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Write Fest 2023

We're hosting a day at Write Fest 2023! With exciting guests from Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Curtis Brown Creative and more, we have an amazing selection of talks for budding writers. 

Check out our four events: 


The debut novel is a landmark moment in any writer’s career, but getting to the point of publishing a debut novel is a long process of honing your craft and developing a story that will make you stand out.

We discuss the question what makes a good debut novel? with project editor, Sarah Fortune, debut novelist, Lucy Rose and literary marketer, Rebecca Robinson. Join our panel on how to navigate writing your debut and what you can do to best position yourself for the best chances of success.


  • Sarah Fortune is a Project Editor at Orion/Hachette, based in their Newcastle office.
  • Lucy Rose is an author and award-winning filmmaker. Her debut novel, THE LAMB, is being published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (Orion/Hachette UK) and Harper Books (US).
  • Rebecca Robinson is a marketing professional who has worked with thousands of books, leading exciting sales and marketing campaigns for independent publishers.


Literary agents, commissioning editors and literary magazines receive thousands of submissions a year and the landscape of traditional publishing is filled with hopeful writers hoping to break through the noise. So, how do you make your work stand out in the slush pile? A panel of publishers and agents will discuss what makes a submission sparkle, what common mistakes result in those dreaded rejection emails and how to pick yourself up and try again. With special guests from Hachette, Curtis Brown Creative and The Bragg!


What does it mean to balance the creative craft with the business of writing? The landscape of writing and publishing is changing every day and the role of the author is always shifting. So, how do authors approach balancing their craft and the pursuit of creativity/storytelling with the strategic thinking needed to navigate the publishing industry? Find out from Laura Steven, Lisette Auton, and Carmen Marcus.


  • Lisette Auton is the author of middle grade novels, THE SECRET OF HAVEN POINT and THE STICKLEBACK CATCHERS (Puffin, Penguin Random House).
  • Carmen Marcus is the author of HOW SAINTS DIE, a literary fiction novel (Harvill Secker, Penguin Random House).
  • Laura Stevens is the author of 8 novels with Harper Collins – most recently, SOCIETY FOR SOULLESS GIRLS and forthcoming, EVERY EXQUISITE THING.


Creative block happens to the best of us. And it can be totally paralysing when all you want to do is put words down on the page. Carmen Marcus will be hosting surgeries to analyse a short piece of writing and why you’re struggling with it. Whether it’s a flash fiction or a segment of a short story/novel, this creative surgery with Carmen Marcus will help breakdown how you can work through creative block in your writing.

There are six ten-minute slots available. Please send your 500-word excerpt and a short sentence or two on an area you are struggling with in advance, so Carmen has plenty of time to read the work. You will be sent an email address in advance of the session where you can send your work.

The ten-minute slots are available at the following times:

  • 1.30-1.40pm
  • 1.40-1.50pm
  • 1.50-2pm
  • 2-2.10pm
  • 2.10-2.20pm
  • 2.20-2.30pm

Carmen Marcus is a literary novelist, playwright, poetess and creative workshop facilitator. Her workshops have launched various novels and have covered subjects such as witchcraft as depicted in literary works, writing about the land, retelling fairy tales and more.