Creative writing: behind-the-scenes at the RA

Four-week creative writing course

Courses and Classes

10—31 May 2018

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In this weekly class, author Chris Sykes will lead the group in creative writing to explore the overlap between art and fiction.This course will focus on place as we explore, research and draw inspiration from Burlington House, the home of the Royal Academy.

An exclusive opportunity to visit and work in spaces that normally are not open to the general public, including the RA Schools and historic Life Room, the private members club the Academicians’ Room and the Archives and Library. “Secret spaces” and hidden corridors around the building will be open to us, all to provide inspiration and material for writing.

Participants will make use of the Sackler Landing and the installation display curated by the artist Richard Deacon RA. This installation includes contemporary sculpture and neoclassical casts. Ranging from the 18th to the 21st centuries, the works vary from portrait busts and mythological scenes to nude figures. There’s a Teddy Boy and Girl, a study for Eros and a well-toned naked man stretching. There are gods, actors and scientists. And there are also a dozen animals to be found in the display including flying horses, a spitting cat and a militarised mouse.

Drawing on this installation, and the historic surroundings of Burlington House, we will focus on description, research, character creation, viewpoint and how to construct and shape a piece of fiction.

The underlying aim of this course will be to give writers experience of an area of this fine historical building not normally accessible to them, and to help writers develop practical observation and writing skills as they develop this newly created material in their fiction.

Weekly topics could include: description, writing from observation, creating atmosphere, the components of writing and writing style; keeping a notebook; how to find ideas for stories; writing about place as a setting for story; and description of people as possible characters. Participants will look at the various senses that can unlock source material and trigger writing, as well as concepts such as show and tell, the importance of concrete detail and the use of images.

Throughout the four weeks there will be one-on-one tutor input and tips. There will be much practical writing throughout the course as we do class exercises as well as in situ writing. Through discussion, sharing of ideas, and playing with words, participants will be encouraged to look critically at their own and at other’s work.

The first three sessions will incorporate tutor input, discussions of the topic and writing in situ. There will be feedback each week, where appropriate, and the final week will be devoted to participants’ presentation of a particular piece of work, set by the tutor, for discussion and feedback and possible publication on the RA website.

This is a course for anyone who has ever thought they might like to write a story or novel, and for readers wanting to understand better what it is that writers do.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

10—31 May 2018

Belle Shenkman Room, Keeper’s House, Royal Academy, Piccadilly


Book now