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 take part 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”

"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 future projects.

Course fees vary but tend to average £180 full price, with £100 bursary places on the in-person courses, and £150 full price, with £75 bursary places on the online course (for single-parent writers, writers in receipt of a means tested benefit, personal independence payments, or disability living allowance and Greater Manchester residents) 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. 

From October 2021, course attendees will have access to an exclusive bank of video resources about short story writing, created by our knowledgeable roster of tutors that they will be able to use throughout the duration of the course for advice and prompts. 

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


Upcoming Courses


New courses to be announced soon...


Short Story Course, Manchester with Karline Smith (November 2021)

Short Story Course, Newcastle with Crista Ermiya (POSTPONED to 2022

Short Story Course, Sheffield with Emily Devane (POSTPONED to 2022)

Short Story Course, Nottingham with Rebecca Burns (POSTPONED to 2022

Coming to a city near you, 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. 

Dan Bradley had stories started on the 2018 Bristol Short Story Course (with Ken Elkes) published by Granta and Ambit, the latter of which he read at the issue launch at the Tate Modern. Of his time on the course, he said: "What the course provided was simple but invaluable: deadlines, feedback and encouragement to keep going. Sharing half-finished, barely coherent stories made me patient with the meandering path of my own writing. I learned to forgive the messy nature of my early drafts, to have the courage to experiment and to stick with those stories that held something worth sharing."

CS Mee, who enrolled on our course in Newcastle led by Avril Joy in 2017 later won the Galley Beggar Short Story Award in 2017/18 for her story 'Brothers',. 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. From our 2019 Sheffield course cohort, Hannah Whiteoak went on to win the TSS BIFFY micro-fiction competition and Molly Aitken won the Sheffield Short Story Slam with a story she wrote on the course.

Chris Cottom, who attended our 2019 Manchester course with Sarah Schofield, had a story he worked on over the duration of the course broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds ('The Art of the Allotment') AND his story 'Megan', which he tweaked after taking part in the course, won a London Independent Story Prize in the Best Film Idea Category. Irene Lofthouse, from our 2019 Bradford course, also had a reworked version of a story she worked on on the course broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds ('Lady Day').

Sue Starling, who attended our 2021 online course with Mish Green, had a story she worked on over the duration of the course shortlisted for The White Review Short Story Prize 2021 and published on their website. You can read 'Tiger' here.

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. For the writers it is often it is the first time that person has had any of their work published, they are a great culmination of their time on the course and a marker of progress in their writing career.  Click here to view the series page on the Kindle Store. 

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. 

If you cancel your place and have paid the fee from a bank account outside the UK, please note that the cost of money transfers and currency conversion will be taken from the amount owed as reimbursement.

Please note: if the course does not reach the minimum number of writers needed to run, it will be postponed or cancelled.