The Secret Life of Novels

The Secret Life of Novels
6 Nov 2018 at 06:00 pm
6 Nov 2018 at 08:15 pm
Free Word Centre
Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road,
£15/ £12 concessions

The Secret Life of Novels

The Drafting Process Uncovered

The creative process is often presented as mysterious, even alchemical. Novels arrive on bookshelves as if they were always whole and perfect. What is kept hidden from view? And what is the effect of keeping that process – the scenes from the cutting room floor, the false starts, the dead ends and failed drafts – hidden? How does this impact  our relationship with literature, and how does it affect how we, as readers and writers, measure creative success?

At this special evening event, part of Free Word’s wide-ranging ‘This Is Private’ programme season, we invite three novelists at the top of their game to speak about their creative process. Through a series of presentations, and an open discussion, we will shine a light on the secret life of novels, and explore the evolution of a book from first idea to final draft. We invite you to take a look at notebooks, graphs, sketches and scribbles, as we lift the lid on creativity itself and get under the skin of the most private part of the writing process. This event will be the inaugural offer in TLC’s new ‘Secret Life of…’ series, featuring a range of novelists, poets and other writers speaking and presenting on writing and writing craft.

This event has now passed, but keep an eye on the TLC events page for more in the series. Next Secret Life of event, March 6th 2019. Details here.

Accessibility notice: The venue for this event, Free Word Centre, is wheelchair accessible and this event will take place in the Lecture Theatre, which is on the ground floor. There is a hearing loop in the Theatre. If you require the assistance of a carer, please call or ">email us to let us know and we will allocate your carer a free place (we must have this information, with their full name, in advance please for capacity reasons). If you have a wheelchair, or require a seat near to the stage/near an exit, please let us know.

BOOK NOW ONLINE or call the box office on 020 7324 2570


Photo of Amer Anwar, novelist and guest speakerAmer Anwar
Amer Anwar grew up in West London. After leaving college he had a variety of jobs, including; warehouse assistant, comic book lettering artist, driver for emergency doctors and chalet rep in the French Alps. He eventually landed a job as a creative artworker/graphic designer and spent the next decade and a half producing artwork, mainly for the home entertainment industry. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London, is a winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award and a recipient of an Eric Ambler Award from the Society of Authors’ Authors’ Foundation. For everything else, he has an alibi. It wasn’t him. He was never there. Brothers in Blood is his first novel.

Photo of Fiona Melrose, novelist and guest speakerFiona Melrose
Fiona Melrose is the author of Midwinter and Johannesburg. Both are published in the UK by Corsair. Midwinter was longlisted for the Women’s Prize For Fiction and shortlisted for the New Angle Prize. Johannesburg was shortlisted for the RSL Encore Award. Fiona has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck and is a BBC Radio 4 contributor. She  was born in South Africa but has spent most of her adult life in the UK in both London and Suffolk. She is currently completing her third novel.

Photo of Wyl Menmuir, novelist and guest speakerWyl Menmuir
Wyl Menmuir is a novelist and editor based in Cornwall. His bestselling debut novel, The Many (Salt Publishing) was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. In November 2016, Nightjar Press published a limited edition chapbook of his story Rounds and in 2017, the National Trust published his story, In Dark Places. Wyl has written for Radio 4’s Open Book, The Guardian and The Observer, and is a regular contributor to the journal Elementum. He teaches creative writing at Falmouth University and Manchester Metropolitan University. Wyl is co-creator of the Cornish writing centre, The Writers’ Block, and works with Arvon Foundation, National Literacy Trust and Centre for Literacy in Primary Education on national literacy programmes.


This event is part of ‘This is Private’, a season of events at the Free Word Centre interrogating the theme of privacy. A full suite of events in this series will be announced on the Free Word website on September 5th. 

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