Fiona Melrose 7th Street Writers' Studio

Fiona Melrose is delighted to announce that she is launching the 7th Street Writers’ Studio where she will be offering a range of writing courses and workshops, beginning in March 2019, including an away weekend writing retreat later in the year

18 January 2019 - 09:42 By Sunday Times Books and fiona melrose

Fiona is the author of two novels. Her debut, Midwinter was a Bailey’s Prize listed novel and was short-listed for the New Angle Prize. In South Africa it was long-listed for the Sunday Times Novel award. Her second novel, Johannesburg, was again listed by the SA Sunday Times and was short-listed for the Royal Society of Literature Encore Award. Her short stories have been dramatised for the BBC and she contributes to BBC Radio Four.

“I do believe writing can be taught, in the same way that musical instruments and painting can. Learning to write is very much based in learning to read.

Some writers will have more of a natural aptitude, obviously, but, quite apart from the nuts and bolts of plot, character, form etc there are strategies which can very usefully be employed to get a writer going  with a project, and, often more importantly, keep them going with their project or practice. 

Habits of observation and truthful recording are every bit an acquired skill as learning the keys on a piano, as are the mechanics of sound sentences. It is true that not everyone will finish a novel, and not everyone will or should be published, but that does not negate the importance and joy of creative expression.”

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Fiona came to writing relatively late, having had various careers in academia and in political and risk analysis for NGO's and the private sector. She has spent much of her adult life in the UK, London and Suffolk in particular, but is currently based in Johannesburg. 

Courses take place in Johannesburg. If you are interested in 7th Street courses please contact Fiona Melrose directly with questions or to be added to the mailing list.

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Details of Courses

If this is the year you want to start writing your novel or wish to refine your existing practice, here are some possibilities for you.

INTRODUCTION TO FICTION WRITING, MARCH 12, Tuesdays, 6-8pm until APRIL 16th VENUE: Parkhurst

A 6 week course designed to cover all aspect of novel writing as well as generate ideas to get you going . This is a primer course for those who wish to start writing or for those with an idea that has stalled. Plot, character, dialogue etc will be covered. Exercises and strategies for beginning and continuing your writing practice. R3 000 materials/ refreshments incl

PROCESS WORKSHOP, SAT MAY 11th 1/2 day workshop 9am-12pm VENUE: Parkhurst

A half day looking at your writing process and the strategies you might use to keep your writing on track and make the best use of your writing time. How to use a Process Diary, harvest words and make sure you are using your notes and ideas to full advantage. This is a practical workshop with lots of exercises and take-away tools. R750 materials/refreshments incl.

READING AND WRITING GARDENS 26 MARCH + 2 APRIL 9am-11.30am VENUE: Garden of St Christopher, Hyde Park

Two mornings immersed in a beautiful garden setting looking at the literary gardens we have come to know and love. What do gardens mean in literature, what is their function in the novel? We will be talking about some classics of gardens in literature and then you will be writing your own prose, taking inspiration from the surrounding garden. Specific exercises will be set so that you have a starting point and make best use of your time in the garden. R1100 incl materials/refreshments.


Mapping narratives and mapping the writing self. This weekend will offer you a full immersion into your work by examining how landscapes influence our work, how to use landscapes effectively in your writing as well as try to uncover your own internal landscapes, your psycho-geography and how it is driving your writing . The mountains of the Magaliesberg will form the basis of our writing enquiry and inspire our practice. Mornings are structured tutoring sessions while afternoons are for writing and walking. Some exercises will be held out of doors during walks. to make full use of the ancient geography of the venue.

This retreat is best suited to those who have completed the Intro to Fiction Writing but will also be hugely beneficial for those who wish to put aside a weekend to really kick start a project. 

NB Please note that exact dates of retreat still need to be finalised and prices of accommodation etc have not yet been set for 2019. Please do register your interest though as there is high interest in this retreat. MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW.

July 25.26,27 (TBC) VENUE: Magaliesberg.