Short Story Masterclass
with Olive Senior

In association with Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions, Spread the Word is pleased to present a unique opportunity to explore the craft of short stories with Olive Senior.

Come along to pick up some last minute pointers and inspiration for your London Short Story Prize 2017 entry with internationally acclaimed Caribbean writer Olive Senior in a rare opportunity to work with her as she visits the UK.

How does a short story writer create universally recognisable characters whose experiences touch the reader and whose voices which range in tone – from the humorous to the heartbreaking, from the reverential to the reflective? Join renowned writer Olive Senior for a masterclass in developing unforgettable short stories.

Olive Senior’s most recent collection of stories, The Pain Tree won the OCM Bocas Prize for Literature in 2015. It’s wide-ranging in scope, time period, theme, locale, and voice. There is – along with her characteristic “gossipy voice” – reverence, wit and wisdom, satire and farce. The stories range over at most a hundred years, from around the time of the second world war to the present. Like her earlier stories, Jamaica is the setting but the range of characters presented are universally recognisable as people in crisis or on the cusp of transformation.

Discounted rates

London Writers Network members receive a 10% discount on Spread the Word’s paid programme of activities, and access to two free specially programmed London Writers Network events a year. Find out more about the London Writers Network here. If you are already a member of the Network and would like to receive your 10% discount on this event, please login to the website.

To see if you are eligible for a concessionary rate, please take a look at our concessions policy.

Spread the Word is grateful to our friends and partners at Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions and Finsbury Library / Islington Libraries for their support and partnership.


Olive Senior


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Olive Senior is the prizewinning author of 17 books of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and children’s literature. Born and brought up in Jamaica, she now lives in Canada. The Caribbean nevertheless remains the focus of her work and The Pain Tree recently won the overall 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean literature. In 2015, she won the OCM Bocas non-fiction prize for Dying to Better Themselves: West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal, a retelling of one of the greatest feats of engineering from a largely unknown perspective.

Her many other awards include the first Commonwealth Writers Prize (for her book Summer Lightning) and the Musgrave gold medal of the Institute of Jamaica for her contribution to Jamaican heritage. Her poetry book Over the Roofs of the World was a finalist for Canada’s Governor-General’s Award and her children’s book Anna Carries Water is among the 20 books recommended by New York City Reads 365 for grade 1.
Her work is taught internationally and her poetry book Gardening in the Tropics is currently on the CAPE syllabus for Caribbean schools. She can be heard reading her poetry on the Poetry Archive She is the subject of the book Olive Senior by Denise deCaires Narain in the Writers and their Work series, UK: Northcote Publishers 2011.
She lectures and conducts writing workshops internationally and is on the faculty of the Humber School for Writers, Humber College, Toronto.

Photo of Olive Senior by Caroline Forbes

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