Maria McCarthy
About Maria
The Girls' Guide to Losing your L-Plates
The Girls' Car Handbook
Teaching & Workshops

I love teaching and have run a range of courses at venues ranging from literature festivals to church halls. Here are a few examples -

Writing for Publication Workshops
These cover getting journalism, non-fiction and novels published. They give writers an understanding of the nitty-gritty of the industry and cover developing feature ideas, pitching to editors, negotiating fees, getting an agent and dealing with business matters such as copyright and tax. Many students have gone on to be published in both local and national media. I’ve held them at Bath, Bristol and Exeter literature festivals and at the Daphne du Maurier festival in Cornwall.

Freelance Journalism Workshops

I’ve been teaching at Bath University since 2002 and these sessions give students the opportunity to develop feature ideas and get feedback on their writing.

Writing Novels and Stories Classes
My writing novels and stories classes are suitable for anyone with an interest in creative writing. I aim to create a relaxed, sociable environment where students can have fun and make progress with their writing at the same time.

Publicising Your Book
Drawing on my experience as both a journalist and author, I run workshops on publicising your book. These cover how to get the best from your publishers, writing press releases, approaching journalists and how to handle interviews. I’ve held them for the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Here’s some feedback on my writing workshops:

'I want to thank you for running such an excellent workshop at Ilkley Literature Festival. I've had such enthusiastic feedback from participants who clearly got a lot out if it.'
Rachel Feldberg, Director, Ilkley Literature Festival

‘Maria’s workshop at Salisbury Arts Festival was well-prepared, informative and entertaining. The long queue of people wanting to talk to her afterwards was an additional tribute to her skills.’
Debbie Rigg, Salisbury Festival Director

‘Four weeks after taking Maria’s advice I have been signed by a major London agent for my first book! I owe Maria a real debt of thanks for her infectious enthusiasm, encouragement and support.’
Rachel Nkere-Uwem

‘Your workshop was, for me, one of the best of the festival. It was so informative and entertaining – and I’ve never seen attendees make so many notes!’
Rachel Levy
Events Assistant, Bath Literature Festival

‘Maria’s knowledge and enthusiasm shine through in her teaching and we hope she will continue to tutor with us for many years to come.’
Marie Salter
University of Bath

‘Just to say thank-you for a really brilliant course. It was everything I was hoping to get from it, and your delivery was fresh, informative packed with useful facts and interesting. Your use of funny personal experiences added to making the whole day uplifting and enjoyable.’
Sam West
Student, University of Bath

‘I found your classes stimulating, useful, fun, helpful and well-directed and very inclusive of all members of the group. I learnt lots about the craft of writing and associated things such as pitching, getting published and so on. Your classes go at a cracking pace which is great – no time to get bored and lots packed in. I had to drive in from Dartmoor to Exeter through the winter for your course and it always felt worth it.’
Andrew Burton
Student, Writing Novels and Stories,
Isca College of Media Arts, Exeter

‘Maria’s teaching style is fun and relaxed, with an emphasis on actually writing rather than over-styling and editing. Reading work aloud was not, as with some other classes I’d attended a pressurised ‘once-a-term’ nightmare but a regular, relaxed part of the class. The class was supportive and constructive and I never felt bad for not turning out Shakespeare! This was great preparation for going onto the Creative Writing MA course at UEA.’
Laura Heggie
Student, Writing Novels and Stories,
Isca College of Media Arts, Exeter

‘Thank you so much for giving us such an excellent talk. It was packed full of just the right sort of tried and tested information, with the perfect balance of realism and enthusiasm.’
Emma Boniwell
Society of Authors

‘Maria McCarthy’s talk to the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference in 2005 was full of good advice. From how to approach your local paper and radio station to thinking of a great ‘hook’ for your story, she covered all the likely points that any author would need to know to succeed in getting that vital publicity. Her enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge of her subject were an inspiration to all the writers who attended her seminar.’
Catherine Jones
Vice Chair Romantic Novelists’ Association

'Maria is lively, reliable and very well-informed on driving issues. We love having her on the show.'
Annie Martin, producer, BBC Radio Wiltshire

'What Maria McCarthy doesn't know about the driving test isn't worth knowing.'
Charlie Crocker, presenter, BBC Radio Solent

Recommended Books

Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2008
published by A&C Black
The Writer's Handbook 2008
by MacMillan
Both these books contain contact details for agents, publishers and magazines.

The Novelists Guide by Margret Geraghty
published by Piatkus
A good, practical, guide to fiction writing techniques and packed with useful exercises.

The Artists' Way
by Julia Cameron
published by MacMillan
An unashamedly new-agey (but very effective) approach to releasing your creativity. A twelve week course which involves three pages of free writing a day, an ‘artist date’ (a special outing) every week and a range of writing exercises and tasks designed to shake you out of familiar patterns.

How To Get Published and Make a Lot of Money
by Susan Page
published by Piatkus
Despite the highly aspirational title, this is a useful guide. It’s aimed mostly at non-fiction writers but others can also benefit from the advice on finding an agent, being edited, getting the right book cover and maximising publicity.

From Pitch to Publication by Carole Blake
published by MacMillan
Carole Blake is a highly successful and respected agent and her advice on every aspect of the publication process is invaluable. I followed it to the letter when getting my own book deal.

The Greatest Freelance Writing Tips in the World by Linda Jones
If this book had been available at the start of my freelance career I’d have made a lot more money! Practical, focused advice which will benefit both beginners and experienced writers.

Wannabe a Writer? by Jane Wenham-Jones
published by Accent Press
Entertaining and informative, this book draws on the experiences of editors, agents, and writers to give a realistic and engaging idea of what writing for a living is actually like.