Telling Tales

Short Story Masterclasses


Masterclass 1: 7 – 11 Years - Starting Your Story

Join Miranda Walker to find out about the ingredients of a fabulous story. Then mix them together to create your own exciting short story plot by the end of the session!

First, you’ll create memorable characters. Then, you’ll ask them what they really want to happen in your story. Next, you’ll plot some fun obstacles that will make your characters work their socks off! Finally, they’ll be a flourish of drama before your story’s big finish.

With plenty of fun along the way, this practical session will have you writing up a storm!

About Miranda Walker: Miranda is a children’s author whose work includes picture books, middle grade fiction and graphic text. As a writer on the well-known Oxford reading schemes, many children have brought home her books from school.

Miranda also writes comedy and drama for TV, stage and radio, as well as musicals (book and lyrics). Recent highlights have included GIGGLEBIZ for CBeebies, DIDDY TV for CBBC, a community opera libretto for Cheltenham Music Festival (nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Impact Award) and musical FLY EDDIE FLY, about Olympic legend Eddie the Eagle, starring the man himself as interactive narrator. She has worked as a topical gag writer for BBC Radio 4 on flagship comedies THE NOW SHOW and THE NEWS QUIZ, and is the author of several non-fiction books.


Masterclass 2: 12 – 15 Years - Building Stories

Bali Rai's creative writing masterclass will show you how to construct better plots and write better stories. From understanding how and why stories work, to the importance of knowing your protagonist's motivation, learn how a professional writer begins their writing process.


About Bali Rai: Bali Rai has written over forty novels about teenagers and children since 2001, winning multiple awards and being shortlisted for even more. Born in Leicester, his writing is inspired by his working-class, multicultural background. A leading voice in UK teen and children’s fiction, Bali is a passionate advocate of libraries, reading for pleasure and promoting literacy. He has nearly twenty years of experience in working with young people across the UK and further afield and is extremely popular with schools.

Bali has worked closely with The Reading Agency, Booktrust, The National Literacy Trust, Empathy Lab UK and many other organisations, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by De Montfort University in 2014. He also featured on BBC1’s Rebel Writers show and is an ambassador/patron for several high-profile literacy and arts projects such as Listening Books. He was a Costa Book Award judge for 2019/20 for both the children’s and main prize, and is currently working on two new books. Now or Never (A Dunkirk Story) has been shortlisted for The Little Rebels award, and his latest title, Mohinder’s War, published in June 2020.


Masterclass 3: Adult - Finding Your Voice

This writing masterclass led by Julie Summers is aimed at writers who are at the outset of their journey and those who are on the way but feel the need for a refreshing boost to confidence. The tyranny of the blank page is never more frightening than when faced alone in lockdown.

This class will help to address that. Julie will lead a series of exercises to help you to find confidence in your voice. Using techniques honed at courses held for the Arvon Foundation, she will help you to explore the storytelling craft through confident use of language. This course will be fun, creative and a little challenging. Please be prepared to bring with you an object or photograph that means something to you and is linked to your life.

About Julie Summers: Julie Summers is the author of 14 works of non-fiction, including Fearless on Everest: the Quest for Sandy Irvine (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000), Stranger in the House (Simon & Schuster, 2008) and the best-selling book Jambusters (Simon & Schuster 2013) which inspired the ITV drama series HOME FIRES. Her book Dressed for War (Simon & Schuster 2020), a biography of the wartime editor of Vogue, Audrey Withers has been optioned by Gaumont TV. Julie is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at St Hilda’s College, Oxford and has taught on several Arvon courses. She is passionate about writing and is unashamed to describe herself first and foremost as a storyteller.

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