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
  • Mondays 12:00 - 13:00 and Thursdays 12:00 - 13:00
  • 10 weeks: January to March
  • Tutor: Martin Ouvry
  • Fees from £135 to £210
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
Booking link

Many people have a story to tell, whether a work wholly of the imagination or something developed from the experience of life. On this course we will take you on a journey to find ways to express your story, either in the form of a short-story or the start of a longer work of writing, through a series of guided workshop activities, writing exercises and collective discussion with the group.

Our course of one hour classes, delivered twice a week, takes an innovative approach to creative writing by seeking to educate the imagination through guided experimentation and concrete practical activities to encourage the discipline to write on a regular basis.

At the end of the course you will have:

  • produced a written piece of between 1,000-2,000 words which will take the form of a self-contained short story or first chapter
  • developed ways to identify ideas and initiate writing
  • identified key writing methods and forms that are appropriate to your own interests and skills as a writer.

Teaching is delivered in a friendly and guided workshop environment which aims to develop confidence in writing as well as reading your work aloud, offering the necessary positive and constructive criticism appropriate to the work in question.

The weekly sessions will be supported by reading material which draws from a diverse community of writers. Suggestions on how to get published, poetry magazines, competitions, venues, websites, small presses and literary development agencies will be given as appropriate.

The course has two sessions a week - each lasting one hour - so you will need to be available for both sessions each week.

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.'

Martin recently completed his novel Frugality with the generous support of Arts Council England.

Course Delivery Method: Live Online (Zoom)

All our online courses are taught live which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you must be able to attend the online session at the time stated for the course description.

All times stated are British Standard Time.

To take part you will need a computer, or laptop, or tablet computer, connected to the Internet. The device you use will also need to have a camera, microphone and speakers. Most devices now have these built in, but if not you might have to buy them from a computer shop and to connect them to your device.


This course will use Zoom as its online delivery method. Zoom is very easy to use and you do not need to set up a Zoom account to use it. Near the date of your first online session you will be sent an email with a web address (or URL) that will allow you to access the course. This is called the Course Link. All you need do is click on the Course Link in the email and you will be asked to enter your name. This is the name that will be seen by your tutor and other students in the class.

Once you have entered your name you might be asked to enter a password to enter the class. The password will be included in the email sent to you. Once you enter the password you will either be taken directly into the class, or asked to wait in a virtual waiting room until the tutor is ready to let you into the class.

We have also produced a Handy Guide to Zoom [pdf] which gives you basic information on how to use it.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 20  10  £210   (≡£10.50 per hour)
£135     (≡£6.75 per hour) £165    (≡£8.25 per hour)
All fee rates quoted and due are for the whole course. Part-payments are not possible. Equivalent to hourly rate is for comparison guidance only. There is no early-bird discount for January intake courses.

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 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
  • Cooperative College 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 n/a w/c 17 Jan - w/e 26 Mar 2022 (10 weeks)* n/a n/a
* This is a one-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 5 November 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
  • Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator,

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.