free online writing courses


As part of create-write-connect, Spread the Word’s new campaign to offer free access to writing opportunities, we have curated a series of free writing courses with exceptional writers Jasmine Cooray, Kerri ní Dochartaigh and Colin Grant, in conjunction with our Life Writing Prize. These courses are free to take part in, and involve weekly emails full of creative, inspiring writing ideas, thoughts, exercises and sample reading. They are designed to be accessible, and open to all, no matter what your experience of writing.

These courses are designed with creativity and accessibility at their hearts; they are free to take part in, optimised for screen reading, and include transcriptions and alternative descriptions of music.

What do you need to take part?
Access to your email, and approximately 2 hours a week to enjoy taking part in these activities. If you know someone in the UK who would like to take part in these but does not have access to the internet, please get in touch and we can endeavour to print and post these to people who would find them valuable.

In recognition of the financial difficulties many people are facing, and to try and bring some joy and creativity to people, we are offering these, and other activities,  for free to all writers who are unable to pay. We are asking those who are able and willing to do so to make a donation of their choice to our create-write-connect campaign 50 % of funds raised will go to Spread the Word and 50% will go to the Trussell Trust.

What are the courses?

a person wearing glasses with a warm smile1. Connecting with your Creativity with Jasmine Ann Cooray

6 weekly offerings of creative resources and stimuli to support gentle and deepening connection with your creative writing, including audio-recordings and a combination of open prompts and structured exercises. This sequence aims to support a relaxed relationship with creativity and will incorporate some mindfulness principles to aid this. If you are able to, sign up to this opportunity with a writing friend or buddy. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do this.

Who is this for?
Anyone, but particularly for those who would appreciate some inspiration without pressure.

One email a week for 6 weeks between 14 May – 18 June

You can sign up anytime before 18 June. In each week’s email, we will link to the previous emails so you can take part in the whole course. 


a woman wearing a black hat and long brown hair 2. ‘Neadaireacht /Nesting’ with Kerri ní Dochartaigh

In this course, you’ll carve space in your life  – no matter how changed your life may feel right now – to write about your life. You’ll use prompts as a means to tune in – to ourselves, our experiences, and the world around us.

Who is this for?
The focus will be on the natural world around us and on our own inner landscape, so nature writers or life writers might gain from this course. The act of paying attention, and of paying tribute through art to the beauty of existence, has a long heritage that can be traced across many genres. If you love the world, and seek to know it and your own self better, this might be the course for you.

One email a week for 5 weeks between 26 May – 23 June.

You can sign up anytime before 23 June. In each week’s email, we will link to the previous emails so you can take part in the whole course. 

More info and sign up:


3. Capturing your Story in Life Writing with Colin Grant

Writing from your life experiences can be daunting but is always invigorating. Maybe you’ve stopped and started and stopped again? Each of us has skills of communication that can be nurtured and developed. This practical and immersive course on the art of life writing will guide you through the process of constructing your story, working out its order, narrative voice, tone, and editing, selecting what to include or let go. It will help to capture the essence of story and characters that may have proved difficult to pin down.

Who is this for?
This course is for all who feel they have a story to tell and a thirst to tell it, but who may need incentives and encouragement, to be shown tools and techniques which will help in the realisation of those stories.


One email a week from 24 June – 30 July.
You can sign up anytime before 30 June. In each week’s email, we will link to the previous emails so you can take part in the whole course. 

More info and sign up:


Do I need to be at my computer at a certain time each week to take part?
No. These have been designed to enable you to integrate the exercises into your life at a time that suits you. There are no live chats, and no homework to be handed in!

Will I share my work and get feedback?
No. These have been specifically designed to be self-led and playful, and are not about sharing work or getting feedback.

Why is Spread the Word doing these?
Spread the Word is running these courses to offer joy, inspiration and creativity for people in difficult times.

Do I have to live in London to take part?
No, you don’t have to live in London to take part in these. You can take part in them wherever you are in the world!

Do I have to be an experienced writer to take part?
You don’t have to have written anything previously. Or maybe you’ve been writing for years and are seeking new opportunities for inspiration. Our tutors are great at welcoming and inviting people of different writing experience and backgrounds into their exercises, and the most important thing we focus on in the courses is play and creativity.

Can I take part in more than one course? 
Yes! Of course. You’re welcome to take part in all three if you’d like!

Why is Spread the Word running these courses?
When we went into lockdown, we had to unweave and re-configure a lot of our work. We wanted to open up opportunities to write to as many people as possible, so we looked at what projects we had on and what we could and couldn’t do. The Life Writing Prize is a popular opportunity we run each year, open to writers all across the UK. We thought that in conjunction with the Prize, and as a way to support people to create and perhaps process some of what we are going through collectively, we would open opportunities to as many people who want to write and create as we can right now. Thanks to our Life Writing Prize funder, we are able to offer these courses.

Can I connect with other people taking part?
Absolutely!  Although there is no formal sharing / feedback element to these courses, if you want to share on social media use #CreateWriteConnect hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. We’re on Twitter @stwevents and Instagram @spreadthewordwriters

Is there a course taking place with Kerry Hudson? 

We had planned to run a course with Kerry Hudson, but she has had to prioritise her health and wellbeing at this time and we now won’t be able to run the course. We are looking at programming alternative opportunities in the coming weeks.

Published 4 May 2020 

Edited 11 May 2020 

Edited 2 June 2020