the fiction expert

john murray mentor to novelists

The Booker-longlisted novelist John Murray, now based in West Yorkshire, has been teaching Fiction Writing for over 30 years. He has worked with groups of all sizes, and regularly with solo individuals, offering both structured group work and intensive one to one fiction coaching, to those writing novels, short stories and autobiographies.

John can offer you adaptable and tailored expert help whether you are:

  • an absolute beginner or a published author.
  • part of a writing group, or alternatively an individual looking for exclusive solo tuition.

Just let him know your provisional requirements, and then he will advise you on a tailored course designed especially for you or your writing group, your school class, or your FE college.

John also offers detailed manuscript assessment, much of which can be done remotely using email and Skype. Or if you prefer, AND ADHERING TO SOCIAL DISTANCING you and he  can meet up at his home in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, to discuss your work at length, in a face to face tutorial. The written assessment will include among other things an indication of how to get your work to publication standard

I Can Help With:

Residential Writing Courses

John has taught regularly at the prestigious Arvon Foundation (founded by the poet Ted Hughes) as well as Madingley Hall, Cambridge University, and for 6 years he ran successful residential fiction courses on the Greek island of Kythnos

Manuscript Assessments

For over 30 years, John has been offering expert manuscript assessment, meaning detailed and precise criticism of novels and stories and autobiographies. Note that if you are looking for detailed fiction assessment, it may also be combined with half-day or full-day tutorials, either face to face with John or by Skype

Colleges, Schools, Writing Groups, Festivals

John has tutored degree level Creative Writing in an art college, as well as via university extension courses. He has run numerous writing workshops in both primary and secondary schools, regularly training the school staff in the same teaching skills. John has frequently led both weekly and day-long workshops with large and small writing groups, in community centres, libraries and FE colleges. He has also conducted workshops at literary festivals in Durham, Lincoln and Darlington

John Murray, Author​

John has published 12 acclaimed novels and was longlisted for the Booker Prize with Jazz Etc. He has had Books of the Year in the Independent and Spectator, and a Book of the Week in the Daily Telegraph. He has also won the Dylan Thomas Award for short stories (previous winners include Rose Tremain). His short stories have appeared in the London Review of Books, London Magazine, the Literary Review, Stand Magazine and the Irish Press. For 12 years, he and David Almond (author of Skellig) co-edited the fiction magazine Panurge, which John founded with Northern Arts and Arts Council funding. Panurge specialised in promoting the work of gifted new writers, including the previously unpublished Patrick McCabe (Butcher Boy) and Julia Darling (Crocodile Soup). He was also instigator of the successful Cumbrian Fiction Surgery scheme, which helped launch the careers of hit novelist Clare Sambrook and Random House children’s writer Gareth Thompson. From 2007-2010 he was inaugural Royal Literary Fellow at the University of Lancaster

one of my favourite writers

DJ TAYLOR, The Guardian

one of the best comic writers we’ve got, the natural heir to Flann O Brien

JONATHAN COE, The Observer


Once you’ve decided how John can help you, whether you are an individual, a writing group, or an organisation, just email him with your provisional requirements. You and he will take it from there, using phone or Skype if necessary, to work out a precise and effective plan.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure exactly what you need, you and John can discuss that at length, and he will give you the best professional advice he can. John has been teaching fiction for over 30 years and has developed a versatile and adaptable approach, specifically designed to help you with your precise and possibly unique needs.

(Note that he is based in the attractive small town of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. It is handy for any writer living in the north of England, the Midlands and South Scotland, should they wish for a face to face tutorial with John).


The Fiction Expert - What's your story
The Fiction Expert - Blog


John has been writing a highly acclaimed blog, Wild Days in Greece, since 2014, which has hundreds of posts and which is read all over the world. The posts are about everything under the sun: novels, films. TV series, travel, politics, recipes, ventriloquists, schooldays in his native Cumbria etc. The blog archive also features his latest original short stories, as well as 2 entire new novels, Passion for Beginners and The Lawless Book of Love.


John charges £1 per page reading fee and everything else will cost you £40 an hour.

Example, 30 pages of your novel or stories or memoir, costs £30 reading fee plus 2 hours to write the detailed report. Total = £110.

Example, a full 300-page novel costs £300 reading fee plus 6 hours to write the report. Total = £540. Add an optional 2-hour face to face tutorial or Skype, is an extra £80. New total £620.

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