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The Art of the Novel Nicholas Royle

The Art of the Novel By Nicholas Royle

The Art of the Novel by Nicholas Royle

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The Art of the Novel is the first textbook written by writers who are also teachers for today's Creative Writing students as well as more experienced practitioners of the novel. The guide brings together specially-commissioned essays from well-published novelists many of whom are also prize winners.

The Art of the Novel Summary

The Art of the Novel by Nicholas Royle

How do you write a novel?

Practising novelists and teachers of creative writing reveal their working methods and offer practical advice. Subjects covered range from magic realism to characterisation, surrealism to historical fiction, via perspective, plot twists and avoiding being boring, among many others.

This book is for

creative writing students

writers and readers of novels

teachers of creative writing

With contributions from Leone Ross, Tom Bromley, Jenn Ashworth, AJ Dalton, Nikesh Shukla, Stella Duffy, Mark Morris, Alison Moore, Nicholas Royle, Alice Thompson, Kerry Hudson, Toby Litt, Livi Michael, Joe Stretch, James Miller, Sarah Butler, Will Wiles, Graeme Shimmin


Eighteen specially commissioned essays

Creative writing exercises

Top tips

Lists of recommended novels

The Art of the Novel Reviews

Some pairings can be relied upon - literature and life, Steptoe and Son, Lennon and McCartney, Nicholas Royle and a good anthology.

-- Andrew O'Hagan

Royle's (excellent) taste means that little explosions of weirdness or transcendence often erupt amid much well-observed everyday life.

-- Boyd Tonkin * The Independent *

The tips are all good, the exercises useful, and the recommended books will give you quite a reading list!

-- Graeme Shimmin

About Nicholas Royle

Nicholas Royle was born in Manchester in 1963. He is the author of seven novels, including: Counterparts, Saxophone Dreams, and First Novel, and a short story collection, Mortality. He has edited sixteen anthologies, including A Book of Two Halves and Neonlit: Time Out Book of New Writing. He lives between London and Manchester and teaches creative writing at MMU. Jenn Ashworth's first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, won a Betty Trask Award in 2010. On the publication of her second, Cold Light, she was listed by the BBC's The Culture Show as one of the UK's twelve best new writers. Her third novel, The Friday Gospels, is currently being adapted for television. She teaches creative writing at Lancaster University and is one of the co-founders of Curious Tales, a writer-led performance and publishing collective. Tom Bromley is the author of twenty books: two novels, two novellas (under the pseudonym Thomas Black), six works of non-fiction and ten ghostwritten titles, ranging from bestselling autobiographies to books on everything from economics to JRR Tolkien. A former commissioning editor, editorial director and publisher, he teaches novel and genre writing for the Faber Academy. Sarah Butler explores the relationship between writing and place through prose, poetry and participatory projects. Recent writing residencies include writer-in-residence on the Central line; at Great Ormond Street Hospital; and Tideline - a public art project linked to a major regeneration project in Belvedere, East London. She has two novels published by Picador: Ten Things I've Learnt About Love and Before The Fire AJ Dalton is an international author with Gollancz Orion. His novels include The Book of Orm, Empire of the Saviours, Gateway of the Saviours, and Tithe of the Saviours. He currently teaches Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, and lives with his cat Cleopatra. He was born in Croydon. He maintains the website Stella Duffy has written thirteen novels including her latest, The Purple Shroud. The Room of Lost Things and State of Happiness were long-listed for the Orange Prize. She won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2002 (Martha Grace) and 2013 (Come Away With Me), and Stonewall Writer of the Year in 2008 (The Room of Lost Things) and 2010 (Theodora). She has reviewed for The Review Show (BBC2), Front Row (BBCRadio4) and written articles for most major newspapers in the UK. In addition to her writing work she is a theatre director and performer. Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Her first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, was published in 2012 by Chatto & Windus and was the winner of the Scottish First Book Award while also being shortlisted for the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Authors' Club First Novel Prize and the Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Thirst, was published in 2014. Toby Litt grew up in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. He is the author of four collections of stories and eight novels. His latest book of stories is Life-Like, published by Seagull Press. Toby's completion of Neil Gaiman's graphic novel, Free Country: A Tale of the Children's Crusade, is due from Vertigo in September 2015. He teaches creative writing at Birkbeck College. His website is at Livi Michael is the author of six novels for adults and twelve for children. Succession, (Penguin Random House, 2014) is the first part of a trilogy about the Wars of the Roses and Rebellion (Penguin Random House 2015) is its sequel. She teaches Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. James Miller was born in London in 1976. He is the author of two novels - Lost Boys and Sunshine State - and numerous short stories. With a PhD in African-American Literature and Civil Rights, he teaches creative writing at Kingston University. Alison Moore's first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Awards (New Writer of the Year), winning the McKitterick Prize. Both The Lighthouse and her second novel, He Wants, were Observer Books of the Year. Her short fiction has been included in Best British Short Stories and Best British Horror anthologies, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra and collected in The Pre-War House and Other Stories. Born in Manchester in 1971, she lives near Nottingham with her husband Dan and son Arthur. Mark Morris has written over twenty-five novels, including Toady, Stitch, The Immaculate, The Secret of Anatomy, Fiddleback, The Deluge and four books in the popular Doctor Who range. He is also the author of two short story collections, Close to the Bone and Long Shadows, Nightmare Light, and several novellas. His short fiction, articles and reviews have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and magazines, and he is editor of Cinema Macabre, a book of horror movie essays by genre luminaries for which he won the 2007 British Fantasy Award, its follow-up Cinema Futura, and The Spectral Book of Horror Stories. Leone Ross is a Jamaican/British award-winning writer, editor and lecturer. She is the author of two novels, All the Blood is Red (Angela Royal Publishing) and Orange Laughter (Anchor), and numerous short stories. She won an Arts Council award in 2001, and, in 2013, her short story collection, now entitled Come Let Us Sing Anyway, was shortlisted for the Scott Prize. She works as a senior lecturer at the University of Roehampton in London and her third novel, This One Sky Day, is forthcoming. Her website is at Graeme Shimmin was born in Manchester, and studied Physics at Durham University. His successful consultancy career enabled him to retire at 35 to an island off Donegal and start writing. He has since returned to Manchester and completed an MA in Creative Writing. His first novel, A Kill in the Morning, won the YouWriteOn book of the year award, was shortlisted for the Terry Pratchett Prize and subsequently was published by Transworld. Nikesh Shukla is the author of Meatspace, the Costa First Novel Award-shortlisted Coconut Unlimited and the Sabotage Reviews Best Novella winner The Time Machine. He is the host of The Subaltern Podcast and Dumsnet. He wrote Kabadasses, a comedy lab pilot for Channel 4 in 2011 and the award-winning short film, Two Dosas, based on his short story of the same name. His short stories have appeared in the Sunday Times, Best British Short Stories 2013, Too Much Too Young, Teller Magazine, Litro and Five Dials, and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He lives in Bristol. Joe Stretch studied politics at Manchester University, where he was subsequently a Writing Fellow. He is the author of three novels - Friction (2007), Widlife (2009) and The Adult (2010). He was lead singer and lyricist of Manchester band Performance and is co-writer of Wizard's Way, which won the LOCO 2013 Discovery Award and Best Comedy Feature at the 2012 London Independent Film Festival. He taught creative writing and lyric writing at Keele University, until recently moving to Manchester Metropolitan University. Alice Thompson was born and brought up in Edinburgh. She was the former keyboard player with post-punk eighties band, The Woodentops and joint winner with Graham Swift of The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction for her first novel, Justine. Her second novel, Pandora's Box, was shortlisted for The Stakis Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year. Her other novels are Pharos, The Falconer and most recently Burnt Island. Alice is a past winner of a Creative Scotland Award. She is now lecturer in Creative Writing at Edinburgh University. Will Wiles is the author of Care of Wooden Floors (2012), which won a Betty Trask Award, and The Way Inn (2014), which was shortlisted for the Encore Award. His next book is called Plume. When not writing novels he works as an architecture and design journalist. He lives in London.

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The Art of the Novel by Nicholas Royle
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