Too Close for Comfort: Making Your Reader Feel Uneasy with Tomek Mossakowski

Life is full of uncomfortable moments. Putting them on the page shouldn’t be one of them. Embracing inner discomfort can result in powerful, tense writing.

A man with dark hair wearing a black jumper stares forward. The background behind him is dark grey.

The page is a safe space – for fears, for desires, for that difficult mingling of the two. This workshop will take you through a range of strategies for making your reader shift in their seat, whether it’s small, subtle details dropped into a text, or our messiest thoughts sprayed across the page for everyone to read.  

What will you do in the workshop?

We’ll be looking at writers who excel at unease, ranging from auto-fiction through to fantastical horror. Are there common themes? We’ll then use writing exercises to unlock our own experiences, fantasies and fears – the root of tense writing. 

What can you expect?

Expect to feel uncomfortable! We’ll use free association writing exercises to start, before building into longer exercises. You’ll leave with a good word count, which you won’t be required to share. Writers discussed: Shirley Jackson, John Fowles, Garth Greenwell, Sayaka Murata. 

Who is this workshop for?

Suitable for writers of any level, especially those writing stories that include distress or discomfort, real-world or not. Think: dystopian, horror, crime, literary. 

This workshop is part of our Developing Tutors series. 

What is Developing Tutors?

Developing Tutors is a series of workshops delivered by London Writers Awards writers who are talented writers looking to grow their workshop delivery experience.

Bursary Places

We have 5 free bursary places for each Developing Tutors event available to those who cannot afford the price of a ticket, allocated on a first come first served basis. Please email [email protected] stating which event you would like to attend for free and if we are able to offer you a place we will. Due to availability, we can only accept one bursary request per person.

Access Notice 

  • If you require BSL interpretation to take part, please email us at [email protected] by Tuesday 16 May 2023 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]


Published: 8 March 2023

About Tomek

Tomek Mossakowski

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TOMEK MOSSAKOWSKI is a British-Polish writer living in Peckham. He has a PhD in English from King’s College London, but swapped Foucault for frangipane to become a baker. He trained at some of London’s top bakeries before opening a bakery school, while never giving up on his childhood dream of being an author. A gay, second-generation immigrant who’s moved around the world, he writes stories about people seeking a sense of belonging. His YA novel, Ideal Me, is about a depressed teenager on Mars who learns to speak to the planet. His work has been published in The Moth and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2021 and 2020.