Hothouse Writing Course

The greatest music journalist in Britain teaches his Hothouse Project JOURNALISM AS CRAFT AND ARTWelcome to Charles Shaar Murray’s Hothouse Project, a part-time eight-week journalism as creative writing course of evening classes in Camden, north London, presented by Storm Books in association with Aaaargh! Press. A chance to learn from “the rock writers’ rock writer”, award-winning author, and legendary journalist in person.





Standard price £345

“The rock writers’ rock writer” began his career as a star critic on the NME. Charles Shaar Murray’s Kate Bush review is read back to him on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

Are you happy with your writing? Great.

Alternatively … do you feel that you have it in you to write more effectively, more engagingly, more inventively, more crisply, more authoritatively and more distinctively than you do now?

The explosion of the blogosphere means that there are more writers out there than ever before. So why should anybody read your work rather than somebody else’s? How do you make YOUR writing stand out from the background cacophony of everybody else in print or online?

What everybody wants is a unique voice, with a unique point of view expressed through a unique use of language. Don’t sell yourself short because you haven’t found your way to the heart of each and every subject you address, or because you express yourself in flat, dull prose that doesn’t really feel like YOU when you read it back.

Charles Shaar Murray will help you to learn how to raise your game, and develop a style that will have your readers caring about what you have to say and enjoying the way you say it … and to keep them coming back for more.

If it’s in you to write like an angel – even like an angel in a bad mood – Hothouse is designed to bring it out.

Charles Shaar Murray says

At the invitation of Storm Books, I’ll be teaching an eight-week journalism course in which I’ll be passing on a few things learned from some of the best editors in the business, from talented fellow writers and – by trial and error – in actual journalistic and critical combat.
What I’m offering is a master class in journalism as creative writing, both craft and art. Inspired by George Orwell’s desire, expressed in his celebrated essay Why I Write, to ‘make political writing into an art’, I set out to approach all forms of journalistic endeavour as an art … if only because it’s a lot more fun, for both writer and reader, to render each and every assignment — from the capsule review to the extended ‘think piece’, from the profile to the ‘colour piece’ — as elegant, entertaining, witty, provocative, stimulating and surprising as it could possibly be.
I’ll be including coaching on constructing feature articles, interviewing, reviewing as a creative response to the artefact — be it book, movie, play, record or anything else — in front of you; working as a columnist; being on both sides of the camera or microphone in broadcast journalism: ie how to be a competent interviewer AND how to be a competent interviewee. And assorted aspects of practical professionalism.
If I miss out on an assignment, I want it to be because one of you got it instead.

The Hothouse Project Journalism as Craft and Art Writing Course is a part-time eight-week series of two-hour evening classes. The next one commences Spring 2015 at the Emmanuel Church in West Hampstead NW6.

For writers, editors, beginners, veterans wanting to raise their game, bloggers and the mildly curious.

* Top coaching from an award-winning author and legendary journalist
* Assignments and personal assessment within the class
* Limited to a small class of 15 to ensure individual attention
* A range of skills covered including feature articles, reviewing, interviewing, comment pieces, column-writing
* Being on both sides of the camera or microphone in broadcast journalism
* Assorted aspects of practical professionalism
* Students’ best work samples will be published on Storm Books website and archived

The 360 degree writing skills you will have added to your abilities on completion of the Hothouse Project Writing Course will include a summary of how-to-do-it in Week 7 — the view from the sub-editor’s desk and a really useful legal overview — from Aaaargh! Press publisher, author, academic, and former Tribune editor & New Statesman deputy editor, Paul Anderson.

Paul Anderson Hothouse Project journalism

Paul Anderson teaches the view from the sub’s desk and an overview of journalists and the law.

Over the years, Murray has interviewed many cultural icons including, among others, Miles Davis, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Bob Marley, Pete Townshend, Joe Strummer (and the rest of The Clash), Johnny Rotten (and the rest of the Pistols), George Harrison, JG Ballard, Alan Moore, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, William Gibson, Patti Smith, Jimmy Page, Frank Zappa, Michael Moorcock, Elton John, The Ramones, Muddy Waters, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Spike Lee, Stan Lee and Christopher Lee.

“front-line cultural warrior” and “original gunslinger” Independent on Sunday

“The artistry of [Crosstown Traffic] matches that of its subject” Nick Tosches

“The Johnny Cash of rock journalism”  Phil Campbell – Motorhead

“Next time you’re in Chicago, I’ll cook for you myself”   Buddy Guy

“I’d go if I lived in London … if I could do it all over again, at age 17 … this is how I’d do it. CSM is the Yoda of music writing” Julie Burchill

“One of the top 3 or 4 music journalists there’s ever been in this country.” Alan Moore

“Charles Shaar Murray was always the best read” Tony Visconti

“The New Musical Express was one of the big things in my life … there was outrageous writing by Charles Shaar Murray, Nick Kent and, later, Julie Burchill — what they were writing was unbelievable! The NME was so important for lonely suburban kids. It was a lifeline” Danny Boyle


“Charles’ course is personal, packed with anecdote, caters to the individual and is so helpful for anyone brushing up their journalistic skills or branching out into different types of writing. 5 shiny gold stars from me – I’d do the course again just for fun to be honest!” Juliet Rossetti

“I thought your course was ‘write on’! You polished and perfected everyone’s writing style. I felt privileged to have been coached by you. You imparted a lot of knowledge. The course was well structured and more importantly, good fun. Would I recommend it? Absolutely.” Tessa Christian

“For anyone interested in the processes of writing and assessing creative journalism, Charles Shaar Murray’s Hothouse Project courses are essential!” David Hodson

More student testimonials

A few thoughts about rock criticism …

Standard price £345 

Dates: Tuesday evenings for eight weeks commencing 30th September 2014.
Time: 7-9pm.
Price: £345 via PayPal. (Cheque payments by arrangement only.) Limited to 15 places.
Contact: Email for information and to book a place
Venue: Emmanuel Church, Lyncroft Gardens, West End Green, West Hampstead, London NW6 1JU Conveniently located in the heart of West Hampstead village on West End Green.

The best journalism course in London: Charles Shaar Murray's Hothouse Project Journalism as Craft and Art, Camden.

Charles Shaar Murray teaches the first Hothouse course. West Hampstead.

Transport: Jubilee Line, Overground and Thameslink to West Hampstead station. Buses: 139, 328, C11 to West End Green, West Hampstead. Parking available locally from 6.30pm.
Map: here
If you bring a laptop, please make sure it is fully charged up.
For enrolment and more information about The Hothouse Project, please email: and write “Hothouse” in the subject field.
Coursework from the students in the first course can be found here.
More student testimonials here.
Private One-To-One lessons with Charles Shaar Murray also available.


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