A university-style course for writers of children’s fiction, with a modular structure designed to give students flexible access to specialist teaching from industry leaders


12 weeks

24 places


Extensive, interactive, and flexible

An extensive, interactive, and flexible 12-week course for writers of children’s fiction.

With the support of experienced industry professionals, interrogate craft aspects, challenge your writing, fine-tune your skills, receive valuable feedback, and gain exclusive insights into the world of publishing, all while meeting like-minded writers.

A course tailored to your needs

Inspired by a university creative writing programme, WriteMentor is carefully designed so you can create a writing course tailored to your own needs, expectations, and ambitions.

Choose from a range of modules and access workshops, talks, and masterclasses, while gaining the support of your peers through critique groups.

Creating new connections

Taking place over a period of 12 weeks, the course gives you time to develop your writing at your own pace, dive deeper into each course area, and get to know your fellow students.

And it’s these connections that make this course stand out. Long after the course has ended, continue to grow as a writer with the support of WMLit alumni.

Course summary

Start date: Monday 11th January 2022

Duration: 12 weeks

Platform: Slack and Zoom

Course coordinator: Florianne Humphrey (florianne@write-mentor.com)

Level: Intermediate to advanced. For those who have mastered the basics of writing a novel and/or have written one or more novels.

Cost: £299 introductory price with flexible payment options available.

Time: Varies depending on option choices.

Course structure

  • Choose 1 out of 3 core workshops

    These workshops cover the fundamental craft aspects of writing for children and teens.

  • Choose 1 out of 2 optional workshops

    Optional modules expand on the core topics to help you fine-tune your writing.

  • PitchHero LIVE!

    Pitch your work to a panel of 3 literary agents and compete for the universally acclaimed PitchHero LIVE title!

  • 4 guest masterclasses and author insight chats

    A leading author shares their expertise on a writing-related topic, or details their writing life and processes.

  • Book analysis class

    Analyse and interpret published children’s books with the support of an author to draw inspiration for your own writing.

  • 4 x group tutorials with your assigned tutor

    Live tutorial groups with our core tutors based on age categories (Chapter Book, Lower and Upper Middle Grade, and Young Adult)

  • Critique groups

    Work with a group of fellow WriteCraft students to share your work to exchange feedback and improve craft. 

  • Optional add-ons such as 5/10k critiques from your tutor, 1-2-1 tutorials, extra modules

    Tailor the course to your own needs and expectations with optional add-ons, pushing your writing that extra mile.

Course modules and classes

Our core modules focus on the fine-tuning those fundamentals, while our masterclasses and optional modules look to stretch your craft further.

Core module: Creating book characters with author Emma Read

Join Milton the Mighty author Emma Read as she leads you through a six-week exploration of writing book characters

Fortnightly: Wednesday 8-9pm

Core module: Writing fundamentals with author Lindsay Galvin

Improve your storytelling at the word and sentence level, develop your writing style, and refine your fine editing skills with author Lindsay Galvin

Fortnightly: Mondays 8-9pm

Core module: Exploring aspects of writing craft with author Alexandra Sheppard

Join Alex for 6 slack-based workshops to hone and master the main craft components to help you write a Middle Grade or Young Adult novel

Fortnightly: Tuesday 8-9pm

Interpreting and analysing children’s fiction with Dr Liz Flanagan

Author Dr Liz Flanagan will host a fortnightly book analysis session (1 hour) where she will lead a discussion and analysis on that fortnight’s book from the reading list.

You will discusses themes and prominent craft aspects from the book, both giving your own thoughts, and considering others, too.

Liz will give you a ‘take-away’ writing task to apply to your own WIP or something new.

The reading list is below:

  • A Kind of Spark, Elle McNicoll
  • When Life Gives You Mangoes, Kereen Getten
  • When the Sky Falls, Phil Earle
  • Asha and the Spirit Bird, Jasbinder Bilan
  • The Weather Weaver, Tamsin Mori
  • Dragon Daughter, Liz Flanagan

Fortnightly: Tuesday 7-8pm

World-Building Masterclass with author Vashti Hardy

1 hour masterclass (40 minutes teaching with 15 minutes for Q&A) on building imaginative and believable worlds that will hook your reader and immerse them so deeply they’ll forget where they are!

Conflict and Antagonism Masterclass with author Penny Joelson

1 hour masterclass (40 minutes teaching with 15 minutes for Q&A) on how to up the conflict in your novel, and to raise the stakes with top antagonists.

Author Insights with author Phil Earle

1 hour discussion with author Phil Earle, on his writing process, his journey and life as a published author – warts and all!

Author Insights with author Aisha Bushby

1 hour discussion with author Aisha Bushby, on her writing process, her journey and life as a published author – warts and all!

Optional module: Finding your voice with editor Catherine Coe


Editors and agents often ask for a ‘strong voice’, but what exactly does that mean and how can you achieve it?

During this module you’ll learn what voice is, different types of voice and how to examine voice. You’ll also discover your natural voice and learn techniques to develop and change voice.

Workshop 1: What is voice?

Workshop 2: Different voices

Workshop 3: What’s your voice?

Workshop 4: Developing voice

Fortnightly: Wednesday 7-8pm

Optional module: Catching an editor’s eye with Simran Sandhu

Following a 1 hour masterclass packed with top tips from a children’s editor at MacMillan, Sim will lead 5 further 1 hour sessions, where she will read and give live feedback on your (anonymous and volunteered) novel openings, including tips on how to improve, the major pitfalls to avoid and how stand out from the pile and catch an editor’s eye.

Fortnightly: Monday 7-8pm


(subject to minor changes – all Zoom events will be recorded if you cannot attend live)

Week DateGroup Tutorial (Zoom)Workshop (Live on Slack/Zoom)Workshop (Live on Slack/Zoom)Workshop (Live on Slack/Zoom)
110 JanLindsayLindsay (Mon 8-9pm)Alex (Tues 8-9pm)Emma (Weds 8-9pm)
217 JanEmmaSim (Mon 7-8pm)Liz Book 1 (Tues 7-8pm)
324 JanAlexLindsay (Mon 8-9pm)Alex (Tues 8-9pm)Emma (Weds 8-9pm)
431 JanLindsaySim (Mon 7-8pm)Liz Book 2 (Tues 7-8pm)Catherine (Wed 7-8pm)
57 FebEmmaLindsay (Mon 8-9pm)Alex (Tues 8-9pm)Emma (Weds 8-9pm)
614 FebAlexSim (Mon 7-8pm)Liz Book 3 (Tues 7-8pm)Catherine (Wed 7-8pm)
721 FebLindsayLindsay (Mon 8-9pm)Alex (Tues 8-9pm)Emma (Weds 8-9pm)
828 FebEmmaSim (Mon 7-8pm)Liz Book 4 (Tues 7-8pm)Catherine (Wed 7-8pm)
97 MarAlexLindsay (Mon 8-9pm)Alex (Tues 8-9pm)Emma (Weds 8-9pm)
1014 MarLindsaySim (Mon 7-8pm)Liz Book 5 (Tues 7-8pm)Catherine (Wed 7-8pm)
1121 MarEmmaLindsay (Mon 8-9pm)Alex (Tues 8-9pm)Emma (Weds 8-9pm)
1228 MarAlexSim (Mon 7-8pm)Liz Book 6 (Tues 7-8pm)

Meet the course tutors

Emma Read, author of <em>Milton the Mighty</em> series
Emma Read, author of Milton the Mighty series

Emma Read was once a very sensible biologist. Now she uses her transferable talents such as attention to detail, patience and fine motor skills, to extract Lego from under the sofa. And of course to write children’s books.
Her favourite things in the world are: badges, Death On the Nile, hats, foxes, deserts, desserts and Buck Rogers. Her one regret in life is never having trained to be an astronaut.

Emma is leading the workshop series on writing characters and tutorials for Chapter Book/Lower Middle Grade writers.

Lindsay Galvin, author of <em>Darwin's Dragons</em>
Lindsay Galvin, author of Darwin’s Dragons

Lindsay Galvin is an author writing for middle grade, teen and adults. A qualified teacher with 20 years experience, she loves to visit schools. She is also a WriteMentor tutor, mentor and staff writer, and provides manuscript services. Lindsay lives on the south coast with three boys, two cats and one puppy. 

Lindsay is leading the workshop series on writing fundamentals and tutorials for Upper Middle Grade writers.

Alexandra Sheppard, author of <em>Oh My Gods</em>
Alexandra Sheppard, author of Oh My Gods

Alexandra Sheppard is a children’s author from North London. Her debut novel Oh My Gods was published by Scholastic and received coverage in Refinery29, Buzzfeed and The Guardian’s Summer Reading List 2019.

Alexandra is leading the workshop series on writing craft and tutorials for Young Adult writers.

Dr Liz Flanagan, author of <em>Dragon</em> <em>Daughter</em>
Dr Liz Flanagan, author of Dragon Daughter

Liz Flanagan is an award-winning author based in Yorkshire. She writes for children and young adults and her books include Eden Summer, Dragon Daughter and Rise of the Shadow Dragons.

Liz is leading the fortnightly book analysis sessions.

Catherine Coe, editor and founder of All Stories
Catherine Coe, editor and founder of All Stories

Catherine Coe is a children’s book editor, author and the founder of All Stories, a free mentorship programme for writers from underrepresented groups who can’t afford to pay for support to develop their writing. She has 20 years’ experience as an editor, and was Senior Commissioning Editor at Hachette Children’s Books before going freelance in 2011. Catherine enjoys working with a wide variety of clients – publishers, literary agents and writers – and loves nothing more than helping writers hone their talent and become published authors. She also knows what it’s like to be on the other side, as the author of over 40 children’s books.

Catherine is leading the workshop series on Voice.

Simran<strong> </strong>Sandhu, children's editor
Simran Sandhu, children’s editor

Sim is an Editor at Macmillan Children’s Books focusing on Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction and Poetry. A lover of spoken word poetry, supporter of diverse children’s literature and advocate for fat acceptance, Sim is also the Literature Coordinator for Asian Woman Festival, and dabbles in plus-size modelling in her spare time. 

Sim is leading the workshop series on Openings.

Meet the visiting authors

Sessions will be held on a Thursday evening (again recorded for anyone who cannot attend live)

Vashti Hardy, author of Brightstorm
Vashti Hardy, author of Brightstorm

Vashti Hardy
is a writer of children’s books spending her time between Lancashire and Sussex. She was a primary school teacher for several years, and has a special interest in children’s writing, especially free-writing and the use of journals and creating fantasy worlds. She has a first-class honours teaching degree with English specialism and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester.
Now a successful children’s author, Vashti’s breathtaking middle grade fantasies are published across the world in several languages. Wildspark won the Blue Peter Book Award ‘Best Story’ in 2020 and the FCBG Children’s Book Awards and Brightstorm was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Books are My Bag Awards, among others. Brightstorm was also selected for Independent Booksellers Book of the Season and both Brightstorm and WIldspark were selected as Primary School Book Club Reads.

Vashti is leading the masterclass on World-Building.

Penny Joelson, author of I Have No Secrets
Penny Joelson, author of I Have No Secrets

I live in Hertfordshire, just north of London, England, with my two children. I’ve loved reading and writing stories since I was a child. I’ve always been fascinated by communication issues and did voluntary work from my late teens with children with disabilities, including deaf-blind children and children with cerebral palsy. I had the idea of writing a thriller in which the person who knows the identity of a murdered is unable to communicate, and Jemma and ‘I Have No Secrets’ was born. As I began to write, Jemma’s voice felt so strong I felt almost as if she was dictating the book to me.
As well as being an author, I have worked as a teacher, a support teacher for hearing-impaired children, a reading recovery teacher, an adult education teacher, a teacher of adults recovering from mental health problems, and currently as a Creative Writing tutor for adults at City Lit in Covent Garden, London, where I run a ‘Writing for Children Workshop’ and other courses.

Penny is leading the masterclass on Conflict and Antagonism.

Aisha Bushby, author of A Pocketful of Stars
Aisha Bushby, author of A Pocketful of Stars

Aisha Bushby
was born in Bahrain and has lived in Kuwait, England and Canada. The first novel she ever worked on was a piece of fan fiction, based on her favourite book series, which she stayed up all night to work on when she was thirteen. Aisha now writes children’s books, sometimes with a little bit of magic in them.

Aisha is chatting to you about life as an author during our Author Insights session.

Phil Earle, author of When the Sky Falls
Phil Earle, author of When the Sky Falls

I didn’t always want to be a writer. 
I wanted to play football for Hull City, but at the age of twelve developed a lifelong addiction to bags of Frazzles that cruelly ended my sporting ambitions.
Instead I spend my time daydreaming and eavesdropping on other peoples conversations, mining them for new ideas for books.
I’ve written twenty books now for children and teenagers, and LOVE visiting schools, libraries and festivals to talk to people about the power of storytelling. It’s a magnificent way to live my life…
Home is on the side of a very steep hill in Yorkshire, with my partner, our children and two dogs.

Phil is chatting to you about life as an author during our Author Insights session.

selective focus photo of person writing


We are funding 5 scholarship places on this course – part of our eternal commitment to ensure money isn’t a barrier to writers. These will be assessed and awarded on the basis of the application below.

As always, we don’t dictate who can apply, or ask that you show us any evidence or give any personal information you are not comfortable with.

However, we do ask that you apply your best moral judgement and only apply for the scholarship if the cost of the course is completely beyond your means. Not that you don’t fancy paying for it, or you think you’d rather not pay, and want a freebie, but that you are desperate to do the course, and there would be no other possibility of doing it without the scholarship.

We say that to ensure that it’s those most in need who are considered for the spots. We also ask that you pass this onto any friends who are talented but unable to pay for courses or mentoring to help them.

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