Here's what our students think...

About our courses and events...

'May I take this opportunity to say how very much I enjoyed the first course. Katie did this brilliantly making it interesting, fun to do, thought provoking, engaging the whole group excellently.' Christian April 2019


''I did a recent course, The Plot Thickens, with Petra McQueen. What an excellent and engaging teacher. We looked at many aspects of novel writing, from penning the first paragraph, to a detailed look at plot, character and theme, to considerations of how to get published. There were many interesting discussions in class and time for useful, individual feedback on pieces of writing. I had only got as far as Chapter 6 of my novel when I started the course, but now feel much more confident to finish the work and produce something respectable. Lovely classmates (and even the odd visiting dog, a lovely pet of one of the other students) and a supportive, fun environment made the whole course so rewarding.' Katy July 2018

The set up of the microfiction course was efficient, the timing prompt and well managed. Homework was potentially demanding but the comments that came back from Helen were invaluable. Her responses were considerate, thoughtful and instructive. Philippa 2020


This course has been very enjoyable and I have learned a great deal about how I write and how I think about writing. Petra's style is relaxed but the lessons are very focused and relevant.' John Worland March 2018

'I really enjoyed my writing course. Petra is an excellent teacher and I loved being part of the group.' Rosie Tallowin March 2018

'Excellent course. The classes were very well prepared. Really good use of extracts from literature and really useful exercises set during the class and for homework. Good balance of formality and informality in the class. I feel I have made a huge step in my own creative writing journey.' Kate Standley March 2018


'I have just completed the third of Petra's writing courses - beginner's, short story and life writing.  The fact that I have done all three attests to how much I have enjoyed having this weekly fixture in my diary! Petra is an experienced teacher and right from the start I was impressed by how she got us to write and share our work in a gentle manner which felt safe and nurturing. Throughout the courses there was a good balance of learning and short bouts of writing practice.  You can do as much or as little as you like and the classes always felt supportive and fun.' Arlene Lynn.

I am so glad we have a resource like Petra here in our local community and can highly recommend these courses to anyone looking to dip their toe in to the world of writing and explore their creativity.'I've learnt so much from coming to these classes; they never fail to inspire and excite me.  It's been wonderful to read and analyse a range of authors and to workshop everyone's writing in such a positive and encouraging environment.  Petra's warmth and insight, as well as her constructive criticism have finally got me to the point of finishing a novel I've been working on for years - something I don't think I would've achieved without the boost in confidence both Petra and my fellow writers have given me.' Tracy Lee Newman.

'After many decades of dreaming and dismissing and dreaming again about my writing I finally figured that I really did have nothing to lose. So I googled “creative writing Colchester” and found Petra. And a week later I was sitting amongst a lovely bunch of people who like me shared a love of words and crafting stories.  The classes have been just what I needed – permission to write more (because of the homework) and improve my writing ‘muscles’. And also permission to feel good about how I write with lots of support and expertise from Petra and the other students in a gently collaborative environment. I’d recommend Petra’s classes to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the pleasure of story-telling.' Rachel Davidson-Foster.

'I have just completed beginners Creative Writing  with Petra and would thoroughly recommend this course to anybody interested in developing their writing skills. The course consisted of well prepared engaging and fun activities. I progressed from being a complete beginner ( I hadn't written creatively since I was at school, many years ago) to completing my own short story of over 4,000 words. I wasn't expected to do this but once I got the writing bug, I just wanted to continue, and also to put all that I had learnt each week into practice. Petra was always very encouraging.  I looked forward to the class each week, held in the atmospheric Nottage Library, down on Wivenhoe Quay. If you are thinking of joining one of Petra courses be prepared to be inspired to write.' Jennie Watkins.

'Petra's courses have taught me many techniques of writing, encouraged me to practice different styles and genres, enabled me to read my work critically, and crucially to feel that writing is an extremely enjoyable and worthwhile enterprise.' Ginny Waters.


'I just want to say thank you Petra for being such a brilliant teacher! I haven’t written since school and just wanted to give it a try. Each week I leave the class chatting and laughing, amazed at what Petra has managed to get us to do each week. We are always surprised by what we write and really enjoy our time. I personally  think  that Petra is a great “facilitator”.  In an unassuming way,  she guides us in the right direction and let us find our own flow. She pushes us to learn & explore new things in a safe space with humour.' Sury Bagenal.

'Petra McQueen is an extremely capable and knowledgeable team leader. Her courses are fun, interesting and, for anyone hoping to improve their writing skills, essential. I have been on two of her writing courses and can't wait to go on many more!' Peter Lillywhite.


'I have been writing short stories for some time but had become become stale and demotivated. Petra's inspirational writing exercises and encouragement have rekindled my creativity and enthusiasm and I am starting to produce work that I am proud of. During the sessions, she creates a supportive environment giving equal attention to each member of the group, allowing us to learn from each other. She gently, yet firmly, corrects errors in syntax and grammar, which we can tend to miss in our own writing. This is the best experience I have had for some time and I thoroughly recommend Petra's creative writing classes!' Sue Whittaker.


'It’s been transforming to have my writing appreciated and sensitively edited by a published writer. Petra's key suggestions about any changes, corrections, deletions etc. have always been perfectly judged and made the text I have written so much more effective and powerful ........all very motivational for me as an amateur writer.' Linda Leveridge.


'I started the creative writing process as a novice, the whole experience was a great one. Led by the deft, experienced hands of Petra McQueen it was a guided foray into the construction and creation of new territory. The group situation is great, sympathetic and a great sounding board.' Maz de Silver.


Petra McQueen has the gift of showing not telling her students. Some of us make heavy weather of learning from books but her tutorials are straight to the point and succinct. She knows when to let one down lightly if one is fragile, as many of us are - struggling with a steep learning curve - but given that one is making progress, she goes for the jugular to counter that latent complacency.' Bryan Thomas.


'Petra McQueen runs well organised courses in Creative Writing, pulling a small group of wannabe writers together, despite differences in experience, age and background. She uses progressive lesson plans as a basis for her classes, but is more than able to be flexible and allow the class participants to develop a theme they might become interested in. She facilitates a highly interactive class with skill, drawing us back to the point if we drift too far, encouraging those with less confidence, but allowing all to develop their potential. She is able to move students out of their writing comfort zones, encouraging us to try new genres or new points of view, without the exercises feeling threatening. Finally, she sets interesting, open ended tasks as homework without making those tasks too onerous. Sharing the results of these tasks becomes part of the next lesson, and allows feedback from the group as well as from Petra who manages these discussions skilfully.' Philippa Hawley.


I’ve been attending The Writer’s Company since the middle of 2018 and we are about to embark upon ‘The Plot Thickens’, where I may be brave enough to show Kate the notes for my novel, safe in the knowledge she will only laugh a little, and said laugh will be sympathetic rather than cruel. Kate has taught me to be brave, to write outside, under and through the lines.
Writing Company student

@KHWorsley makes you feel like anything is possible with your writing - do this!
Writing Company student

Kate is an excellent teacher and has facilitated some fascinating discussions. She is clearly very knowledgeable but also allows the students to discuss their own undertsanding, interpretations and opinions, before sharing the convential wisdom. This has made for some really enjoyable classes.

Kate is a gentle and insightful tutor who has brought a complex subject to life. She knows her subject very well and is a talented teacher.

Brilliantly insightful and knowledgeable.

Thoughtful and thought-provoking

An excellent tutor who has made the sessions both informative and enjoyable. I am very grateful for her guidance and support.

You certainly got my brain ticking'

'the sessions have been extremely enlightening'

'Wonderful sessions and conversation. I reveled in discussions of post-modernism – really my area and noone ever talks about it.'

'A sound teacher and a champion of the difficult novel. It's been lovely working with you.'

'An insightful introduction and highly enjoyable'

'Thankyou for all your knowledge and enthusiasm. It's been such a delight learning how to dismantle and rebuild.'