National Creative Writing Graduate Fair

Creative Writing student or graduate? Or just interested in a career in creative writing? Not sure how to go about exploring your options? Struggling to make connections in the publishing/commissioning world? This is for you.

The second annual National Creative Writing Graduate Fair took place on the 4th November at Manchester Metropolitan University, to great success. With more delegates, more agents, and a larger programme, we can't wait to get planning next year's fair now to continue the trend and get even bigger!
Visit the official website.  

Designed to help and inspire you as begin your creative writing career, we assembled a brilliant line-up of authors and publishing professionals to advise and encourage you on your way to being published.

Comma Press conducted interviews on the day with some of the guest agents and publishing insiders, to find out more about their roles, top tips and opinions on prevalent publishing issues.

We have uploaded those videos to our Youtube channel and, whether you attended the Grad Fair or not, you can learn more about literary agents, booksellers, editors, pitching your manuscript and more by watching the videos, which are collected in a NCWGF playlist on our Youtube channel.

Interviewees include:

Joe Parkinson (Aspidistra Books)
Julia Silk (MBA Literary Agents)
Jemima Forrester (David Higham Associates)
Jessie Botterill (Janklow & Nesbit)
Samar Hammam (Rocking Chair Books)
Nicholas Royle (Nightjar Press & Manchester Writing School)
Joanna Dingley (Canongate Books)
Kate Feld (Openstories & Manchester Literature Festival)
Catherine Cho (Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency)
Emily Yau (Ebury Publishing - Penguin Random House)
Philippa Milnes-Smith (LAW Literary Agency)
Kerry Glencorse (Susannah Lea Associates)

You can also view the amazing key note speech on The Art of Trespass, delivered by best-selling author Kit de Waal, where she explores issues of appropriation, class, gender, and race in literature.


Highlights from the 2016 fair include:

* A keynote speech from best-selling author Kit de Waal, who has recently been shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award.

* Panel sessions on a range of subjects like self-promotion and -critique, reaching your audience pre and post publication, the future of publishing, and digital and self publishing.

* Workshops in spoken word and performance, creating the perfect submissions package, blogging and digital content, and experimental fiction.

* Welcoming nearly 30 agents and publishers covering 10 different genres into the Geoffrey Manton atrium for over 250 pitching sessions in one afternoon!




How do the pitching sessions work?

Every delegate was assigned two appointments with publishing professionals, having made a first, second and third choice preference of genre when they booked their place. They were given their appointments the week before the event so that they had time to prepare for their specific pitch.

At the appointment, delegates had 15 minutes to pitch their work. It is up to delegates how to approach this but a few short extracts, and an overview summary of your work would do nicely. If delegates didn't feel that their work was ready to pitch, many used the time to pick the brains of their matched professional. They live and breathe publishing - it was a great opportunity to ask those questions people didn't want to ask in front of anyone else! 




Hear what it was like from the delegates themselves

Hull-based writer Shellie Horst wrote about the Grad Fair for Futurebook
Helena Fairfax 
guest-blogged her experience for us
Lorna Riley likewise 
walked up through her day at the Fair on our blog