Online Course
Brief Encounters with Ella Frears

Flash fiction, micro fiction, cinquains, sonnets, haiku... creating impact with few words

We’ll explore narrative, image, form, metaphor and voice and look at how we contain and control these within the most compact forms. Looking at writers who are brilliantly brief we’ll work and rework our texts, creating strange, beguiling gems that are strong, charged, brave and perfectly formed. Bring on the small packages!

What will you do on the course?
We’ll read and discuss great pieces of flash fiction and poetry that have mastered the short form – from George Saunders to Lydia Davis, Bashō to Hera Lindsay Bird. Inspired by these texts we’ll condense our emotions, compress our narratives and squeeze our voices into tight corners – working to create works that surprise, delight and unsettle. You finish with at least three new pieces and lots of tiny beginnings. You’ll receive feedback on your work and give feedback to others. Most of all, this is a course to get you excited about writing! Watch this (tiny) space.

Who is it for?
Writers at any stage, writing prose or poetry, who feel that they would like to read and write new things. Those who maybe haven’t made time for their writing, or those who feel they’ve lost that spark. This is a course to generate new work, so no experience is necessary.

Discounted rates
London Writers Network members receive a 10% discount on Spread the Word’s paid programme of activities, and access to two free specially programmed London Writers Network events a year. You can find out more about the London Writers Network scheme here. If you are a London Writers Network member please login to receive your discount.

To see if you are eligible for a concessionary rate, please take a look at our concessions policy.

If you’d like to read our terms and conditions before booking, you can do so here or you can view them at the bottom of every page of our website.

Course Timetable

Course Timetable and Info

Course tutor Ella Frears will upload assignments containing exercises and reading materials once a fortnight on the following dates:

Thursday 12 September
Thursday 26 September
Thursday 10 October

Assignments for each week will be due by the following Thursday, with feedback and discussion for the work written each week to take place between:

Assignment 1: Thursday 19 September - Wednesday 25 September
Assignment 2: Thursday 3 October - Wednesday 9 October
Assignment 3: Thursday 17 October - Wednesday 23 October

We ask that participants commit to providing feedback to at least 1 other participant for each feedback period. Ella Frears will give feedback on two of the three assignments you complete during the course.

Although this is not concrete, to help with your planning we would suggest that completing each assignment will take a minimum of 3 hours, and feedback takes around 1 hour for one piece of work.

The course will take place online using Slack and will require you to have access to the internet in the dates above. Because of this, we ask that you are confident with using simple online sharing platforms, or at least willing to explore with guidance from Spread the Word. Full instructions will be emailed to participants a week before the course starts. There will be no scheduled times to have live chats, there will however be opportunities to interact with other course participants via feedback and general discussion.

The course will run with a minimum of 10 participants and a maximum of 15.

Ella Frears


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Ella Frears is a poet and visual artist based in London. She’s a trustee and editor of Magma poetry magazine and has had poems published in the LRB, Poetry London, Ambit, and The Rialto among others. She was a finalist for the Arts Foundation Fellowship in Poetry and has completed residencies for the National Trust, Tate Britain, K6 Gallery and Royal Holloway University. Her poems about the St Ives Modernists are currently on show at Tate St.Ives. Ella was commended in this year’s National Poetry Competition.