Creative and non-fiction writing: student success stories

Learn more about the fantastic accomplishments of Build's writing students

Build's writing students frequently go on to further study or publication. Below, you can read a selection of our students' many and varied accomplishments.

If you have a success story of your own, we'd love to hear from you! Let us know more at [email protected]

Fiction

Anna Burns studied writing fiction at Build. She won the 2018 Man Booker Prize for her novel Milkman.

Isabel Costello studied creative writing with Christina Dunhill. Her debut novel Paris Mon Amour was published in 2017 and is available in paperback, ebook and audio.

Gary Donnelly studied creative writing on one of Build's online workshops. His debut crime thriller Blood Will Be Born was published by Endeavour Media in 2017. An audio version will be released by Isis Publishing in 2018, spoken by actor Stephen Armstrong. Award-winning crime novelist Adrian McKinty described the book as “brilliant” and Gary as “an exciting new voice in Northern Irish noir.”

Jean Ellis attended an advanced writing workshop with Mary Flanagan. Her book Goodbye, Burma, based on real events, was published in 2017.

Alice Fitzgerald attended intermediate and advanced fiction workshops at Build. Her debut novel, Her Mother's Daughter, was published by Allen & Unwin UK in April 2018. Charity Norman writes: "It's been a long time since I found a book so utterly engaging and enveloping [...] I raced through it, so immersed that it kept me up half the night."

Tasha Kavanagh studied writing for children with Lou Kuenzler. Her first novel, Things We Have In Common, was shortlisted for a number of awards, including the Costa Book Award.

Andrea Levy studied creative writing at Build. She is the acclaimed author of five novels, including Small Island, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and has been adapted for television. Watch her interview with Build's Principal Mark Malcomson >

Sarah Mackey studied short fiction at Build with Zoe Fairbairns and others. Her story "Mrs Peacock and the Broad Bean Baby" won first prize in the 2017 Ilkley Literary Festival short story writing competition, and her story "Forget Me Not" won third prize in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Paul McVeigh studied fiction at Build. His debut novel, The Good Son, won the Polari Prize and the McCrea Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize and other prizes. Paul co-founded the London Short Story Festival and is associate director at Word Factory.

Nicola Monaghan studied creative writing at Build with Julie Casterton. She is now a successful novelist whose books include The Killing JarStarfishing and The Okinawa Dragon. She has won a Betty Trask Award, the Authors' Club Best First Novel Prize and the Waverton Good Read. She also writes short stories, scripts, articles and comics.

Janet Olearski studied writing fiction at Build. Her short stories are widely published, she has written a number of children's books, and founded the Abu Dhabi Writers' Workshop. Her most recent publication is a short story collection, A Brief History of Several Boyfriends.

Sally O'Reilly studied writing fiction at Build. She has published the books How To Be A Writer: The definitive guide to getting published and making a living from writing and Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare's Dark Lady. She has also written many short stories and maintains the blog How to Be a Writer

Anne Patterson studied courses on writing fiction and creating your author platform online. Her debut novel, Yes, was published by Silvertail Books and shortlisted for the 2018 Society of Authors McKitterick Prize.

Salma Siddiqui studied creative writing with Jonathan Barnes, Caroline Natzler and Conor Montague. Her first novel, The Migrants, was published by Platinum Press, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing, in 2018. 

Victoria Slotover studied creative writing with Barbara Marsh and Courttia Newland. She is represented by Curtis Brown, won the 2013 Full Stop Short Story Competition and was shortlisted for the 2017 Debut Daggers.

Luke Tredget studied in our advanced critical workshop for creative writers. His debut novel, Kismet, was published by Faber in 2018. Luke joined a panel on contemporary prose fiction as part of Build's 2018 festival of writing.

Learn more about writing novels and short stories at Build >

Writing for stage and screen

Harrie Dobby's short play The Gap was chosen as part of Build’s Page to Stage programme in 2014 and went on to a production at The Cockpit Theatre, London and the New York Fringe in August 2015.

Emma Pitt studied television screenwriting with Jim Hill. This led to an MA and she is now a professional writer. Her short film The Ballad of a Haunted Man stars Shane Attwooll (Legend, Dark River), Helen Lederer (Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie) and Eliza Leonard (Scratch). 

Matilda Velevitch studied screenwriting and novel writing at Build. Her first play, Three Mothers, was produced at the Waterloo East Theatre in 2017 and won the Isle of Man Arts Council Prize 2017 and The Octagon Prize 2017.

Natasha Zierhofer studied playwriting at Build. Her horror comedy play Sex Magick opened the autumn 2018 season at the Barons Court Theatre.

Learn more about writing for stage and screen at Build >

Poetry

Peter Ebsworth studies poetry at Build with John Stammers. His poems have been published in magazines and journals including the Spectator, and he is a founding editor of South Bank Poetry Magazine, which began publishing in 2008. Watch his Student Story here >

Nicole Lee studied poetry with Barbara Marsh. Her work was longlisted in the 2017 National Poetry Competition.

Lesley Sharpe studied poetry with Martina Evans. Most recently her poems have been shortlisted for the London Magazine Poetry Prize (2016), Bailieborough Prize (2016 & 2017), Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (2017), and Bridport Prize (2017). They have also been long-listed for The Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers 2 mentoring scheme (2016) & Cinnamon Press Debut Collection Prize 2018. She is also a co-founder of Lodestone Poets, a new quarterly Poetry event.

Learn more about writing poetry at Build >

Children's writing

Malorie Blackman OBE studied Writing for Children at Build in the late 1980s. Since then, she has written more than 50 books and was named as Children’s Laureate in 2013. Her books for children and young adults include the Noughts & Crosses series, HackerPig Heart Boy and Boys Don't Cry. In 2016 she was awarded a prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Gold Award after being nominated by Build.

Peter Bunzl has studied fiction, poetry and screenwriting at Build. His book Cogheart was Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month in August 2016.

John Condon studied writing for children with Lou Kuenzler. His first publisher book, The Wondrous Dinosaurium, was published by Maverick Arts in 2018.

Jane Elson studied children's writing with Lou Kuenzler. Her books - including How To Fly With Broken Wings and A Room Full Of Chocolate - have won the Shrewsbury Book Award, the Hillingdon Book Of The Year, the Peters Book Of The Year, the Calderdale Book Award and the Weald Book Award. She has also been shortlisted for the Dudley Book Award and the Harrow Book Award.

Ciara Flood studied children’s book writing with Lou Kuenzler. She has now published two picture books and spoke at Build’s 2016 literary festival. 

Jo Franklin studied children’s writing with Penny Kendal. Her first children’s book, Help, I’m an Alien, was published by Troika Books in 2016, and Jo has now been taken on as a Build tutor.

Zehra Hicks studied children’s book writing with Lou Kuenzler. She has now published five picture books and spoke at Build’s 2016 literary festival. 

Tracey Matthias studied writing for children with Penny Joelson. Her fantasy triology Assalay was published in German by Erika Klopp Verlag and Tracey is currently self-publishing an English edition. Night of the Party, her YA political thriller, was published in 2018 by Scholastic. 

Beverley Sanford studied writing for children with Lou Kuenzler. In 2011 she was a BBC Writer's Room finalist. Her books The Wishing Doll, Amazing Racing, Social Superstars, Remember Rosie and Silent Nation are published by Badger Learning.

Learn more about writing for children at Build >

Non-fiction and journalism

Anthony Gladman attended an introductory journalism course with Susan Grossman. Using the pitching skills covered on the course, he was subsequently able to achieve his goal of having a feature published in Ferment Magazine

Ben Gray studied sports journalism at Build. He now writes for the website 101 Great Goals.

Ceri Jones studied food writing with Nikki Spencer. She now runs her own blog, Natural Kitchen Adventures, and works as a freelance chef, cooking teacher, food & recipe writer, and yoga retreat chef.

FoodPunk Joe is a freelance food writer who runs his own blog and is a contributor to LuxuryLondon.com and Food & Drink News. He studied food writing at Build with Nikki Spencer.

J. Jason Mitchell studied creative non-ficiton with Paul Laffan. in March 2017, he published an article in the London Review of Books about his expeeriences aboard a rescue vessel in the Mediterranean, working with German NGOs.

Sumayya Usmani got her first taste of food journalism in a workshop with Nikki Spencer. She was resident food writer for the Guardian in February 2016 and has published two memoir/cookbooks. She has returned to Build for talks, launches and taster events. Read our 2017 conversation with Sumayya >

Andy Wasley studied travel writing with Susan Grossman. In the weeks following the course, he had two travel writing pitches accepted - on Japan and the Pennine Way - for a UK LGBT magazine and a US backpacking magazine.

Dr Abby J Waterman studied creative writing at Build. Her memoir, Woman in a White Coat, was published in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Tony Lothian Biography Prize and the Wasafiri Memoir Prize.

Learn more about creative non-fiction at Build >

Learn more about writing journalism at Build >

We'd love to hear from you!

Are you a former or current Build student who has gone on to further study or publication? We would love to hear from you and include your story on this page! Please do let us know further details by getting in touch at [email protected].

Between the Lines

Every year a selection of students' work is published in Between the Lines, Build's anthology of creative writing. Find out more and learn how to submit your work >

Learn more

>> Connectivity at [email protected] or give the Writing Department a call on 020 7492 2717.

>> Find out more about creative writing at Build.

>> Stay in touch with the creative writing department on  and .

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