Writers’ Essentials, the serious business of storytelling, was set up in 2013, to provide encouragement, support and advice to aspiring writers. We work to bridge the gap between writers and the publishing world by offering detailed, constructive feedback, free online resources and our programme of writing courses.
Since co-founding Writers' Essentials, Sarah has worked with over 100 authors (several of whom are on track to publication), giving one-to-one feedback and teaching on classes and courses around the UK. As Creative Director, Sarah oversees the team of associate editors and provides one-on-on coaching and detailed feedback on key aspects of writing, such as plot, setting, character and voice. She specializes in fiction (for adults and children aged 8+) and particularly in structuring a good story. She also writes and delivers our writing programme 'Novel writing: pages 1 to 384' and is currently developing other writing resources.
Previously, Sarah was a co-founder of Edinburgh University’s writing and publishing society, PublishED, and interned with Canongate Books and Jenny Brown Associates, where she provided feedback on new submissions and clients’ manuscripts. She also worked as a freelance copy-editor, before moving onto structural editing. Fascinated by fiction writing, she has studied the subject for many years, through courses, books on writing, and the extensive reading and analysis of novels, films and plays.
Associate Editor for non-fiction
Ali has been encouraging and enabling writers to produce their best work since 1997. As a Commissioning Editor, first for Authentic media and now for Lion Hudson, she has taken hundreds of books from conception, through the acquisitions process, editing and proof-reading, to post-publication marketing and PR. She’s worked with a wide range of authors, on fiction, biography, autobiography, science and faith, human rights, Bible study, history, poetry, humour, world religions, and more.
Ali has also been teaching on creative writing classes since 2003 and co-authored Tracing the Rainbow: Working through Loss and Bereavement.She provides unabashed, un-sweetened, unforgettable advice on whether a book’s got a chance of navigating the treacherous path to publication or not, and what can be done to improve its odds. Ali specializes in non-fiction, particularly memoir.
Keith is an Edinburgh-based author and reviewer. When he was just 24 his first novel, Creepers, was published and went on to be shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award. Subsequent books include The Runner, You Killed Me! and Ostrich Boys which was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Awards, the CILIP Carnegie Medal and won the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. Ostrich Boys has also been successfully performed as a play both in the UK and abroad. His most recent book The Last Soldier was shortlisted for the Scottish Teen Book Prize 2017.
Keith has edited 2 ground-breaking anthologies for teenage readers, working with writers such as Patrick Ness, Anne Fine and Malorie Blackman. He has been a judge for the Guardian Fiction Award, The Booktrust Teen Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Awards as well as a reviewer for the Guardian and Scotsman newspapers. His books have been translated into a dozen languages and he’s travelled to schools and book festivals all over the world encouraging young readers and writers wherever he meets them.