Short Story Courses

 

About the courses

Our six-month courses specialise in the short story genre, and are delivered by a knowledgeable and esteemed writer in collaboration with ourselves. Over six workshops, you'll become familiar with short story narrative structures, and be able to apply them to your own work. Structured, peer-driven feedback and personalised tuition will contribute to your completion of three short stories. We make our courses as accessible as possible: they span the UK and take place routinely throughout the year; you don't actually need any previous experience - just enthusiasm for short story writing; and you only need a pen, paper, laptop/computer, and internet access in order to upload your work, download others' submissions, and keep in contact. We've had plenty of positive feedback about our courses in the past:

“The course has been absolutely amazing and has improved my confidence”

“It's been brilliant! Excellent, excellent teaching”

“I have loved attending this course”

“Superb course”

“It inspired me"

"I found the whole course very enjoyable and an excellent learning experience which I think will really help my development as a writer."

“The course was just what I was looking for: informative, interesting and challenging. My short story game has definitely improved! Recommended – whether you’re just setting out or looking to improve your craft.”

"I can never overemphasise the impact this course had on my writing."

"As an aspiring writer, I can’t recommend Comma Press’ Short Story Courses enough: ongoing support from top-class published authors writing today, development of close-reading skills and of course that all important trait – rapid improvement of your writing skills. All this and more, as well as the opportunity to meet the next generation of up and coming talent."

We are always looking for new voices in short fiction, and it's hoped that our courses will unearth and develop contenders for one of our showcases of new writing. We also create eBooks of stories from our courses, co-edited by a nominated individual from the group and the tutor. These can be bought online from Amazon, and are a great culmination of 6 months of creative development.

Course fees vary but tend to average £180 full price, with 2x £100 bursary places (for single-parent writers, or writers in receipt of a means tested benefit, personal independence payments, or disability living allowance) per course. Course places can be paid for in installments, and gifted to loved ones or anonymously donated. Get in touch if you have any queries.   


See below for details of our upcoming courses that you can sign up for!

Upcoming Courses

Short Story Course, Bristol with KM Elkes (October 2019 - March 2020) - SOLD OUT

Short Story Course, Manchester with Sarah Schofield (October 2019 - March 2020) - SOLD OUT

Coming to a city near you in 2020, sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know where we're heading next...

Course Successes

We love to keep in touch with course alumni, and many of the writers we've seen over the years have gone onto great things in the short story scene. Lara Williams for example, who was on a course led by Anneliese Mackintosh in 2014, had her first short story collection published both in the UK and in North America. Treats (Freight Books) was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and featured the stories that she had worked on in the course. And in 2017, we welcomed Lara back as a tutor on our Manchester course - full circle! 

A recent success story is Gaynor Jones, who shortly after completing our 2017 Manchester short story course with Lara Williams, won the Mairtin Crawford Award 2018 for Short Story. She said of her victory on Twitter: "Now that I’ve calmed down a bit I really should credit @commapress and my tutor on their 2017 short story course @Lara_A_Williams for improving my writing massively. Amazing course if you can do it and they offer reduced price places". Gaynor also mentions her experience of the course in this interview and this blog post. Gaynor was winner of the Northern Soul Northern Writer of the Year Award 2018, and credited the course for transforming her writing.

Also Johanna Robinson who completed our 2016 Liverpool short story course with Sarah Schofield, had a story she wrote on the course published in Strix Leeds magazine #4 and another ('Seven Minutes') included in The Brighton Prize 2018 Highly Commended list and it will be published in its anthology. The latter was only the second short story Johanna had ever written! She was also runner-up in the Bath Novella-in-flash award in 2019, which led to the publication of her novella HomingJohanna said of her experience: "Without this course I would never have begun writing, nor would I have continued without Sarah's encouragement. The course was affordable, great value for money, fun and was the kick-start to my writing career. Of the other stories written during the course, one has been published online, another in print, and another longlisted for the Short Story Journal prize."

Beth Goddard's story 'The Councillor's Visit', which she produced during Lara Williams' Manchester Course in 2018 will be included in the inaugural volume of The Best of British Fantasy 2018, a twenty story anthology compiled by NewCon Publishing which will be published in May 2019. The story is also available in the course anthology, Finesse. Brett Cullen who attended Adam Marek's London Short Story Course had a short story he started writing during the course, entitled 'Bin Man', published by Open: Journal of Arts & Letters in April 2019. 

Other successes include CS Mee, who enrolled on our course in Newcastle led by Avril Joy in 2017. CS Mee won the Galley Beggar Short Story Award in 2017/18 for her story 'Brothers', and is also included in our new writer anthology The Mirror in the Mirror (out in 2019). Read her winning story here.  Finally, Sarah Edghill had a story she wrote on our 2018 Bristol course win 1st prize in the National Association of Writing Groups 2018 Short Story Competition, and coursemate Sophie Holland also had her story 'What Do You See When You Look At The Moon?' attain 3rd place in the Writers Bureau Short Story Competition 2019. Huge congrats all! 

Course eBooks

Since 2016 we have been compiling and publishing stories completed during our short story courses into eBook anthologies, which are sold exclusively on the Kindle Store for 99p. Often it is the first time that person has had any of their work published, and so it's a great way to discover new writing from cities all over England. Click the links below to find out more and purchase:
 
William Faulkner's Typewriter: Short Stories by New Manchester Writers (Michelle Green's Manchester Course 2016)
 
How Do You Sleep?: Short Stories by New Sheffield Writers (Jude Brown's Sheffield Course 2016)
 
Threads: Short Stories by New Liverpool Writers (Sarah Schofield's Liverpool Course 2016)
 
Mismatched Metacarpi: Short Stories by New Nottingham Writers (Andy Hedgecock's Nottingham Course 2017)

In Transition: Short Stories by New Newcastle Writers (Avril Joy's Newcastle Course 2017)

The Upstairs Library: Short Stories by New Liverpool Writers (Michelle Green's Liverpool Course 2017)
 
Tyto Alba: Short Stories by New Leeds Writers (S J Bradley's Leeds Course 2017)
 
Me and The Universe Are Sorted: Short Stories by New Sheffield Writers (Michelle Green's Sheffield Course 2017) 

Finesse: Short Stories by New Manchester Writers (Lara Williams's Manchester Course 2018)

Forecast: Short Stories by New Birmingham Writers (C.D. Rose's Birmingham Course 2018) 
 
Stories from the Green House: Short Stories by New Bristol Writers (K.M. Elkes' Bristol Course 2018)
 
An Open Door: Short Stories by New Leeds Writers (S J Bradley's Leeds Course 2018)
 
Tales from Garden Street: Short Stories by New Leicester Writers (Rebecca Burns' Leicester Course 2019)
 
Cross Words: Short Stories by New Preston Writers (John D Rutter's Preston Course 2019)

Course Guest Blogs

We frequently ask one of our course participants to share their experiences of taking part, encouraging them to share the highs, the lows, and – fingers crossed! – some successful and enjoyable short story writing. Head to our blog via the links below to get the inside scoop on what goes on in our Comma courses.
 
Read Benjamin Cassidy's experience of Mark Connor's Bradford course (2019) WORKSHOP 1 2 3

Read Monica Dickson's experience of SJ Bradley's Leeds course (2018/19) WORKSHOP 1  2  3  5  6

Read Clayton Lister's experience of Avril Joy's Newcastle course (2017) WORKSHOP 1  2  3  4  5  6

Cancellation policy

Cancel your place prior to 2 weeks before the start date to receive a full refund. 

Cancel your place within 2 weeks of the start date to receive half of your payment back.