In January, I will doing a new workshop on immersive fiction for the Berlin Reader.
More information below:
Following his sold-out novel-writing workshop in May, author Ben Fergusson is back with a brand new class on writing immersive fiction. How do we create exciting plots? How do we write engaging characters? How do we conjure up evocative settings? Simply put, how do we immerse readers in our novels and make them turn the page? In this one-day workshop we are going to talk about the ingredients of great novels and apply them to our own ideas for books, first chapters and first drafts.
We will begin by looking at the starting points for good novels, coming up with pitches for new or current projects, which we will use to understand the fundamentals of planning and starting a novel. We will discuss the bones of writing good scenes and chapters, exploring how we can use suspense and emotional tension to engage the reader and keep them reading.
Inspired by excerpts from great novelists, we will talk about how we evoke place in our novels and work on exercises that help us understand how a sense of place can help carry the emotional thread of our books. And looking at classic plot structures, we will discuss why these narrative patterns come up again and again in world literature and apply them to our own writing and ideas.
Throughout the seminar, there will be plenty of opportunities to draft, develop and discuss your own ideas, using practical tools to help think through characterisation, structure, plot and style. You will leave this workshop brimming with ideas for how to plan, improve and refine your long-form fiction.
This workshop is ideal for anyone working on a new novel, their first novel or even just thinking about writing one and can be taken by students who took the first novel-writing workshop or are new to the class.
To sign up, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be doing a special launch event for my new book An Honest Man with acclaimed novelist and artist Susan Finlay. Full information below:
The Reader Berlin is proud to present the launch Ben Fergusson’s third book, An Honest Man, and Susan Finlay’s debut novel, Our Lady of Everything. These Berlin-based authors will read from their work and be in conversation about their approaches to writing about the recent past, evoking place, and their shared interest in exploring the complexities of national and personal identity. Join for another cozy evening of readings with our friends at Wein Salon.
Copies of Our Lady of Everything and An Honest Man will be for sale. Everyone in attendance will be automatically entered to win raffle prizes from Serpent’s Tail and Little, Brown.
Date: Tuesday, July 16th
Time: Doors at 7:30, readings at 8
Location: Wein Salon, Schreinerstraße 59, 10247 Berlin
Entry: 5€ — can be applied towards book sales
Read more here at the Berlin Reader website.
At the end of March, I will be reading as part of "Brexit: And Now What?" at the Literaturhaus in Berlin:
Brexit »And Now What?«
7.30 pm – midnight
Tickets: 7 € / 4 €
An event in English
Who, if not contemporary writers, are better qualified to reflect on the absurd, the utopian and the dystopian implications of Brexit? Who better to riff on the intentionally and unintentionally amusing, the realer than real and the weirdly surreal? In the run-up to midnight, when Britain is set to officially leave the EU, join us at the Literaturhaus Berlin to grieve, commiserate and attempt — with a pinch of black British humour cut with courage and cynicism — to find comfort and new beginnings in literature, music and art. Throughout the night, an exciting lineup of writers will respond to Brexit and tackle the question “And Now What?”, with featured authors including Priya Basil, Patricia Duncker, Ben Fergusson, Alec Finlay, Jo Frank, Lucy Jones, Scott Martingell, Kate McNaughton, Jacinta Nandi, Alistair Noon, Musa Okwonga and Paul Scraton. Take part in a fully immersive evening that celebrates the imperviousness of British literature and culture to borders and customs administration. Anglophiles of all nationalities are in for a night of readings, music from the band BBXO and discussion, as well as typewritten, specially commissioned texts from Yael Inokai, Daniela Dröscher, Christian Dittloff und Paula Fürstenberg, members of the writers’ collective Literatur für das, was passiert, and work from the Berlin-based artist and filmmaker Clemens Wilhelm. Fueled by British refreshments, there’s no reason not to keep calm and carry on till midnight.
Write Your Book: Planning, Starting and Sustaining Your First Manuscript
In May I will be running a day-long workshop for The Reader Berlin on novel writing:
This day-long seminar is aimed at anyone who is writing – or has ever thought about writing – a novel. What are the shortcuts, tips and tricks to get you started and keep you going?
Whether you’re struggling to generate ideas, unsure of where to begin or confused about whether your expanding short story may actually be a book, this seminar will offer clarity, inspiration and practical insights into starting, sustaining and structuring your first novel.
In this seminar, we will talk about how great novels start and what the first line, page and chapter of a good novel need to contain. We will then look at strategies for dealing with the difficulties of turning a first chapter into a sustainable narrative. We will begin by looking at how successful second chapters work, and go on to explore different ways of developing character profiles and plots. We will also look closely at the opportunities and limits that different narrative voices offer us, trying our hand at writing different approaches and exploring what effect this has on our stories.
Throughout the seminar, there will be plenty of opportunities to draft, develop and discuss your own ideas, using practical tools to help think through characterisation, structure, plot and style. Ideal for anyone who has ever wanted to write a novel, this workshop is an essential guide to completing your first (or second) manuscript, all in a friendly and supportive environment.
The seminar will end with a Q&A, during which you can ask all about the process of writing and publishing a novel. Ben will also take a look at the publication process, and discuss what agents and publishers will be looking for once you have a finished draft and are ready to pitch.
To sign up, send an email to email@example.com
Ben will be reading and chatting with writer Kate McNaughton and translator Lucy Jones at Ausland in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, on 21 June.
Lychenerstraße 60, 10437 Berlin
21. June 2018 – 8:30 pm
Open from 8:00 pm
(Start 8:30 pm)
Admission: 5 EUR
Kate McNaughton was born and raised in Paris and now lives in Berlin. She read English and European Literature at Cambridge and filmmaking at the European Film College in Denmark. As well as a writer, she is also a documentary filmmaker and translator.
Lucy Jones was born in England and has lived in Berlin since 1998 where she co-runs Transfiction, a translators’ collective. She has translated novels by Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Ronald Schernikau and Brigitte Reimann, among others. She also writes book reviews for German literature in English at CULTurMAG and Word Without Borders and presents The Fiction Canteen reading series for Berlin writers, poets and translators. https://fictioncanteen.blog/
The event will be simultaneously translated.
is an award-winning novelist, editor and translator, living between London and Berlin. He currently teaches at the University of Potsdam.