"I would highly recommend them to anyone!"

Softwood client, August 2020

How can our creative writing courses help you develop as an author?

During the difficult year that has been 2020, we are proud to have had support from The Prince's Trust to establish online, fully interactive instructor-led creative writing workshops. Our intensive training courses take place over one weekend and include:

  • ​Creative writing webinars

  • Guest authors

  • Social time (online) to meet fellow authors and share work in progress

  • Q&A sessions with authors and editors

  • Opportunities for 1-2-1 Writers Coaching with Maddy Glenn

Whether you've already started working on your novel or are still planning your writing strategy, these courses will inspire and motivate you by examining the five building blocks of creative writing:

  • Character

  • Plot

  • Dialogue

  • Setting

  • Style


Follow #CreativeWritingBlast      on social media!

Typically, the course begins with an informal introduction, where you can meet your fellow attendees over a virtual glass of wine on Zoom, meet your course leader, Maddy Glenn, and discuss your writing projects.

Saturday morning includes two webinars with live chat and interactive exercises, with the afternoon available for 1-2-1 coaching sessions with Maddy (see fee structure). The evening will introduce our first special guest speaker on a Zoom social call with all the participants, where they will explore how books can be re-energised, taking on a new dynamic through the editing process.

The festival continues on Sunday morning with more opportunities to book an individual coaching session with Maddy. Sunday afternoon sees the remainder of the webinars to complete your learning. We welcome our second guest author for our Sunday evening Zoom session.

The course ends on Monday evening with another Zoom social, including a final Q&A and plenary session.

Our Course Leader & Special Guests for 2021


Maddy Glenn

Founder and CEO of Softwood

Maddy established Softwood in 2017 not only to support self-publishing authors in every aspect of their manuscript development, but also in response to the growing demand for her editing services.

She has a BA in Philosophy and English Literature from the University of Reading and is a member of the Society of Young Publishers. Maddy is an English Language Editor for MDPI and regularly works with companies, developing their in house style. Her debut novel, On The Edge, will be published late 2020.


"Her professional approach and patience as an editor is just outstanding."


Claire Dyer

Award-winning poet and novelist

We're delighted to be welcoming Claire to our Creative Writing Blast. As well as being a regular contributor to Radio Reads on the BBC, Claire has four published novels, and her third collection of poetry is due for publication in February 2021.

Claire has a BA in English & History from the University of Birmingham, an MA in Victorian Literature & Culture from the University of Reading, and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. She currently teaches Creative Writing at Bracknell & Wokingham College. 

"Claire Dyer understands humanity and presents it on the page with utmost skill."

Cole Moreton

Writer and broadcaster

Cole Moreton is a writer and broadcaster, exploring who we are and what we believe in. He has been named Interviewer of the Year for his work with the Mail on Sunday and has written for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The Times. His Radio 4 series, The Boy Who Gave His Heart Awaywon Audio Moment of the Year at the Arias and Best Writing at the New York Festival. Anthony Horowitz and Matt Haig are among those who have loved Cole’s fifth book and debut novel, The Light Keeper, which is out now. 

"Mesmerising and lyrical, creating atmosphere you can breathe and emotion that can shred your heart."

Peter James on 'Te Light Keeper


Reserve your place

2021 dates to be announced



Frequently Asked Questions

  • When will the dates for the next course be announced?

    • We hope to announce the dates for 2021 before the end of 2020.​

  • Is this another one of those pre-recorded courses devoid of real human interaction?

    • Every element of our Creative Writing Blast is instructor-led by a publishing expert. Any pre-recorded elements will include a live chat so that participants have continuous access to the instructor throughout the course.

  • Will I be expected to engage with writing exercises during the webinars?

    • Informal exercises will be set during each session, which we'd recommend participants engage with, but of course, they don't have to!​

  • I'm in America; how can I get involved in the morning sessions?

    • Our morning webinars are timetabled to start at 10am BST but will be repeated on our YouTube channel for those who have festival tickets at 2pm BST (9am EDT)​.

  • How do I book a 1-2-1 coaching session during the course weekend?

    • Book your entry ticket on the links above and add a coaching session. You'll be prompted to email us to arrange your individual time.

  • Who is the lead instructor?

    • Maddy Glenn is the Founder and CEO of Softwood. Her award-winning editorial style and passion for the projects she works with makes her the ideal instructor for this creative writing course.


Proud sponsors of

Guildford Book Festival 2020

© 2021 by SWS Publishing

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