-selling author of How Novels Work.

Jacon Polley.jpg

20 March, 5pm, London
Dreaming Shape: adapting Jackself for live performance

Jacob Polley was born and grew up in Cumbria. He has published four books of poems with Picador, winning the 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry for his fourth, Jackself. He was also awarded the 2013 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, for The Havocs, and the Somerset Maugham Award for his first novel, Talk of the Town (2009). Jacob has written and performed drama for the radio, as well as made films and various collaborative public art and performance pieces. Jacob is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and lives with his family on the North East coast.

John Mullan.jpg

1 May, 4pm, London
Putting together the Longer Poem
Denise Riley’s books are War in the Nursery: Theories of the Child and Mother [1983], ‘Am I That Name?’ Feminism and the Category of 'Women' in History [1988], The Words of Selves: Identification, Solidarity, Irony (2000), The Force of Language (with Jean- Jacques Lecercle; 2004), Impersonal Passion: Language as Affect (2005) and Time Lived, Without Its Flow [2012].  Her poetry collections include Marxism for Infants(1977), Dry Air (1985), Mop Mop Georgette (1993), Penguin Modern Poets series 2, vol 10 (with Douglas Oliver and Iain Sinclair; 1996), Selected Poems (2000), Say Something Back (2016) and Penguin Modern Poets series 3, vol 6 [with Maggie Nelson and Claudia Rankine; 2017].

If your application is successful, you will be sent W.S. Graham's 'Implements in their places' and Alice Notley's 'Voices' to read in advance of the session.  


22 May, 5pm, London
The World of the Story

Tony Fisher is Reader in Theatre and Philosophy, at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. His monograph, Theatre and Governance in Britain, 1500-1900: Democracy, Disorder and the State was published in 2017 by Cambridge University Press. He is also co-editor (with Eve Katsouraki) of Performing Antagonism: Theatre, Performance and Radical Democracy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and Beyond Failure: New Essays on the Cultural History of Failure in Theatre and Performance for Routledge, 2019 (also edited with Eve Katsouraki). Before becoming Associate Director of Research in 2017, he was the course leader on MA Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media, and worked for a number of years as a script writing in the UK film industry.

Terms and conditions

By registering below you are requesting a place on this training programme or selected sessions that form part of the programme. A member of the CHASE team or the workshop leader will contact you in due course to confirm that a place has been allocated to you. If you no longer require a place, please email as soon as possible so your name can be removed from the registration list.  

If you are allocated a place but can no longer attend, please email so that your place can be reallocated. CHASE training is free to attend and events are often oversubscribed with a waiting list. Failure to notify us of non-attendance in good time (ideally 5 days prior to the workshop/programme) means your place cannot be reallocated and may result in your access to future CHASE training being restricted.

The training is open to:

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Course resources