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Animal Inspiration
with Nora Nadjarian

Full Price: £120 for all or £30 per session
Concession 1: £60 for all or £15 per session
Concession 2: £40 for all or £10 per session

4 Sessions starting January 25th

Wednesday 6-8pm (BST)


This course of 4 workshops is an exploration of the fascinating role animals have played and continue to play across different genres of writing. We will draw inspiration from animals which feature in literature in all their forms (wild, domestic, mythical) and from their unique characteristics. We will look at examples of anthropomorphism, metamorphosis and shapeshifting, as well as discuss the unpredictability of animals, with their underlying violence and savagery as a source of conflict in writing. 


You can sign up for all or just some of the weeks.

Suited to all skill levels and artists and writers of any genre.

January 25th: Amazing Animal Facts

In our first workshop we will be focusing on animal facts (encyclopaedic, literary and other) as well as descriptions of animal characteristics. We will see how these might inspire you and what they might add to your writing. We may even make up some of these characteristics and enter the realms of the surreal! We will look at examples from different genres where animals and birds feature as characters, relate in some way to humans, speak, or are used as metaphors.

February 22nd: Animal as Conflict

Adding an animal to a scene is a great source for conflict. What will the animal do in your writing, how will your character(s) respond? Animals shift the tone of a scene in a poem or story, adding an element of unpredictability. In our second workshop, we will be taking this conflict as a starting point to explore how animals can have a hold on our imagination: how we may see a beast as a threat, an enemy, a representative of fear.

March 22nd: Metamorphosis

What would a complete physical transformation mean for a human? How easy is it to let go of human traits and get accustomed to being a bird, insect, fish, amphibian…? Transformation can be seen as a metaphor for life change, sexual liberation, finding the self. Reconciling his human thoughts and feelings with his new, insect body was what Gregor Samsa faced in Kafka’s classic story and this is a theme which runs through so many contemporary ‘metamorphosis’ poems, stories and novels. We will look at a number of these, including Rachel Yoder’s ‘Nightbitch’. 


April 19th: Animals in Fable and Myth

In the last workshop of this series, we will explore the realm of human-animal connection. Many myths, fables and folk tales, explore relationships between humans and animals. People may talk with animals, fight them, even fall in love, or marry them. Sometimes animals perform services for humans, such as guide them through the underworld or help them complete tasks. Some myths, such as Native American mythologies, describe a time in the past when the boundaries between people and animals were less sharply drawn and beings freely changed form (shape shifting). 

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