Write Now! Creative Writing Summer School


We all have stories to tell, and with the right guidance you can make those stories compelling. Perhaps words are pouring out of you but you need to structure them. Perhaps you’re bursting with ideas but aren’t sure where to start. Perhaps your life-story, short story, novel, or poem is well underway but you're not yet confident about editing and polishing. Our experienced, encouraging tutors will help you to find your voice and shape your story.

During this intensive 9-day summer school, we invite you to:

  • Work with Oxford tutors in small-group workshops.
  • Receive tutor feedback on your writing during two individual 20-minute tutorials.
  • Attend talks by industry professionals and authors.

You choose any two workshops from the options below: 

In the workshops, you'll learn from expert tutors, analysing the employment of literary devices which you can then use in your own work. You will also engage in writing exercises,  give and receive peer-review, and have the opportunity to respond to your tutors' feedback. The aim of the programme is to help you find and develop your own style and voice while adding new techniques to your personal writer's toolkit.

Programme details

Your course will comprise:

  • 5 hour-long lectures delivered by expert tutors
  • 5 x 30-minute Q&A sessions
  • 10 small-group 90-minute workshops
  • Two 20-minute individual tutorials on your own writing
  • A walking tour of Oxford 
  • Opening and closing drinks receptions
  • Optional evening social programme

Orientation meeting and welcome champagne reception

Your programme starts on Friday afternoon with your arrival at New College and a full orientation meeting during which we'll provide you with all the information you need to take full advantage of your time during the course.

We then invite you to join us for a champagne reception in the beautiful New College Cloisters, overlooking a green space in which grows the holm oak made famous in the Harry Potter films. 

Course outline and structure

The workshops will begin from Saturday 12 onwards, and your morning will begin either with a plenary session in which industry professionals and established authors give a talk, or with individual writing time.

You'll also participate in workshops in two genres of your choice and benefit from an individual tutorial on a piece of your own writing for each workshop option. 

Plenty of time for writing in New College's inspiring environment has been built into the course.

You can find a sample timetable here to see how your course will be structured.

Plenary lectures

Monday 14 August - Agencies by Anthony Harwood, literary agent

Tuesday 15 August - Writing creative non-fiction by Alice Jolly, biographer

Wednesday 16 August - Writing fiction by Suzannah Dunn, author 

Thursday 17 August - Writing and Publishing Genre Fiction by David Bishop, author and editor

Friday 18 August - Researching for writing by Rebecca Abrams, author

Please note that lecture days may change.

Optional social and informal events

We encourage you to mingle and network in a bar quiz night and to showcase your work at an open mic night. You'll also have a chance to enjoy a guided tour of the historic centre of Oxford.

Closing reception and gala farewell dinner

We invite you to join us for one last glass of champagne in the Cloisters before enjoying a gala farewell dinner in the beautiful surroundings of New College's dining hall. For this special occasion formal dress is encouraged.

Meals and Morning Refreshments


A self-service buffet style breakfast is provided offering a wide range of hot and cold options.


Tea, coffee and biscuits are served during the morning break.


A two-course self-service lunch is provided in the college dining hall. 


A two-course self-service dinner is provided in the college dining hall.

Your tutors

Alice Jolly - tutor for Life Writing (Cohort 1)

Alice Jolly’s most recent novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile was published in 2018 by Unbound. It was runner up for the Rathbones Folio Prize. Alice has also won the Pen Ackerley Prize for memoir and the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for one of her short stories. She was awarded an O.Henry Prize in 2021 and teaches creative writing at Oxford University and Life Writing at Goldsmiths (University of London).  

Jeremy Hughes - tutor for Life Writing (Cohort 2)

Jeremy Hughes began his writing life with poetry. He was awarded first prize in the Poetry Wales Competition and shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award. He has published two pamphlets: breathing for all my birds, highlighted at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, and The Woman Opposite. His poems have appeared in ‘A’ Level specifications and anthologies. He has published two novels – Wingspan (2013) and Dovetail (2011). He has been the recipient of a Literature of Wales Writer’s Bursary. His short fiction, life-writing, and reviews of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction have appeared widely in publications as diverse as the TLS, New Welsh Review, Acumen, and Oranges & Sardines. He was in the first cohort to study for the Master’s in Creative Writing at Oxford and is a member of the Society of Authors.  He is the Assessor for the Certificate of Higher Education in Creative Writing, a core tutor for the Undergraduate Diploma, and delivers a variety of courses including poetry, dialogue, grammar, nature writing, and life-writing.  

Dr Pete Freestone - tutor for Writing Fantasy Fiction

Dr Pete Freestone (they/she) is an award-winning fantasy author published in eight languages, and an academic interested in the ways SFF influences the real world. Writing as P.M. Freestone, their Shadowscent fantasy duet began with The Darkest Bloom (an Aurealis Awards finalist, and a Scottish Book Trust, Books for Keeps and DIVA Magazine Book of the Month) and concluded with Crown of Smoke. Pete’s short stories for adults and young people have appeared in various online and print venues including anthologies from Penguin. By first training, Pete was an archaeologist, mapping lost Maya cities in the Belizean rainforest and restoring Ancient Roman armour. Now, when not writing, they're the Programme Leader of the MA Writing Genre Fiction at Edinburgh Napier University and serve as a trustee for Cymera, Scotland's festival of science fiction, fantasy and horror writing.

David Bishop - tutor for Writing Crime Fiction 

David Bishop leads the creative writing programmes at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland which specialise in genre fiction. As D. V. Bishop he writes the Cesare Aldo crime thrillers set in Renaissance Florence which have won the NZ Booklovers Prize, been shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, and longlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award, the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger, and the Historical Dagger. His latest crime novel is Ritual of Fire, published by Pan Macmillan in June 2023.

Susannah Rickards - tutor for Writing Fiction (both cohorts)

Susannah Rickards is an award-winning short story writer. Her collected work Hot Kitchen Snow is published by Salt and won the international Scott Prize for best short fiction debut. Individual stories appear in anthologies and literary magazines, national newspapers and BBC radio. They have won or placed in literary awards such as Alpine Fellowship, Carve USA, HG Wells, International Pen, Commonwealth Broadcasting, BBC Opening Lines, Society of Authors Tom Gallon, Bridport and Bath. She read English at St Peter’s College Oxford and has been a Hawthornden Fellow. For over twenty years, she has worked as a literary consultant, editing and mentoring writers from newcomers to New York Times bestsellers. Her mentees often go on to secure agents, major publishing deals and win literary awards.

Rebecca Abrams - tutor for Writing Historical Fiction 

Rebecca Abrams is an award-winning author of eight published works of both fiction and non-fiction. Her books include the acclaimed historical novel Touching Distance (Picador), which was shortlisted for the McKitterick Prize for Literature and highly praised by Hilary Mantel. Other recent  publications include The Jewish Journey: 4000 years in 22 objects (Ashmolean Museum) and Licoricia of Winchester: Power and Prejudice in 13th century England (LoWa). Rebecca has taught creative writing at Oxford University since 2007 and is a regular literary critic for the Financial Times. 

Daisy McNally - tutor for Writing Psychological Thrillers

Dr Daisy McNally’s psychological thriller is called I See Through You and was published by Orion in 2018. The film & TV rights were optioned by Tiger Lily Productions. Dr McNally has an MA and a PhD from Bath Spa University in Creative Writing, and a degree in English Literature from Durham University. She teaches on the Creative Writing Undergraduate Diploma for Oxford University

The venue

Situated at the very heart of the city, New College is one of the largest and most architecturally striking colleges in Oxford, combining outstanding facilities with spectacular buildings and gardens set against the twelfth-century city wall. 

New College was founded in 1379 by William of Wykham, Bishop of Winchester, as 'the college of St Mary of Winchester in Oxford', and was the largest college at the time. It soon became known as New College to distinguish it from an earlier Oxford college (Oriel) also dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Architecturally, New College was innovative in its enclosed quadrangle - the first of its type, which has since become one of the defining features of colleges across Oxford and Cambridge. Around the quadrangle are the cloisters, dining hall, chapel, student accommodation and beautiful gardens and grounds, which you are free to explore.

The cloisters, hall, chapel and gardens are fully accessible. Access to the hall is provided via a lift, and teaching and bed/study rooms are either ground-floor or easily accessed by lift.


You will receive a certificate of attendance at the end of your course.


Description Costs
Programme fee £3000.00


We are, unfortunately, unable to offer any scholarships or a reduction in the fees for the course at present.


The fees of £3,000 for the course include the following:

  • All tuition
  • Accommodation in a single en-suite room with private shower and toilet for the nights of Friday 11 August to Sunday 20 August;
  • Meals on a full-board basis (breakfast, lunch and dinner) breakfast on Monday 21 August.
  • Tea and coffee during the main morning break 
  • Social programme

Once you have submitted your application form, you will be offered a place on the course and invoiced for the course fee. You may pay online by credit/debit card or via bank transfer within 30 days of the invoice date.

Important information regarding visa requirements

You can check if you need a visa for this course using this link on the GOV.UK website. If you require a visa to study abroad, then we strongly recommend that you apply for this course as early as possible in order to allow yourself sufficient time to make a successful visa application.

This may include a letter from the course administrator confirming your place on the course; this confirmation letter will not be issued until all course fees have been paid in full.

In the case of a visa application being unsuccessful the Department will not offer a refund.

Please note that, for legal reasons, the Programme Administrator is not permitted to provide any visa advice to applicants. All such enquiries should be submitted to Oxford University’s student visa and immigration advisers via email at student.immigration@admin.ox.ac.uk

Cancellations and refunds

You will enter into your contract with the University when you pay the full amount of the course fees. You have the right to cancel your contract at any time within 14 days of its commencement (ie when you pay your fees). You will receive a full refund of any payments you have made.

If you cancel your place on a course at any time after expiry of the 14-day period you will not be entitled to a refund, except in exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the University. If a refund is made an administration fee may be charged.

Participants who wish to cancel must inform the Programme Administrator by emailing summercourses@conted.ox.ac.uk.

Please be aware that all payments (and refunds) are subject to exchange rates at the time of processing. You can find the full terms and conditions here.


Please download the application form.

All sections should be completed fully, clearly and in BLOCK CAPITALS. Please rank your workshop choices from 1-6 in order of preference, and checking the timetable to make sure that your two choices do not run at the same time. 

Applications should be emailed to the Programme Administrator at the following address:

Email: summercourses@conted.ox.ac.uk

If you are having issues using Microsoft Word, you can find a .PDF version of the application form here that you can complete and scan.

Application deadline

Subject to the availability of places, the closing date for applications is Monday 5 June 2023 at 2.00pm. However, we are able to accept late applications after this date, and if you are interested in applying please email us at summercourses@conted.ox.ac.uk

Applicants will normally be offered a place by email within 14 days of the application being received. Applicants who are offered a place must respond within 14 days to accept or decline the offer.

Participants with a disability or mobility impairment

The aim of the Department is to treat all participants equally and welcomes applications from people with disabilities. Individuals` needs are taken into account as far as possible, providing reasonable adaptations and assistance within the resources available. We ask that people let us know of any disability or special need (confidentially if required) so that we can help them participate as fully as possible.

When applying for the Department's college-based summer programmes, prospective participants with mobility difficulties or visual or hearing impairments may want to make preliminary enquiries to the Programme Administrator, as the age and layout of these colleges often makes them user-unfriendly (although adaptations are often possible). Oxford, as an ancient city, tends to be difficult to navigate for people with disabilities. The number of very old buildings, designed in an age less sensitive to issues of disability, makes access to much of the city centre difficult. However, the Department will do as much as it can to make study with us possible.

Participants should contact us if they will have problems gaining access to a bedroom located on upper or basement floors. Some double rooms are available, as are adjacent rooms for helpers.

Selection criteria

There are no formal entry requirements for the course, although participants must be at least 18 years of age.


You will stay in a single en-suite study bedroom, with your own private toilet and shower. All guests are provided with towels, a welcome toiletry pack, a mini fridge and tea and coffee making facilities.

All rooms are used by students during term-time, so feature a desk and a wardrobe. Please note that hairdryers and international plug adaptors are not provided.

There are a limited number of double en-suite and fully accessible rooms, which can accommodate carers.

Laundry facilities (washing machines, dryers, irons) are available within the College. Washers and dryers are pay-as-you-go. Irons and ironing boards are available free of charge.

We regret that participants cannot be accommodated at New College either prior to or beyond their programme dates. Family members and/or friends who are not enrolled on this programme cannot be accommodated in college.