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Course Dates   What's New?   About Anne

17 March - 28 April 2014

Creative Writing: Fact or Fiction

London, WC1, UK

There are still some places on this new course. The perfect workshop to create new work or add to your manuscript.

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31 May - 1 June 2014

Starting to Write

North London Buddhist Centre London, N7, UK

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7 - 14 June 2014

Novel Intensive & Writing Retreat
Camós (Catalonia), Spain

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24 - 26 October 2014

Finding Inspiration to Write
Armaçao de Përa, Portugal

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This course was given a detailed review by Trevor Baker in Writing Magazine.

9 & 16 November 2014

Fiction Masterclass Intensive

London, WC1, UK

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Special Gift Idea

Wondering what special gift you might give to someone who writes or wants to? Why not give a place on one of our upcoming writing courses? There are a wide variety of workshops for all levels of ability, from beginners to published authors.

Go to the Gift Certificates page to see what you need to do to delight that special writer in your life.


Student News


I am hugely pleased to announce the publication of Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins. This book that delves into the underbelly of fasion was published by Pluto Press in February 2014. Congrats, Tansy!


Alice Sanders, novelist and improviser, has begun an alluring blog called "Sanderwiches" in which all the posts relate back to sandwiches. In one post she writes about how doing the "So You Want to Write a Novel" course changed her life.



In June 2014 Anne will be leading a 7-day writing retreat in Spain in the countryside outside Gerona. This "So You Want to Write a Novel Intensive" has morning workshops, afternoon 1-2-1 tutorials and evening sessions to showcase your work and receive constructive criticism on your writing.

Learn more


Writing Tips

It’s important to establish your rhythm for writing. If you’re serious about it, it must become part of your life. You may need to bathe in it everyday. Maybe you’re happy with a shower every other day. You may be the type who dabs under the arms from time to time. But what is important is to find your rhythm and then to honour it.

You may be like Margaret Drabble: when she is writing a first draft of a novel. She sets aside seven hours a day and arranges everything around her so she won't be distracted. Food lined up and prepared in advance. No answering the phone, nothing to impede the first flow of words.

That may be fine for her, but that would be murder for me. I can redraft till my bum is numb, but a first draft is like rolling a boulder up a hill. So my first draft is done in short, sharp bursts, squeezed out of whatever deep, mysterious place that words come from.

Much of my first novel, No Angel Hotel, was written when I worked for an eccentric music publisher who was out of the country for months at a time. Whenever my employer was abroad, I would write my first draft for an hour a day, Monday to Friday. From 8.30 until 9.30AM, I would sit in front of my Adler typewriter, pecking out a first draft until I had to open the shop. That was when the phone would start ringing and I would have to deal with customers.

Though I have more time to write now, I don’t think I ever accomplish as much as I did in that precious 60-minutes before my responsibilities began at Musica Rara. So don’t think you need to clear the decks before you can become creative. A lot can be achieved in a short amount of time if you're focussed and persistent. As Igor Stravinsky said, the muse won't come unless you're already working.

Anne Aylor


Today's Quote

"The great artists of complexity, such as James and Mann and Proust, are always giving us a great deal -- of themselves, of their intellects, of their prose, of their gathered data. But one way of looking at the simplicity of Chekhov and Verga is to note how much they subtract, how little they give us, how often they invite us to fill their bareness with our own feeling."

James Wood



Anne Aylor is a professional writer and teacher who has had short stories and poems published by the Arts Council of Great Britain, Oxford University Press, The Literary Review, London Magazine and Stand Magazine.

Her first novel, No Angel Hotel, was republished in 2012 in a new edition. Her second novel, The Double Happiness Company, was published in 2011. She is 90,000 words into her third and is working on a fourth.

A number of her stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio. In 2008 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and in 2011 for the Fish Short Story Prize.

Her stage play, Children of the Dust, won a playwrighting competition and was co-produced by the Soho Theatre and Theatre Warehouse, Croydon.

She worked in post-war Bosnia where she practised Chinese medicine and taught ballet. She taught ballet at Morley College in London and is a member of PEN and 26. In 2007 she was a shortlist judge for the story competition held by the Wimbledon Book Fest and in 2011 she was the judge in the Peter Barry Short Story Competition.


Anne's Blog


January's blog post . . .10 great one-liners about writing from 10 great writers . . .

Read more


AngelCasaCaminoAugust 2012 marked the US launch of No Angel Hotel, sponsored by the Border Book Festival.


© 2005 Anne Aylor  
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." A Chekhov