A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Emma Carroll: The Thing About Writing Courses…

As a teacher by trade, I know that writing doesn’t come easy to everyone. When I was at school, I had an amazing English teacher. She didn’t exactly teach me how to write; what she did was nurture my enthusiasm for it. At the age of 15, I went on an Arvon Foundation course with my school. There, the poet Gillian Clarke did teach me how to use apostrophes. She also pushed me into writing in completely new and different ways.


Twenty-seven years later, I went back to Arvon as a teacher with students of my own. I’ll admit the trip was partly for selfish reasons. I’d come through a serious illness, I’d just got turned down for my dream job. My life needed a focus. So I decided to give writing a try again.

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What I wrote that week at Arvon was a pile of self -conscious drivel. But like my old teacher at school, the tutors recognized my spark. What I lacked in writing, I made up for with purpose. I was a total sponge.

Soon after, I enrolled to do an MA in Writing For Young People at Bath Spa University. It was important to be around other writers, to share their feelings and processes, and to be taken seriously as a writer myself. Some aspects of the course were terrifying- having your work picked to pieces by 8 strangers was UGH *shudders*. But soon those people became good friends and I trusted their advice.


My writing certainly improved during the MA. The weekly classes gave me the discipline to keep going, and by reading other people’s work, I learned loads. The MA also introduced us to agents and editors. It has a strong reputation in the publishing world, thanks to the brilliant Julia Green as course leader. And for me, it all had a happy ending – I met my agent through her links to the course.

attachmentEmma Carroll
When she isn’t writing, Emma Carroll teaches English part-time at a secondary school in Devon. She has also worked as a news reporter, an avocado picker and the person who punches holes into filofax paper. She recently graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University’s MA in Writing For Young People. ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ is Emma’s debut novel for Faber. Told in the distinctive voice of Tilly Higgins, it was inspired by a winter’s day from Emma’s childhood. Currently, Emma is working on her second novel. It is set in a Victorian circus. In another life she wishes she’d written ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. Emma lives in the Somerset hills with her husband and two terriers.


This entry was posted on February 3, 2014 by and tagged , , .

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