The I EACWP Teachers Training Course: Syllabus

From the 10th to the 13th of July, 2017, the EACWP launches its first European Course for Teachers of Creative Writing take place in Normandy (France). Enrollments are already open for worldwide participante. Please fill our registration form before June the 30th.

Teaching approaches when writing from the real

General Guidelines

Each of the three days of the course will be divided in two separated sessions: morning and afternoon. During the mornings, each teacher will lead his/her working session. Each working session will develop a different subject —from both a theoretical and practical approach— dealing with the main topic Writing from the real and the pedagogical considerations. All the working sessions will be focused on pedagogical training and guidelines to empower the participants to develop their own teaching interests and new possibilities.

During the afternoons, participants will be invited to present a pedagogical sample of their teaching work in order to receive feedback from the teachers of the course as well as from their colleagues. Participants are encouraged to try out new approaches and take risks. It is not an evaluation but a constructive laboratory.

Ultimately, the full bibliography along with some other support materials will be provided by the teachers in their corresponding working sessions.

Workshop 1: Out of the Ivory Tower

By Alain André (Aleph-Écriture / France)

Writing from the real is as up-to-date now as it had been out-dated for those forty years. Biopics, travel and inquiry narratives about criminal affairs or historical events are everywhere. Fiction and autobiography do not even stand as safe shelters anymore. This is not always a comfortable situation for creative writing students as well as for their teachers —a lot of us feel in easier circumstances with their inner self and favourite books.

The workshop suggests that you let come into view some of the links you establish with the outer world. What happens with our writing when we get out of the ivory tower? Participants will be invited to write a chronicle of the day and make up your minds about one best-beloved or hated topic. It might be the first workshop in a session about Writing about the real.

Following the workshop, our sharing will derive from the participants’ questions. The teacher will consider the ways of writing from the real in a society that is a rather democratic one – what is the deal? Are we supposed to be samourais, militants or Buddhist monks? Humbler pedagogical questions will follow: What can we offer to our students? Which contents and (documentary) tools may be worked out? Which dynamics and prompts?


  • Real and the risk of writing.
  • Chronicles: from a topic to questions and inquiries (to get your students involved).
  • Questions and subjects.
  • Documentary tools to appeal to the outer world: about the writer’s accessory jobs (archivist, interviewer, photographer, video-producer, perch-man…).
  • Non-fiction narratives of different kinds: from faits divers or criminal affairs, from historical events, from personal events, about places, about social or institutional realities, biographies…

General Methodology

The working session consists in two parts: a workshop, in order to help everybody go straight into our topic, then a lecture. The workshop is an active and interactive one (the teacher being of the socio-constructivist style). You write and you share within small groups and in the whole group: questions, thoughts and texts. The lecture allows the teacher to introduce some aspects of his approach of writing from the real and the way he teaches it in a 24 hour long hour session. Afterwards, we will share about the different steps in such a workshop (work in and out of the classroom, feedbacks). It is open to any questions about our topic.

Workshop 2: Travel Writing

Leen van den Berg (Creatief Schrijven / Belgium)

According to one of the oldest travel writers, Herodote, other worlds, other cultures function as mirrors that help us understand better ourselves and our culture. In other words: by what he experiences abroad, the traveller is confronted with himself. So travel writing is always writing from the real. The genre has been popular over ages. But what makes a travel story interesting? Is it the way it describes unknown destinations and cultures, with beautiful metaphors? Or are the most interesting travel stories those with a main character that evolves because of what he experiences during his journey? Travel writing is not about just writing anecdotes. It is about lifting the story up from anecdotical to universal. Travelling with an open mind means that you never come back as the same person you were before.


  • Brief history of travel writing as a genre.
  • Different sub-genres in travel writing.
  • Travel writing: Essay? Fiction? Autobiography?
  • A specific approach to bring your students in contact with the practice of travel writing.

General Methodology

During the workshop participants will experience how to get started, how to find the common thread of their travel story and how to structure their story in function of their main theme. Afterwards, we will discuss the applied methodology, the different steps we take during the entire workshop and how to give feedback to the students, taking into account the characteristics and features of the travelling genre.

Workshop 3: Finding the Human

By Gale Burns (Kingston University / UK)

How can you write so a human is revealed? How can you set up a classroom to maximise human learning and understanding? Building on your own biography as a person and as a writer, we will examine how the ‘me’ can be portrayed in writing: the individual, the person in relation to others and the many identities we all possess. We will look at how recent experimentation in ‘writing from the real’ has made a contribution to biography, and look at hidden aspects of the human, the unconscious or unknown, developing this work to study the challenge of writing about others.

At the same time, we will employ a range of learning approaches that can be used in the teaching of creative writing, key concepts such as effective listening and feedback, gaining participation by all in a group, and the dynamics of the creative writing group.


  • The challenge of the classroom.
  • What a human brings to writing.
  • How do humans learn?
  • The role of listening and attention.
  • Writing You.
  • Writing about others.
  • Writing from the real.
  • A chance to write.

General Methodology

The course session will be participatory, with some lecture input of key concepts. There will be exercises and small group work, and participants will be asked to write creatively. We will look at texts that contribute to the subject, using them to push the limits of our own writing. While studying the area of Finding the Human, we will also examine the learning principles of each stage of the work, so that students can use different approaches when they are working with a group in the development of their own teaching.

About Tutors

As a writer, Alain André published novels (Rien que du bleu ou presque, Denoël, 2000; La Passion, dit Max, Thierry Magnier, 2007), short stories, translations and several essays —three of them about creative writing and its teaching (concise bibliography below): Babel heureuse, Syros, 1989, I-Kiosque, 2011; Écrire l’expérience, with M. Cifali, P.U.F., 2007, 2011; Devenir écrivain, Leduc-s, 2007, 2018). A former French literature teacher, he founded the French writing school Aleph-Écriture. As the pedagogical director of the school, he supervises the yearly programmes and teaches narrative fiction and autobiographical writing. He is in charge of the “open creative writing workshop” column in the collaborative magazine L’Inventoire. As an EACWP member, he organized the first International Pedagogical Conference in Paris (2012).

Leen van den Berg was born in Brussels. Since 1997 she is teaching creative writing at two art academies in Belgium (Hasselt and Haasrode, Louvain). She also gives creative writing workshops in Capetown (South-Africa) and Paramaribo (Suriname). She is training teachers in creative writing, commissioned by the Flemish writers platform and organization Creatief Schrijven. Leen is active as a writer for adults and children. As an historian and psychoanalyst she is especially interested in writing historical and psychological novels. Her most recent novel is a psychological story in the colonial setting of the Congo of king Leopold II. She is convinced that, whatever fiction you write, you always write somehow from the real. Some of her books were translated into French. Her illustrated book The big question won a White Raven and was translated into 12 languages. The first translation of her most recent novel Son in Congo will appear in the next months.

Gale Burns is a poet in residence at both the Sydenham Arts Festival and Kingston University, where he has teaches undergraduate and postgraduate creative writing. He convenes the long-running Shuffle poetry series in London, and was a 2012 Hawthornden Fellow. He is widely published with three pamphlets and a collection is due this year from Eyewear. His work has been translated into French (in the Sorbonne Literary Magazine), Romanian, Slovenian and Arabic , and he often performs abroad, most recently at a festival in Romania. He is the Vice-President of the European Association of Creative Writing Programmes and also practices as a therapeutic counsellor, working in the UK National Health Service.

More information

Enrollments are already open for worldwide participante. Please fill our registration form before June the 30th. Please contact Lorena Briedis: