Monday 7 September 11:00 am - Sunday 13 September 5:00 pm

In September, we are offering  four surgeries for promising emerging writers of  life writing with historian and memoirist, Colin Grant during the week of 7th- 13th September 2020.

Colin will offer one-to-one feedback which will help you hone your craft, discuss your work-in-progress and consider possible next steps for your writing journey.

To apply for one of these sessions, please submit up to 2,000 words of your current work-in-progress alongside a 200 word statement (preferably in Word document or PDF format) outlining what you are working on and what you hope to gain from a one-to-one surgery session to by no later than 5 pm on 14th August 2020.

Four selected writers of life writing will be invited to submit a final writing sample of up to 4,000 words for Colin to review ahead of the one-to-one. You will then have the opportunity to book a slot during the week of 7th – 13th September 2020 at a time convenient to both parties.


Here, Colin explains more about the type of mentoring he is offering:

“The focus of my ‘creative non-fiction’ tutoring is ‘life writing’. By that I simply mean writing from life. We all have had unique experiences and will have already developed ways of conveying them. I think highlighting “creative” in creative non-fiction is especially important for life writing. The writer is trying to recall and evoke the past, an experience, a mood, an event, a memory and in doing so she has to be creative, drawing on literary tools, her senses and sensibility, in ways that inform, educate and entertain the reader.

Unlike biography, life writing is not wedded to the notion of verifiable facts and truths. Memory is slippy, frail and faulty. The kind of life writing that I’m interested in is searching for an emotional truth, an approximation for experiences that are always elusive.”


Colin Grant is an author of five books. They include: Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey; and a group biography of the Wailers, I&I, The Natural Mystics. His memoir, Bageye at the Wheel, was shortlisted for the Pen/Ackerley Prize, 2013. Grant’s history of epilepsy, A Smell of Burning, was a Sunday Times Book of the Year 2016

As a producer for the BBC, Grant wrote and directed several radio drama documentaries including A Fountain of Tears: The Murder of Federico Garcia Lorca; and A History of the N Word.

Grant also writes for a number of newspapers and journals including the Guardian, Observer, New Statesman, TLS, London Review of Books, Granta and New York Review of Books.  Grant’s latest book, Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation, was a BBC radio 4 Book of the Week and a  Daily Telegraph Book of the year 2019.