REAL LIFE 2.0: World-Building for Literary Fiction with Eleanor Penny SOLD OUT

When we write fiction, we are always world-building. In this workshop, we’ll use the tools of sci-fi, fantasy and historical writing to interrogate our choices and sharpen our techniques when it comes to writing ‘real-world’ or naturalistic fiction. Part of the Developing Tutor workshop series.

We weave many assumptions into our stories – about what makes our world tick, about what our audience is familiar with, about what must be explained and what can be passed over in silence. This is as true for fiction set in your own house in the present day as it is for stories set in outer space or the depths of the past. In this workshop we’ll re-examine our own writing instincts through the lenses of ‘genre fiction’ world-building to become more thoughtful, more critical, more playful about the choices we make. We’ll also discuss what it means to write from the perspective of a colonial centre vs from an ‘othered’ culture and interrogate that division. 

What will you do in the workshop?

We will use a series of short readings and hands-on writing exercises to delve. We will also examine our own writing; to that end, participants will bring the first 500 words of a current fiction project to work on during the session. 

What can you expect?

We’ll look at science fiction and fantasy authors including Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Italo Calvino, and poets including Caroline Bird and Danez Smith. Other sources include: Hillary Mantel, Arundhati Roy, and Ruth Wilson Gilmore. 

Who is this workshop for?

This opportunity is for fiction writers of all levels currently working on longer projects (e.g. novellas, novels).  

This workshop is part of our Developing Tutors series. 

What is Developing Tutors?

Developing Tutors is a series of free workshops delivered by London Writers Awards writers who are talented writers looking to grow their workshop delivery experience. We ask that you only book for one workshop in this season.  

A note about this being free

This workshop has a limited capacity and is free to you. We ask that you only book a space if you are committed to attending. By doing this, you are supporting Spread the Word to continue to offer free workshops.

Access Notice 

  • If you require BSL interpretation to take part, please email us at [email protected] by Wednesday 4 January and we’ll try to secure BSL interpretation for you. Spread the Word will cover this cost.

  • We’ll send through any reading seven days in advance. We can create adapted handouts to writers attending our workshops and events by request.

  • If you have additional access needs or questions, please email us on [email protected]

About Eleanor

Eleanor Penny

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Eleanor Penny is a writer, essayist and poet. She won the Poetry London Competition 2020, the Verve Poetry Festival prize 2020, and was Highly Commended in the 2021 Forward Prizes. She has twice been shortlisted for Young People’s Poet Laureate. She is a former Barbican Young Poet, and an alumnus of the London Writers Awards 2021. She hosts the literature podcast Bedtime Stories for the End of the World. In her current project Albion, she is researching maritime histories of the UK. She teaches creative writing workshops with organisations including the Poetry School, Spread the Word and The Midnight Run. Her debut pamphlet 'Mercy' was published in 2021 by Flipped Eye. She is currently working on her first novel.