Thursday evenings – eight weeks
Starts: Thursday May 21
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Venue: St Luke’s Centre, 90 Central Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 8AJ
Equipment needed: Laptop computer or tablet
Class size: 16 maximum
Paul Gogarty (former BBC 1 Holiday Programme presenter and Chief Travel Writer for the Telegraph) shares the secrets of travel writing and getting your work published.
This interactive, workshop style course helps students prepare a high quality travel feature to pitch to editors.
Guest tutor: Sarah Barrell, formerly Travel Editor at The Independent on Sunday, and now Associate Editor at National Geographic Traveller.
Paul Gogarty was Chief Travel Writer at the Daily Telegraph for over a decade, presented BBC1’s Holiday Programme for three years, and was travel editor at Woman and Home and Cosmopolitan. He has written for virtually all the UK’s national newspapers, and for innumerable magazines.
Sarah Barrell is Associate Editor at National Geographic Traveller and was previously Travel Editor at The Independent on Sunday. She continues to write for The Independent and Independent on Sunday, Telegraph, Guardian, Scotsman, Evening Standard, and magazines including Wanderlust, Marie Claire, Telegraph Ultra Travel, and ABTA.
Will Hide is a hugely experienced travel writer whose work has appeared in The Times, The Guardian, The Express, The FT, The Mail on Sunday and countless other publications. Will has also presented television features on the BBC’s Fast Track programme, and the Travel Channel.
Week one: The travel business
This week we explore how the travel journalism business works, what editors want and pitfalls to avoid. We’ll brainstorm the skills and qualities needed to be a freelance travel writer and students will then analyse in some detail the Guardian’s travel section before coming up with three strong travel ideas of their own. Tutor: Paul Gogarty
Week two: Writing that sells
We now learn how to get started in both the business and on a full feature-length article. We will tackle head on the Catch 22 of travel journalism; no one wants you until you’re published, so how the hell do you ever get published? The answer – write an unsolicited feature. So we explore the crucial opening paragraphs to travel features and students get to practice various attention grabbing opening devices. Tutor: Paul Gogarty
Week three: Feature writing
We start our session with students pitching new ideas to the group in the form of stand-firsts, and critiquing each other’s ideas. We will go on to explore what kind of notes we need to take when out and about researching our feature. Having practised openings in the previous week, students will also now work on three writing exercises designed to help them vary pace, tone and intimacy in the body of their features. Tutor: Paul Gogarty
Week four: What works
In preparation for producing the first full draft of our travel feature, students will select and read out extracts from travelogues and the group will discuss what we can learn from our mentors and what we might be able to utilise in our own features. Students will also have an opportunity to cut and edit an existing feature, picking out the most important elements that make it sellable. Tutor: Paul Gogarty
Week five: Getting published in national newspapers
Will Hide, freelance press and TV travel journalist, explains what the media is looking for from travel writers, and how to target your story ideas at the right media outlets and the right editors. Tutor: Will Hide
Week six: Writing shorts, and submitting your feature
Students will look at various travel news snippets and practice writing their own. We will discuss sharpening our individual style and finding our own voice by reading out our second chosen excerpts from travelogues. Finally we will complete our full-length travel features, ready to send off to our chosen magazine or newspaper. Tutor: Paul Gogarty
Week seven: Refining your feature, and being critical
Having had feedback on their first drafts from Paul, students will now work in pairs and groups, critiquing and helping each other to improve their feature. We will also discuss the difficulties of writing a highly critical travel feature, and the students will embark on a written exercise, putting this into practice. Tutor: Paul Gogarty
Week eight: Pitching stories to travel magazines
Sarah Barrell, deputy travel editor at National Geographic Traveller, shares the secrets of what commissioning editors are looking when journalists are pitching stories. She offers invaluable tips about how to market your work, how to approach editors and how to get noticed. Tutor: Sarah Barrell