Fathom Writers Archive

Past Workshops

Laurie Harvey – Think Global, Act Local

A creative journey taking in some of the best travel writing and writers from across the globe, exploring works by Bruce Chatwin, Hemingway, Murakami, Mark Tully (No Full Stops In India) and Ryzard Kapucinski, among others. Participants are asked to bring in a postcard, bought or received.

Rupert Creed – Dramatising real life accounts

John Hegley – Writing, Drawing and Drawing out the Creativity

The remarkable John Hegley brings his unique gifts to Barton for the first Fathom workshop of 2010. John has produced ten books of verse and prose pieces, two CDs and one mug, but his largest source of income is from stages on his native island.

An Edinburgh Festival regular, he is noted for his exploration of such diverse topics as dog hair, potatoes, handkerchiefs and the misery of human existence.

John classes himself an occasional DJ, musician, dancer and workshop leader, using drawing, poetry and gesture. He has been awarded an honorary Doctorate of Arts from what is now the University of Bedfordshire, and once performed in a women’s prison in Columbia.

No previous experience required. No previous writings needed but please bring an image, a photo or painting with personal resonance.

Short Story Writing

A new 6 week course in writing short stories starts in January. For anyone who has written a little or nothing at all, the course gives a chance to work with a professional writer to learn some of the tricks of the trade. We aim to take the mystery out of writing and give you a creative writing toolkit that’ll last a lifetime.

The course explores basic writing skills needed to write short fiction and give participants a ‘writer’s toolkit’ including:

> how to get started
> creating a believable world
> creation and development of characters
> showing not telling
> dialogue and overcoming writers’ block

Each two-hour session works through practical exercises, writing workshops and analysis of classic and modern short stories. It aims to take the raw material we all have inside us, our imagination and experience and help to work towards creating a piece of publishable writing.

Nick Triplow – The Beauty of Small Ideas – Flash Fiction Uncovered

With the advent of the Internet, editors are increasingly looking for shorter works, more easily read on a computer screen. As flash fiction – notionally a short tale somewhere between 300-1000 words – becomes more popular, writer and editor Nick Triplow takes a look at how best to approach this distinct form of writing. With practical examples and tips on how to take small ideas and make them work, this workshop is a good introduction for experienced writers or those new to flash fiction.


Award Winning comedian Jon Reed introduces you to the art, and secrets of stand up comedy.

Whether your interest is in comedy writing for radio, stage or television, understanding the process of stand up comedy is an invaluable tool in any writer”s locker. The workshop looks at forms and styles of comedy, and unlocks your comedy voice. Primarily a writing workshop, there is some performance involved, which requires no experience, simply the willingness to participate in the aim of the session – achieving your first minute of Stand Up Comedy.

Jon Reed has written for, directed and taught the likes of Johnny Vegas, Pappy’s Fun Club and Josie Long. He has performed at multiple Edinburgh Festivals, had his own Channel 4 Comedy Lab and a series on BBC Play.

Rupert Creed – Playwriting with an emphasis on oral history drama



‘Oral History’ Documentary Dramas:

‘Every Time it Rains’ – 2009- Hull Truck Theatre Company

‘The Northern Trawl’ (with Jim Hawkins) –Hull Truck 2000 / Remould Theatre 1985

‘The Greatest Story Ever Sold’ (with Tim Haunton) – 1993- Remould Theatre

‘Making Faces’ – 1991- Remould Theatre

‘Street Beat’ (with Peter Spafford) – 1990- Remould Theatre

‘The Care Takers’ – 1989- Remould Theatre

‘Close to the Bone’ (with Mary Cooper)- 1987- Remould Theatre

‘Steeltown’ – 1988- Remould Theatre

In this two hour workshop, Theatre Director Andrew Pearson will talk through the process of getting a script from an initial idea to a full blown production.
The informal session will allow writers to discuss the process of getting a script on its feet, and practical advice on taking projects forward. There will also be the opportunity to look at adapting prose for performance and scripting for television, film and radio.

‘Beating Writers Block’ with Marvin Close


Marvin’s new book, `MORE THAN JUST A GAME : FOOTBALL Vs APARTHEID’ is currently on release worldwide, published by Harper Collins (St Martin’s Press in the USA and Canada, release date April 26,2010).

Co-written with sports history academic Professor Chuck Korr, it is the true story of how the political prisoners on South Africa’s infamous Robben Island turned football into an active force in their struggle for freedom. Despite torture, regular beatings and backbreaking labour, the men defied all odds and played organized league football in one of the most brutal hellholes on earth for over 20 years.

It will be the subject of two major new documentaries being made by the BBC and ESPN for release in 2010, and has been adopted by football’s world-governing body FIFA as their book for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. At the draw for the tournament back in December, 2009, 1,000 special editions of `More Than Just A Game’ were distributed to delegates, politicians and media by FIFA.

Marvin is currently writing a series of `sensory books’ aimed at children with profound special needs. The books will come complete with a CD of sounds, music and special effects that try to engage children `through all the senses’ , further reinforcing and re-emphasising key moments within the text of the stories.


A former writer-in-residence at Manchester’s Library Theatre, Marvin’s stage plays include the award-winning comedy DOROTHY PARKER’S DEAD; the story of The Goons, `CRAZY PEOPLE’(co-written with John Chambers); an investigation of modern work, `WORKING’; a homage to Oliver Hardy, `TON OF JOLLITY’; and a political history of Hull dockers, `NO SURRENDER!’


Marvin has written over 70 episodes of EMMERDALE, scripted episodes for THE STORY OF TRACY BEAKER, DOCTORS, 24/7 and THREE SEVEN ELEVEN, and storylined over 200 CORONATION STREET shows. For BBC Radio Four, he co-wrote two series of the comedy, `ARNOLD BROWN AND COMPANY’; and co-created and co-wrote two series of the spoof nostalgia comedy series, `WHERE WERE YOU?’

He was recently Script Consultant on the BBC’s major new children’s drama series, ANUBIS HOUSE, which will be onscreen in 2010.


Marvin has delivered numerous writing workshops and lectures at universities, colleges, arts festivals and schools. He was a guest tutor for three years on Leeds Metropolitan University’s MA in Screenwriting and has worked extensively as a writer for the Arts Council. Marvin recently worked as writer-in-residence at Tweendykes Special School in Hull, helping children with autism and learning difficulties improve their communication skills. He has also worked extensively as a writer in schools throughout the North of England, notably for Hull City Arts.

His passionate belief is that encouraging, supporting and inspiring people to write can offer valuable routes into helping better understand and express their needs, wants and desires, and show them how engaging with and celebrating the sheer unalloyed joys of being creative can positively change the way they view life’s challenges.