April Newsletter: We’d like you to ask you two questions

 In Newsletters

We’d like to ask you two questions

We like to say that we’re in the business of dreams. Our aim has always been to help you make your writing dreams come true.

But to do that, we need to know what your dreams really are and what you find most useful from us. Goals change, over time, and we’d like to know that we’re still providing what you need.

You are part of the All About Writing family, and we’d like to continue interacting with you in the most useful ways we can. You’re very important to us. Without you, there’d be no All About Writing.

We’d be grateful if you could respond to a very quick survey. We’re only asking two questions, so it should take you no more than a minute. We want to know your goals, in order of importance. Then we’d like to know what you find, would find or have found, in the past, most useful from us. Please click here to respond to the survey.

A change of seasons – the perfect time to write

While spring is promising renewal to those of you in the northern hemisphere, you southern types are preparing to nurture your creative self in front of a fire.

Either way, we can help.

Our four-module introduction to creative writing, The Power of Writing is available online. You can start immediately. The course encourages students to express themselves more confidently by mastering a few essential skills.

Our flaghip Creative Writing Course will appeal to anyone seriously interested in developing and honing their creative writing skills. It’s been designed to foster confidence, and teach you everything you need to tackle a work of fiction or non-fiction.

The course begins on 3 June, online and in Cape Town. Limited places are available in Cape Town so, if you’re keen, speak now …

Each of the modules tackles a key skill and challenges participants with carefully crafted writing exercises, to which we’ll give personal feedback.

Our Screenwriting Crash Course starts online on 3 June. Learn the essential skills to write for film or television. Two experienced screenwriters will give you the basic toolkit you need to start writing scripts.

The historic village of Stow-on-the-Wold in the UK will be host to our Writing Weekend from 7 to 9 June. Sharpen your story skills while spending two blissful creative days in the Cotswolds with a group of like-minded writers.

Our Venice Writing Retreat has been full since January. But a place might be coming available for one or two weeks, from 28 August to 12 September. Let us know if you’d like to go on the waiting list.

Community News

Our All About Writing pilot project to provide the prisoners of Zonderwater Prison with a creative outlet – and the skills to write their own stories – is coming to an end.

It’s been a great success, thanks to dedicated facilitators Pierre Brouard and Helen Webster. The prisoners’ achievements will be recognised at a graduation ceremony on 11 April.

Members of All About Writing and the prison authorities will be present to see the prisoners receive certificates and copies of their collection of stories.

The project has been run on resources from All About Writing, Pan MacMillan, a few generous members of our community, and the facilitators themselves.

We are still desperate for donations. We’d like to roll out this pilot project to more prisons. To make this happen, Helen and Pierre need to write a training manual to involve more facilitators. We would also like to make the prisoners’ story collection more widely available – necessitating professional editing and lay-out.

If you haven’t yet bought books by the four members of our community who have launched recently, you’ve got a reading treat ahead of you. Please do support your fellow writers. We need to be there for each other.

Ekow Duker celebrated the launch of Yellowbone, published by Kwela Books, with a packed launch in Johannesburg during March.  He had this to say at the launch:

The part I enjoy most about writing is when the manuscript is almost done and I can at last allow myself to go back to the beginning and read it all over again.
Hopefully by then the plot hangs together, superfluous characters have been shown the door and the arc of the story is as true as I can make it. Then I read the entire manuscript quite carefully, seeking to “hear’ the musicality in the passages.
This is an instinctive and self-indulgent act that I would be hard pressed to describe in anything but the most rudimentary terms. But when I come across a word or phrase that appears to jar, I pull up abruptly and read it over again, testing other words in its place until the “notes’ are well ordered and beautiful once again.


Click here to view the trailer and if you are in Cape Town you can join Ekow at his launch on Thursday 11 April at The Book Lounge.

Eva Mazza’s sexy, fast-paced Sex, Lies and Stellenbosch has been the number one seller in the Waterfront Exclusive Books, in Stellenbosch and Somerset West. It was listed at number 3 on the South African fiction list. Stocks are running low, so Eva urges you please to order if your bookshop has run out of copies.

Penny Castle continues to amuse and stimulate us with her videos and posts to promote her book, Cultivating Happiness. Here is a link to her posts: www.facebook.com/pennycastlewriter.

And here’s a word from Vincent Pienaar about his darkly humorous Too Many Tsunamis:

I have come to realise that, like any other hobby, writing is going to cost me money and rob me of my time, so I wrote Too Many Tsunamis with solitary objective to give readers some pleasure. As such, the book is a great success. I have never had so many people seeking me out to tell me that they laughed, enjoyed the reveals, and generally had fun.
I’m grateful to my editors and the many other people, specifically Jo-Anne and Richard, who stuck with me through the mentoring process.
I’ll be at the Franschoek Literary Festival in May if anybody would like to have a chat and enjoy an outrageously expensive glass of wine.


And lastly, as you know, our community is important to us – it’s a big part of our vision for All About Writing. We love writers who support and inspire each other.

Share your writing progress or process with us on Twitter and Instagram (@allabtwriting). Make sure you use the hashtags #AAWritingcommunity and #allaboutwriting to stand the chance of winning a voucher to the value of GBP30/ZAR500, redeemable against any of our courses or programmes. Our favourite post will be chosen at the end of every month.

Winners of the February/March Challenge

It’s that time again (drum roll, drum roll). We’d like to announce the results of our February/March Writing Challenge. The winner is Sarah Stacey, and the runner-ups, Mitzi Bunce, Wisani Shibambu, Liz Lewis and Mark Varder. Congratulations to all. Sarah – you win a literary assessment on 5000 words of writing worth R 2750 or a voucher to the same value to use on one (or more) of our courses or programmes. Click here to read the winning entries.

April/May Writing Challenge 

All About Writing’s latest writing challenge offers the winner a literary assessment on 5000 words of writing worth R 2750 or a voucher to the same value to use on one (or more) of our courses or programmes.

But there’s another reason to enter, perhaps even more important. Our bi-monthly creative writing challenges give you is a chance to tackle something on a small canvas, which is not of your own devising. It allows you to take the kind of risks you might be loath to in your own work. And it gives you the chance, in a small, focused way, to sharpen a very specific skill or technique.

Click here to read our writing challenge tips, and don’t forget to read Richard’s Monday Motivations and my Wednesday Writing Tips for inspiration and writing advice.

Happy writing


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