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From Idea to Bookshelf: How Novels get Published


Whether you’re an aspiring writer, an enthusiastic reader of fiction, or just curious about how publishing works, come and discover the secrets of the trade at this exciting Q&A event organised by South East London Authors. 

Over 90 minutes, a panel of four successful working novelists will tackle all your questions. How does the spark of an idea become a finished manuscript? Who decides what gets published? How do you make your novel stand out? Do writers need agents? How important is a good editor? What makes a bestseller? Is self-publishing a good idea? Has digital publishing changed the way the business works? Practical advice and industry insights from:

Emma Darwin – creative writing tutor and author of two historical novels; her new memoir This is Not a Book about Charles Darwin, published by Holland House, was described by the Literary Review as ‘a wise, witty and informative guide’

Tamsin Grey – her debut She’s Not There, published by The Borough Press, has been praised by Ian McEwan as ‘a wonderful, artfully addictive novel’

Marianne Kavanagh – her fourth novel Disturbance, which tells the story of a lonely woman driven to the edge by rejection and betrayal, is published by Hodder & Stoughton and has been called ‘the blackest of delights’ by Jenn Ashworth

Brian Keaney – his historical novel for adults, The Alphabet of Heart’s Desire is inspired by events in the life of the writer and notorious opium addict, Thomas De Quincey. He has also written YA and children’s books 

The event will be chaired by Antonia Senior, Times reviewer (and author of historical fiction, most recently The Tyrant’s Shadow) and will be supported by award-winning Dulwich Books, voted the UK’s best Independent Bookshop in 2014 (and on the shortlist in 2017). Dulwich Books is owned by Susie Nicklin, who also co-founded The Marsh Agency, a leading international literary agency based in Mayfair, London.

Doors open at 7:15 for a 7:30pm start.

Tickets cost £10, or £5 for those 25 or under.

As on all Bell House events, bursary tickets are available. Please email [email protected] for more information.

Earlier Event: October 3
Supporting the Dyslexic Learner
Later Event: October 5
Jamaican Folk Songs