Courses and Workshops

Creative Practices for Writers

Are you an expert procrastinator? Do you find it hard to write once you’ve sat down at the desk? Perhaps you’re not as focussed as you want to be, or your writing life has lost its joy. Creative Practices for Writers will help you overcome procrastination, self-doubt, fear and frustration, regardless of what genre you’re writing in. By learning a range of techniques and practices (besides the dreaded Pompodoro) you’ll become more productive and happier in your writing life.

During the course, we’ll identify the internal and external barriers and obstacles which inhibit your writing, and develop strategies to overcome them, explore techniques to create the physical, psychological and emotional environments you need to be more focused and motivated, so you can minimise procrastination. Together we will examine how you can manage your inner critic and fear of failure, helping you to overcome writer’s block, write courageously and produce your best work. In the duration of the course we will be practising methods to generate creative energy to make your writing more enjoyable and help sustain you during long or complex projects.

While this course will be taught in English, writers working in any language are welcome. The program is hands-on and includes writing-based exercises, both during the course and at home. Ideally, participants should allow at least two hours per week for exercises to be completed outside course hours.

Please note that we will not be workshopping any creative writing during this course. If you want to support the development of your creative work, take a look at the craft-based programs offered by The Reader Berlin.

Contact to sign up now.


Lucie Stevens is an Australian editor and writer who has worked with authors for over 10 years. In her pre-Berlin life, she was the Program and Publishing Manager at the Australian Society of Authors, and held various editorial and production roles in publishing houses. For the past two years, she has been working in Berlin with publisher Curved House Kids, helping kids learn in empowering and fun ways.

When she’s not wrangling other people’s words, Lucie writes fiction for children and young adults. She was awarded the NSW Writer’s Varuna Fellowship and an Emerging Writer’s Mentorship for her first manuscript. The content of this course covers many of the techniques Lucie wishes someone had taught her a decade ago. Read more about Lucie at

Introduction to Creative Writing

Is there a story inside you that’s waiting to be told? Jane Flett, a BBC Radio short story author and one of Salt’s Best British poets, will be running a nine-week course for writers who would like to explore their ideas in fiction. Whether you’re writing prose for the first time or just need the motivation of a deadline to finish that story, the workshop will provide a supportive environment to share your writing and discover how to improve it. As well as receiving detailed feedback on your own work, you’ll also gain experience critiquing and editing your fellow writers. The course will include classes on narrative technique, characterisation, dialogue and voice, and writing exercises to get your inspiration flowing.

To book your place email

Jane Flett is a short story writer whose work has been commissioned for BBC Radio, read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, awarded the Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award, and published in numerous literary journals. She features in the Best British Poetry 2012 and has toured Europe extensively performing her work. She has also taught this course in Prague and Copenhagen with Reader founder Victoria Gosling.

Starting to Write, Finding Your Voice


Voice is a mysterious subject. As writers, sometimes the struggle is not with what we have to say, but in finding the right way to say it. Join award winning-author Irenosen Okojie for a workshop in which the subject of voice will be thoroughly investigated. Over the course of the day, via discussion, exercises and prompts, Irenosen will help you build the core skills to develop your own voice as a writer. 

Perfect for writers who want to overcome writers’ block or strengthen their existing practice, the workshop is suitable for writers of all levels.

We also have a Salon evening with Irenosen on the 11th September in which she will discuss her writing, give a reading, and hold a Q&A, to have a look check out our Facebook event

To sign up we are asking for a deposit of €15. Email to reserve your space now!

Irenosen Okojie is a writer and Arts Project Manager and author of Speak Gigantular and Butterfly Fish, which won a Betty Trask award. Her work has been featured in The Observer, The Guardian, the BBC, and the Huffington Post. Hailed by Ben Okri as a dynamic writing talent to watch and featured in the Evening Standard Magazine, she is one of London’s most exciting new authors. Find her at and @IrenosenOkojie.


An 8-week poetry workshop with award-winning poet Donna Stonecipher, PhD, author of four books of poetry and one of prose. This class will consist of two components: a discussion-based exploration of poetry, and a workshop. In addition to writing weekly exercises given by Donna, participants will submit their own poems on a rotating schedule and receive constructive feedback from everyone in an informal and supportive workshop setting. Writing comes from reading, so we will also spend time reading others’ poems together and articulating why and how they work. The workshop is appropriate for writers at all levels of experience, from beginners to professionals.


Email to sign up!

Telling Tales: The Art of Creating Stories

Stories can entrance, engage, even possess us.  Every one of us has a story to tell; factual or fictional, cool documentary or heartfelt family journey, practical travelogue or sparkling flight of the imagination.  But to become an accomplished storyteller one needs time, a conducive environment, and a sensitive guide to direct and refine individual talent.

In June best-selling author Rory MacLean will lead an exclusive, two day, weekend creative writing workshop in Berlin.  Participants – to a maximum of sixteen – will be guided and supported on their creative journey.  Both amateur and professional writers are invited to apply.  No experience is necessary.  The only requirement is the passion to tell a story.

The course will include morning talks on the craft of narration and introductory workshops on gathering material, note-taking, voice and structure. Rory will underline the importance of writing from the heart, using honesty and personal experience to fill one’s creative work with feeling and excitement.  Afternoons will be dedicated to exercises and — if possible — one-to-one discussions or project pitches, helping to draw out individual skills.  Together Rory and the participants will unpick the transformation of our ordinary encounters, epic journeys, family histories and imaginative quests into prose. Whether you aspire to writing journalism, a blog, memoir, personal essay or documentary, take this rare opportunity to work with one of the Reader’s favourite writers.

To sign up we are asking for a deposit of €30 to reserve your spot. Email to book your place.

Rory MacLean is the author of more than a dozen books including the UK top tens Stalin’s Nose and Under the Dragon as well as Berlin: Imagine a City, a book of the year and ‘the most extraordinary work of history I’ve ever read’ according to the Washington Post.

He has won awards from the Canada Council and Arts Council of England and written about the missing civilians of the Yugoslav Wars for the ICRC, on divided Cyprus for the UN’s Committee on Missing Persons and on North Korea for the British Council.

His works – wrote the late John Fowles – are among those that ‘marvellously explain why literature still lives’. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he divides his time between the UK, Canada and

Discover the Poet Inside

Have you always wanted to write poetry, but never known how to start? Or maybe you already have a practice, and are looking for a good excuse to spend a weekend delving deeper? 

This is a rare chance to work with the award-winning poet and live artist Ryan Van Winkle, who we’re bringing over from Scotland especially to inspire your work. The Scottish Poetry Library’s former Reader in Residence will guide you through a variety of forms and styles—revealing how to take risks, steal techniques, and unearth with your own poetic voice. Famed for his lively, inspiring workshops, Ryan spreads the love of poetry wherever he goes. We’re unbelievably lucky to be hosting him.

You’ll come out of the weekend with a notebook stuffed with ideas and the confidence to push forward with new projects you haven’t even thought of yet. Ryan will also share his insider knowledge of the publishing industry, offering guidance for those who are getting ready to submit to magazines, publish a chapbook or put together a collection. This course is also highly recommended for fiction writers who are interested in experimenting with or honing their voice, or any who are interested in what it means to be a poet. 

To sign up we are asking for a deposit of €30. Email to reserve your space.

RYAN VAN WINKLE is a poet, live artist, podcaster and critic living in Edinburgh. His second collection, The Good Dark, won the Saltire Society’s 2015 Poetry Book of the Year award. His poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The Prairie Schooner, The American Poetry Review, AGNI and Best Scottish Poems 2015. He was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship in 2012 and a residency at The Studios of Key West in 2016. As a member of Highlight Arts he has organized festivals and translation workshops in Syria, Pakistan and Iraq.

Ryan has been a workshop leader and tutor since 1999. In that time he’s worked with dozens of writers helping to develop and encourage their work. Ryan has been working both on-line and in person for The Poetry School in London. He has also been a creative writing tutor at the SUISS Summer School at Edinburgh University. 


Got a great idea for a screen or stage play? Want to develop it properly before writing your first draft? Written that first draft, but got a bit lost along the way? Preparing to send your script out, but would like to put it to the test and get feedback from professional scriptwriters before you do?

The Reader Berlin’s Scriptwriting Lab with Donna Sharpe and C.J. Hopkins is an intensive 5-day script development course designed for both beginning and more experienced screenwriters and playwrights. Through an inspiring mix of lectures, workshops and individual mentoring sessions, the Lab will provide you with the practical tools and knowledge you need to take the next step in your writing process. And to relax? An optional evening programme, including a final celebratory dinner, will be on the cards.

Course Tutors:

Donna Sharpe has written and directed award-winning documentary films for the BBC; had her first play workshopped at the Royal National Theatre Studio, London; and has a major historical drama series in development with ITV Studios and ZDF, as well as two feature-length screenplays optioned by independent producers. She holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from U.E.A.

C.J. Hopkins began writing for the stage in New York City in the 1990s. His plays have been commissioned, produced and have toured internationally, playing theatres and festivals such as Riverside Studios (London), 59E59 Theaters (New York), Belvoir St. Theatre (Sydney), Traverse Theatre (Edinburgh), and the Du Maurier World Stage Festival (Toronto), among many others. His playwriting awards include the 2002 Best of the Fringe Firsts in Edinburgh, Scotsman Fringe Firsts for New Writing in 2002 and 2005, and the 2004 Best of the Adelaide Fringe award. Editions of his plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (Methuen) and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. He holds a B.A. in Cinema from the University of Miami.





“Some might think that the creativity, imagination, and flights of fancy that give my life meaning are insanity.”  Vladimir Nabokov

Everyone’s heard the old adage “write what you know”, but what if you don’t want to do that?  This is a writing week for people who’ve wondered what it’s like to be someone else, to live in another place, or to have been born into a different time.  Imagination is precious for a fiction writer, and this course aims to guide students in how to use this most innate of human skills to trigger creative inspiration.  It will also cover how to make those imaginings convincing for readers through talking about using research and weaving in what you do “know” to make your conjured fictions more real.  It’s a course for people who love to write and dream, for people who want to make their writing better and to carve out a space in their life to write more.  This doesn’t mean you need a lot of experience – just enthusiasm, passion and the willingness to take risks.  It’s for people who’ve ever wondered whether it’s insanity to take so much pleasure in the art of making things up, or simply the most sane way we could hope to understand our world.

Course tutors Tod Wodicka and Clare Wigfall have been celebrated for the skill with which their work transgresses their own experience.  This is a unique opportunity to work alongside two international Berlin-based authors who can promise a lively rapport stemming from a friendship and working relationship that has spanned almost two decades.  As one of the most exciting and creative cities in Europe, Berlin is the perfect base to inspire and encourage creativity.

Course brief:

This four-and-a-half day intensive summer course is designed to provide a perfect balance of guided practical workshops, one-on-one tutorials, personal writing time, and opportunities to glean from the experience of the tutors during more relaxed evening sessions.  It includes four tutor-led morning masterclasses in which, through in-session exercises and by looking at examples from writing masters, students will be given inspirational triggers to get them writing and will also have the opportunity to focus on themes that will develop their practice including character development, description, story plotting, and editing.  Material will be generated during the workshops that can then be developed individually.  Every student will also receive two private tutorials, one with each tutor, for which they can submit work in advance for focused discussion.  The evening events will include a reading from guest author Julian Gough (JUDE: LEVEL 1, JUNO & JULIET), an informal evening for the tutors to share their experience of the literary industry (including how to find an agent and submit work for publication), and a final celebratory meal with a chance for students to share their work with the group.

Course tutors:

CLARE WIGFALL has lived in London, Berkeley, Prague, Edinburgh, and presently Berlin.  Her debut short story collection THE LOUDEST SOUND AND NOTHING (Faber & Faber) was published in 2007 to critical acclaim, described by the Guardian as ‘energisingly, awe-inspiringly, intimidatingly good’.  The following year she won the BBC National Short Story Award and was later nominated by William Trevor for an E.M. Forster Award.  She has published in Prospect, the Dublin Review, New Writing 10, and A Public Space, and has written for BBC Radio and NPR Berlin.  She holds an MA from the University of East Anglia’s prestigious creative writing programme where she was awarded the Curtis Brown Prize.  Clare has taught writing workshops all over Europe, including for the Arvon Foundation, the Cork International Short Story Festival, and the BBC at the Fringe; she is approachable, generous with her experience, and her teaching has an energy that never fails to inspire her students.

TOD WODICKA was born and raised in upstate New York.  He has lived in just as many places as Clare Wigfall, but mostly by accident.  He currently lives in Berlin.  His first novel, the acclaimed, ALL SHALL BE WELL; AND ALL SHALL BE WELL; AND ALL MANNER OF THINGS SHALL BE WELL (Jonathan Cape/Vintage, UK) was published in 2007 and has been translated into several languages.  The New Statesman pronounced it ‘Vibrant, original, at times hilarious…reminiscent of Philip Roth or Jonathan Franzen (or The Royal Tenenbaums)’.  It was shortlisted for the Believer Book Award in 2009.  His second novel, THE HOUSEHOLD SPIRIT is due in 2014/15.  His essays and criticism have appeared in the Guardian, Granta, the New Statesman, the National, Tank Magazine and AnOther Magazine, among others.  He has been an English teacher and recently helped mentor aspiring novelists in the Tibor Jones Writer’s Studio.