National Creative Writing Industry Day

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.

Our fifth National Creative Writing Industry Day (previously the National Creative Writing Graduate Fair) will be held in November 2019. We anticipate an even wider programme, exploring topics like writing across different genres and forms, pitching and promoting your work, and opportunities in the digital age, and we can't wait to welcome a new cohort of emerging writers and continue the success of the last four years! See below for more information on our previous fairs, including digital content and interviews that took place.

Visit the official website.  

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

Comma Press have conducted interviews over the years with some of the guest agents and publishing insiders, to help you 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 a 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:

Julia Silk (MBA Literary Agents)
Jemima Forrester (David Higham Associates)
Jessie Botterill (Janklow & Nesbit)
Rebecca Carter (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)
Becky Thomas (Johnson & Alcock)
Tilda Johnson (Golden Egg Academy)
S J Bradley (Strix Leeds)
Sandra Sawicka (Marjacq Scripts)
Luke Kennard (University of Birmingham)
Naomi Kruger (University of Central Lancs)
Lucy Morris (Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency)
Livi Michael (Manchester Writing School)
Laetitia Rutherford (Watson Little)
Kit Caless (Influx Press)
Molly Flatt (Futurebook)
Matthew Frost (Manchester University Press)
James Draper (Manchester Writing School)

Kavita Bhanot (The Literary Consultancy)
Katie Greenstreet (C & W)
Philippa Sitters (David Godwin Associates)
Ludo Cinelli (Eve White Agency)
Nika Cobbett (WGM Literary)
Natasha Salter (WGM Literary)
Jonathan Ruppin (The Ruppin Agency)
John Berlyne (Zeno Agency)
Jacob Ross (Peepal Tree Press)
Nathan Connolly (Dead Ink Books)
Giles Milburn (Madeleine Milburn) 
Hayley Steed (Madeleine Milburn)
Debbie Taylor (Mslexia Magazine)
Steve Ince (writer & games designer)

You can also view the keynote speeches we're had over the years including: 

The Art of Trespass, delivered by best-selling author Kit de Waal in 2016, where she explores issues of appropriation, class, gender, and race in literature.

Selected Failures, delivered by Luke Kennard in 2017.

And finally the acclaimed short story writer Eley Williams in 2018. 



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.

From the National Creative Writing Graduate Fair 2018:

Emily Oldfield of 'HAUNT Manchester' and 'I Love MCR' reported on the day for The Manchester Writing School.

Yasmin Chopin walks us through her experience in a guest blog.

Helen Taylor, previous delegate turned published panellist, blogs about how she came 'Full Circle', with advice for writers in her past position.