The Big Bang YA Mentoring course with author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Lauren James, is back! Applications are now open.

This course is designed for writers of YA fiction, who are already competent in the basics of writing craft, but wish to elevate their work to the next level. 

It is a demanding, intense course which will require a huge degree of commitment from everyone who gets a place. But like pressure and heat does to graphite, you too can produce a diamond.


Start date: Monday 13th January 2020
End date: Sunday 5th May 2020

Cost: £600
We prefer course fees to be paid in full, upon acceptance of a place on the course. However, payment plans can be arranged on request – do speak to Stuart if this is needed.

Tutor: Lauren James

Course organiser/liaison: Stuart White

Number of students: 10

You must have written at least 15,000 words of a YA novel and be able to give feedback to two writers every week during the 15 week course. This is a COMPULSORY element of the course.

If more than 10 writers apply for the course, we will need to consider places on a selective basis, based upon the extracts that you submit along with your application.

Time commitment: 
Approx 10 hours a week – this is an intense course and you should only apply if you feel you can commit this time for the duration of the 15 weeks.

Mechanics of feedback: 
The students selected will send 3 x 5000 word extracts to Lauren for critique and also post 3 x 5000 word extracts for their 9 peers to critique. Students may chose to have the same extracts reviewed by both Lauren and their peers, or they can choose to post different ones.

You will submit 3 extracts to Lauren:

– Round 1: 1st 5K submitted – due 13th January.

– Round 2: 2nd 5K submitted – due 17th February.

– Round 3: 3rd 5k submitted – due 23rd March.

Lauren will also review your query letter if you are at this stage.

Each student will also get a 1-2-1 consultation with Lauren during the second half of the course to discuss progress, strengths, development areas and moving forward. 

Every fortnight, Lauren will produce a set of craft notes of a variety of writing topics. The course notes will use examples taken from Lauren’s published writing to illustrate the lessons.

Please note that Lauren will require to see a 1500 word outline of the whole story in addition to the writing sample asked for. She will give you feedback on this outline and our students have all found this extremely worthwhile.





At the end of the course, the following agents have agreed to look at your completed manuscript:

Claire Wilson (RCW), Clare Wallace (Darley Anderson) and Jo Williamson (Antony Harwood).


Lauren James was born in 1992, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series.

She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.

Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. She has been described as ‘Gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘A strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly.

Her other novels include The Last Beginning, named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent, and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, which was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future.

Lauren is published in the UK by Walker Books and in the US by HarperCollins. She lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the GuardianBuzzfeed, Den of GeekThe Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She lectures at the University of Cambridge and Coventry University, and works with Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.