Can You Write for Children? Jan-Feb 2017

can-u-write-for-kids By popular demand, the next course in Bute Park will be Can You Write for Children?  Over six Sundays we will look at the basics of plot, character and voice in writing stories for children of all ages.  The price will be £95 (£85 if you’ve previously taken a course), with concessions for the unwaged.  As always the course will be suitable for adults of any experience, and if you are beset by doubts about putting pen to paper, fear not! Just give me a ring on 07599 203480 to discuss the course, or email meEarly booking is advised.

Please note – if you want to give this course as a Christmas gift, let me know and I’ll email you a gift token on payment.

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Jon Blake at Waterstones, 8 October

cthu_ciwcaagbwj-jpg-largeBesides teaching creative writing at Bute Park I do occasionally write books (60 at the last count) and for this reason will be appearing this Saturday (8 Oct) as part of the Firefly Day at Waterstones Cardiff.  I’ll be reading from my latest children’s story Thimble Monkey Superstar, answering questions and maybe making up some stories with whoever happens to be there.

The event starts at 11am and I’ll be doing my bit between 12 and 12.30.  As I write for all ages I’ll be pleased to see children, teens or adults, but only of the human variety.  I’ll be happy to chat about my creative writing courses afterwards (nb it is still possible to join Writing Short Stories – see above).

For more on those 60 books, see


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Writing Short Stories starts 25 Sept

sept 16 WSSThe next course at Bute Park will be Writing Short Stories, running from Sunday 25 Sept to 30 October.  Classes will be from 1.30 to 3pm each week.  The course will be suitable for people of any experience and the cost will be £95 (£85 for those who’ve been on a previous course).  If there is room I’ll also take people who are unwaged at a concessionary rate – just contact me about this or if you have any other enquiries.

Please note: the course is now running, but it is still possible to join it for one or more workshops, paying by the week.  Email me or ring 07599 203480 for details, or simply use the pay-by-week button on the booking page.

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Free author visits by Jon Blake

radnor launchThis summer it will be thirty years since my first YA novel, Yatesy’s Rap, was published by Penguin Books.  Fifty-nine books have followed, including the 200,000 selling You’re A Hero Daley B (Axel Scheffler’s first picture book), the 70,000 selling House of Fun series, the 35,000 selling One Girl School, and the widely-acclaimed YA thriller The Last Free Cat, a passionate indictment of privatisation.  The books that I have written in Cardiff are sold as far afield as the USA, Japan and China; I’ve been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award and a Writers Guild Award and have won a BBC Talent Award for radio comedy.

Just as important to me is my work as a teacher, not just at Welsh universities and the Bute Park Education Centre but on a myriad of school visits and community projects. It has been especially important to me to work in areas such as Adamsdown, where I lived for nineteen years:  I don’t come from a professional background and have always been on a mission to encourage others in the same boat.

To celebrate those thirty years as an author I am offering to visit schools, libraries, community projects and events free of charge:  I will bring signed copies of my latest book for juniors, Thimble Monkey Superstar, for sale, as well as other books on request.  The offer will last to the end of September 2016, so if you are interested, let me know as soon as possible by email, or call me on 07599 203480.  I am a qualified teacher and hold a disclosure certificate.

For details of Bute Park courses, see below.

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More courses on the way


Are writing courses in Bute Park behind improvements in wildlife literacy?  (photo:Rhiannon Hobbs)

It’s been a fantastic year so far in Bute Park: the third six-week course is nearing conclusion and last Saturday’s monologues workshop, the third one-off event of the year, was a great success. As usual there will be a summer break now, but more courses are planned for the autumn: if you’re interested in attending one or more of these, email me and I’ll make sure you hear about them.  I always aim to provide whatever writers are looking for: check back through previous courses and workshops advertised here to see the range available.  If you have an interest that hasn’t been covered, let me know.

Online tuition and editing are available at  My children’s books site is at

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June 25: monologues workshop


Matthew Bulgo’s Constellation Street, a series of interlocking monologues, was a huge hit when performed recently at the Other Room. Now there’s a great chance to meet Matthew in the beautiful setting of Bute Park: he’ll answer questions on his work and conduct a workshop on the writing of monologues.  Writers of any or no experience are welcome.

The date is Saturday 25 June (1-3pm) and the cost just £12.  As always it is recommended to book early.

For all enquiries email Jon Blake or ring 07599 203480.

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Next creative writing course starts June 5

June creative writingThe next course at Bute Park will be Creative Writing For All, a general creative writing class suitable for people of all ages and experience. As always, the emphasis will be on learning through doing; writing in a relaxed and encouraging environment and having fun doing it.  The course will be tailored to the interests of those taking part; you will be able to write for whatever age-range and genre you prefer.   It will run on Sundays from June 5 to July 10, 1.30 to 3pm, and the price will be £95 (£85 for those who’ve done a previous course). There is a numbers limit on courses to ensure that everybody gets sufficient attention, so it’s a good idea to book early. Check out the other pages here for details of the venue and tutor, and book here. Ring Jon Blake on 07599 203480 or email for further details.

Please note: owing to a large increase in room hire rates I’ve made a small increase to the concessionary rates.  Email me for details of how to enrol if unwaged.

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Can You Write A Children’s Book? May 15th

can u write 15 MaySorry – workshop now full.  Next course starts June 5.

On Sunday 15th May I’m running a workshop for anyone who is interested in writing for children. Can You Write A Children’s Book? will look at the basics of plot, character and voice, giving participants the chance to write a story under the guidance of Cardiff’s most successful children’s author for the past thirty years.   The workshop will run from 1 to 3pm in the beautiful and spacious setting of the Bute Park Education Centre – and should you choose to take the six-week course on writing for children which will start soon after, I’ll discount the £12 from the price.

As always with my courses, experienced writers and novices are equally welcome.  If you’re full of doubt, fear not!  You won’t be by the end of the workshop.  Any questions, give me a ring on 07599 203480 or email me.

Numbers are limited to ensure everyone gets enough attention, so book early.

Stop press:  the next course will be now be a general creative writing course which will include writing for children if there is interest in this. Students can use the £12 discount on this or wait for the next Writing for Children course.

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Carry on Writing starts March 13

carry on writingThe next course at Bute Park will be slightly different from its predecessors.  It’s an opportunity for those with work in progress, or planning to write a story, novel or script, to get expert feedback through a series of six workshops, at the usual price of £95 (£85 for past students, further concessions if you’re unwaged).  This in my opinion is a better option than paying an editor for online feedback, besides being considerably cheaper!

If there is anyone who wants to write, but it is not sure what, you are also welcome: you’ll get the support and inspiration you need.

As always, I welcome writers of any experience.  Numbers will be limited; you can book a place hereEmail me if you have any questions, or phone 07599 203480.

Please note: this course will now run till May 1st. If you want to attend any of the remaining workshops, it is now possible to book by the week.

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Get on with that novel

Man-looking-at-computer-systemThis month Creative Writing in the Park reached 5000 unique visits.  The current course is number thirteen and Bute Park Education Centre has also hosted a number of one-off events: don’t miss the next one, Meet the Publishers, on Feb 28th.

The Bute Park courses have been designed to suit writers of varying experience.  However, as there are now so many ex-students wanting to continue writing, I’m now planning a course, Advanced Creative Writing, which will give more experienced writers the chance to workshop work in progress or gain the motivation to get going with projects they are planning.  As always I promise a standard of tuition equal to that which you would expect at a university, at a price most can afford (there are also concessions for the unwaged).

The provisional starting date for this six-week course is March 13th (excluding Easter Sunday), so if you are interested, drop me a line to a reserve a place or ask any questions you may have.

For updates on courses follow me on Twitter or check out the Facebook page.

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