Creative Thursday

  • Thursday 20 July 2023 | 9.00am – 5.45pm
  • The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate
  • Ticket: £110.00 (includes a 2-course lunch and break refreshments)
  • Please note that all transactions are subject to a £1.75 transaction fee.

    A maximum of five tickets can be booked at one time time.



The road to publication is as full of twists, turns and surprises as the best crime novel. Wherever you are on that journey, whether the first page or the final draft, Creative Thursday has what you need to make that dream come true.

Covering all aspects of the business – including giving you the chance to pitch your book to those at the top of the tree – Creative Thursday is immersive, instructive and invaluable. The day is set up to let you tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience shared by bestselling crime writers, editors, agents and publishers, and to make sure you leave armed with everything you need to turn your great idea into a great book.



As any good crime writer knows, there’s more than one way to skin a cat (but don’t write about it unless you’re ready for the letters), and there are more ways than ever to get published. We’ve assembled a crack team of authors who have taken non-traditional routes to the top, and publishers who know the industry inside out.

Rachel Abbott and Mark Edwards are multi-million sellers and know just what it takes to get those algorithms working for you. Ellis Moore is senior content manager at Bolinda Audio, and Ruth Tross is a publishing director at Bookouture. Their advice will be golden. With chair N.J. Cooper.


THE PITCH | 10.15am – 10.45am

How do you sell your idea to publishers, editors and agents? N.J. Cooper delivers a whistlestop tour of the dos and don’ts for pitching your ideas to industry professionals as delegates prepare to do just that in The Dragon’s Pen, later in the day.


COFFEE BREAK | 10.45am – 11am


WORKSHOPS (Group A: Workshop 1 / Group B Workshop 2) | 11am – 1pm


LUNCH BREAK | 1pm – 2pm


WORKSHOPS (Group B: Workshop 1 / Group A Workshop 2) | 2pm – 4pm



Professional Writing Academy Course Director and Best-selling Crime Writer, Graham Bartlett (Bad for Good, Death Comes Knocking, Babes in the Wood) is joined by clinical psychologist and crime writer, Dr Chris Merritt (Knock Knock, The New Home, Committed) teaching about how trauma and risk-taking have psychological origins and consequences. We all know that characters must change over the course of a novel, and especially over a series, but how much do we know about the subtler impacts of the trauma we have previously put our characters through and how that manifests in future behaviour? Graham has consulted Chris on his Jo Howe series and they will take you through Chris’ scientific advice and how Jo has changed consequently.


WORKSHOP 2 | In a Dark Wood: how to keep going in the middle of your book

With Claire McGowan.

This workshop will look at how to push on and reach the end when you’re lost in the dark of the middle and can’t see the wood for the trees. It will cover plotting and structure, including mid-point twists and the placing of reveals, as well as pacing and suspense. You’ll learn everything you need to keep up tension and engagement all the way through the thorny halfway point. We will also look at the motivation side of writing, as so many authors give up once they hit the doldrums of the middle of a book. This workshop will teach you how to push past that, keep writing, find new momentum, and finally finish your book and reach the other side.


COFFEE BREAK | 4pm – 4.15pm


DRAGON’S PEN | 4.15 – 5.45pm

Okay, you’ve done the hard work (and it’s been fun!). Now let’s put what you’ve learned to the test. And wow, what a terrifying test it is…

Take a deep breath, step into the spotlight and make your pitch. In front of you, daring you to impress him, is number one bestseller Mark Billingham, alongside four senior industry professionals. You’ve got this!

In the audience are your fellow writers. You have two minutes to convince them that your synopsis and first chapter are worth reading. Are you ready? You’d better be. This is our literary version of the popular TV show, Dragons’ Den, and it’s most definitely not for the faint-hearted. Step up, show them what you’ve got and sell it. The potential prize is everything.

In the Dragon’s chairs will be: Finn Cotton, Senior Commissioning Editor at Transworld; Juliet Mushens, Agent at Mushens Entertainment; Maddalena Cavaciuti, Agent at David Higham Associates and Ruth Tross, Publishing Director at Bookouture.

Title Sponsor:

This event is sponsored by: