Detail from Woman Reading by  Ethel Leontine Gabain

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ― Anton Chekhov

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • 2 hours a week
  • Tuesdays 12:00 - 13:00 and Thursdays 12:00 - 13:00
  • 10 weeks: October to December
  • Tutor: Martin Ouvry
  • Fees from £115 to £210
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
Booking link

This is a supportive and inclusive online course for those with a story to tell but need help in telling it! Over ten weeks, experienced creative writing lecturer and published short story writer Martin Ouvry will help you uncover the short story hiding inside of you and give you the tools you need to start transferring it from your imagination to the page.

Our aim on this course is to help you produce a short story or first chapter of a longer piece of writing, mapping out the writing process from beginning to middle to end. Each week we will focus on a different element of writing fiction, including finding stories, creating characters, point of view, showing and telling, dialogue, and narrative structure. Along the way, you’ll encounter short fiction by a diverse range of classic and contemporary writers.

By the end of this course you will have:

  • Been encouraged to produce a short story or first chapter of up to 1,000 words in length;
  • Developed your knowledge of the fundamentals of good storytelling;
  • Built your own writer’s toolbox of essential skills to enhance your future writing;
  • Learned to read more attentively, to discern how writers do what they do;
  • Benefited from feedback on your writing from your classmates and tutor;
  • Developed your editorial skills

On this course you will benefit from presentations on craft elements of storytelling, fun writing exercises, class discussions, and workshops where you’ll have a minimum of two opportunities to receive feedback on your writing. While this course is comprehensive, you do not need to have any previous experience of creative writing, or any academic qualifications. The environment will be friendly, positive and informal, with a strong sense of community.

The course has two sessions a week - one on Tuesday lasting one hour (12:00 to 13:00) and the other on Thursday lasting one hour (12:00 to 13:00), so you will need to be available for both sessions.

Online Access to Course

This is a taught live online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time on a specific day of the week. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course Delivery'.

Attendance certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Course Information

Course Programme

Course Programme

In the first session the group will introduce itself and Martin will explore yoru aims and aspirations in writing. After that the programme will look each week at a key theme in writing, such as identifying stories to tell, different genres, character consistency and development, structures and plots, using sub-plots, and pre-planning and improvision in writing, in order to help you develop your writing skills.

Martin will discuss some of the writing produced by members of the class and where appropriate we will analyse our own and other peoples' writings in a positive and supportive atmosphere.

You will be asked to write short pieces on a regular basis and receive feedback on your writing for the class.

Our aim is to be flexible to account for the class dynamics and also because writing is not an exact science, it requires an organic approach to its development and practice.

Additional Reading

You do not need to buy or read any specific texts for this course, although it is always a good idea to read works by other writers who are working in a format that you aspire to.

You might be interested in this book:

  • Ailsa Cox, Writing Short Stories (London: Routledge, 2016)

At the end of the course you might find the following book useful:

  • S.J. Watson, The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2021 (London: Bloomsbury 2020)

Your Tutor

Photograph of Martin OuvryMartin Ouvry is an extremly experienced teacher of creative writing. He began as a musician before studying English and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

His awards include a final year prize for outstanding achievement (UEA, BA), the Alumni Association Prize for Fiction (UEA, MA), an Arts Council Writers' Award, a Hawthornden Fellowship and a Wingate Scholarship. His fiction has been published in various anthologies and magazines, among them New Writing, A Little Nest of Pedagogues (in dual English and Chinese texts), The London Magazine and Esquire.

His story 'Forget-MeNot' was longlisted for BBC Radio 4's Opening Lines. His play Shakespeare: the Puppet Show ran throughout the V&A's Shakespeare Festival in April 2014. He has written three novels and is at work on a fourth. Martin has taught creative writing for the Arts Council England, the British Council, City University, the Kingston Writing School, and UEA. He has reviewed books for the Sunday Times, the FT and the Observer.

Lee Brackstone has written of Martin's fiction: 'I would struggle to find a writer of comparable talent in Martin's generation.' The late Deborah Rogers wrote: 'I think his is a voice of true originality and distinction, and one that will in time emerge as a major player in a new generation of British novelists.'

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 20  10  £210    (Early Bird Rate: £190*)
£135    (Early Bird Rate: £125*) £165    (Early Bird Rate: £150*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before the end of 30 September for courses starting in October


Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
  • Staff of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should contact eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk before completing the online enrolment form

Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the Terms and Conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer School
 20  10 11 Oct - 18 Dec 2021 (10 weeks)  n/a n/a n/a
This is a one-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 2nd August 2021

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
  • The following email notifications are sent:
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working daysPlease treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

  • Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the programme manager for adult education, Dr Michael Paraskos at m.paraskos@imperial.ac.uk
  • Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator, eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.