THE STRATFORD literary scene has inspired a new chapter in the life of a bestselling author.
Spy novelist Matthew Dunn relocated to Stratford last year and, for the first time, is planning to use his experience to help aspiring writers in the area.
The author has had 14 novels globally published including those from the popular series Spycatcher and, more recently, his Ben Sign Mystery collection.
And now, the 53-year-old wants to support the town’s creative community further by inspiring budding writers.
He explained: “The vast majority of what I’ve learnt has been on-the-job and by establishing what works and what doesn’t.
“When I started out, no one took me to one side and gave me tips on what to do. That would have been useful. So, I’d really like to help aspiring authors, or those who simply want to write a story for pleasure.
“I love books – readers are my kind of people. I’m passionate about people reading and that can only happen if creatives write. I want to help support that wonderful dynamic.”
But his new venture has not distracted him from his own writing projects. The former MI6 field operative revealed he is working on the next installment of his Ben Sign series which is set largely in Afghanistan.
As a keen globetrotter, Matthew added his new Stratford location had whet his travelling appetite – often channeled into his writing.
He added: “As a writer, for me Stratford is a superb place to live. I need civility and peace to write my novels, but I also need energy, artistry, passion, buzz, history, multiculturalism, and access to other ‘happening’ places.
“Stratford is in the centre of a figurative compass – from here I can travel to all parts of the UK. At heart, I’m an adventurer. Figurative or real, compasses are very important to me!
“While residing in beautiful Stratford, my mind is permanently globetrotting.”
The novelist said the classes – held at Stratford Playhouse – would be aimed at anyone with an interest in storytelling in any genre.
He added: “Though there are plenty of ‘creative writing’ courses around, I’m very cognisant that my course is highly unusual, given who I am and because I’m coming out of the shadows, so to speak.
“My hopes for the course are that I open a magical door in people’s lives.
“My aim for the course is that every attendee writes a novel. After completing the course, it is very possible that my attendees become bestselling authors. I will support that possibility in every way, on and off the course.”
The six-week course will run on Wednesdays from January 26, 5pm-7pm. It costs £180 per person.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for booking enquiries.