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Student of The Year 2018

Vicki Harwood Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2018

What makes a typical Writers Bureau student? Well there isn’t one. People of all ages, with a variety of educational, social and cultural backgrounds from countries all over the world join us.

This year’s Award winners show-case that diversity. As you will see each student has achieved very different things – setting up a publishing business, overcoming illness, gaining book deals, going onto further education and using their earnings to support a charity. An impressive lot, which made choosing a winner challenging.

So, I’m very pleased to announce that our winner this year is…

Elsye Harwood

After bravely rejecting a contract that was a poor deal from an American publisher Elsye decided to start her own company to publish her books. She has released eleven books to date and is hoping to help and publish other emerging writers in the future.

All the stories of our winners are inspirational. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading them and be inspired to give your ambitions a chance to become reality. If you do, it could be you picking up the £250 first prize next year!

Susie Busby Signature


Read Elsye’s Story


And the runners up, in no particular order, are:

Hazel Stainer

Hazel Stainer - UK

Unable to work due to illness Hazel took the Proofreading and Copy Editing course and is now using her skills in voluntary work.
Read more…

Susheela Srinivas

Susheela Srinivas - India

Even though already published Susheela took the Article Writing course to improve her writing skills. Her writing has gone from strength-to-strength and she has had over 120 articles published.
Read more…

James Annan

James Annan - Ghana

Because of James’ training on the Creative Writing course he has had a raft of articles published in Ghana. He was also awarded a partial scholarship to do an MA in Public Relations at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.
Read more…

Roz Watkins

Roz Watkins - UK

Roz is breaking big in the Crime thriller world but her Writing for Competitions course gave her the confidence to give her writing a go.
Read more…


Vicki Harwood Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2018Winner – Elsye Harwood – UK

Comprehensive Creative Writing Course


“I chose to undertake a course with The Writers Bureau because I’d come to a standstill with my writing. I had little idea how to market myself and wanted to grow and develop as a writer by exploring other avenues for my creativity.

“The course opened my eyes to so many different types of writing. I’d only written fiction before and it hadn’t even crossed my mind to write a factual book, but as part of the course I had to plan the synopsis of a non-fiction book whilst also providing detailed chapter descriptions. Suddenly my years as a teacher in secondary school came in useful and another avenue of creativity opened up to me. I’m in the process of preparing to send this off to the editor of a series of educational books I researched as part of the assignment. I’d never have considered a venture like this if I hadn’t undertaken the course nor would I have known how to approach editors. This guidance has been invaluable.

“Yet these benefits pale into insignificance when I consider how instrumental the course and my tutor have been to my career not only with writing but in the legal aspects of the profession as well. Thanks to the promotion assignments I sent off one of my books to a publisher in America. They immediately wrote back wanting the full manuscript and a month later offered me a publishing contract. I was delighted and excited that my first book had been accepted. I sent the contract to my tutor for his input and I’m so glad I did. After looking at the contract he very gently advised me to join the Writers' Guild as they could offer me free legal advice. He was careful not to spoil my happiness but thanks to his huge experience he knew the deal I was being offered wasn’t a very good one.

“To cut a long story short, I ended up rejecting their offer and setting up my own publishing company, Lilian White Publishing. The advice in the assignments on self-publishing and promotion were incredibly useful and continue to be so. To date I have published eleven novels and three short stories with many more already written and awaiting publication.

“I still work full time as a teacher but most of my spare time now is taken up with publishing my own work. This is now my priority. My husband and I do all the formatting and create our own covers ourselves. We do all our own work, and only pay for a professional copy editor.

“Due to the fact that I concentrated on my own company, I didn’t really send out too many pieces of writing. Though before I became distracted I had three stories published by other companies. My story Mrs Pink Calling won the Kishboo writing competition and was a runner up in another online competition. The Department, a science fiction story, came third in a competition run by Dark Matter, another online magazine.

“My dream is to help other writers to be published by assisting those who struggle with the technical aspects such as formatting manuscripts or cover design. Ideally in time I’d like Lilian White to publish other authors. The plan is to offer people a fair deal which wouldn’t involve them signing over their rights or a huge percentage of their sales.

“My tutor and The Writers Bureau changed my life. It’s easy to say that but the proof is in the number of books I’ve published through my own company. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do or even considered doing if I’d signed that contract. Thanks to the course I have full control of my work and can write confidently in a multitude of different fields. It certainly opened my eyes to the industry and equipped me with the confidence and skills to have a go at anything.”

Elsye's author page on Amazon.

Elsye's webpage which has a blog incorporated into it.


Hazel Stainer

Runner-up – Hazel Stainer - UK

Proofreading and Copy Editing Course

“I have been unable to work since finishing university due to illness. The course helped me to discover something I enjoyed and has given me a greater understanding about the way the English language works. I am more confident in my writing and feel able to give advice or make corrections in other people’s work. Although I’m not well enough to seek a full-time job, The Writers Bureau course has given me hope for the future.

“A friend is currently writing a children’s book, which I have proofread, and has asked that I help her with all future work.

“My biggest achievement this year has been becoming the voluntary magazine editor for Wanstead United Reform Church. I do not attend the church myself, however, a friend asked me if I’d consider taking the role. With the confidence The Writers Bureau course had given me, I said yes and have recently completed my second issue of the magazine. It enabled me to use my proofreading and editing skills as well as my writing skills.

“Sometimes I feel sad that life seems to be passing me by. I have to remind myself that I’m only 25 and that I still have time to achieve my goals. I have overcome so many hurdles already and, although I have more to conquer, I am a step closer to having a successful life. I may not be there yet, but The Writers Bureau course has, at least, pointed me in the right direction.”


Susheela SrinivasRunner-up – Susheela Srinivas - India

Article Writing Course


“I took up writing three years ago, despite a demanding day job. ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,’ said Lao Tzu. In the last two years, my part-time writing has grown from strength to strength - more than 120 articles in print, a column and now on the threshold of writing a book.

“The WB played a significant role in this magnificent journey. I was already published when I started the course; however, I wanted to grasp the nuances of the writing world. The course opened new vistas in my writing prowess. Thanks to the invaluable inputs and insightful remarks from my tutors (I consider myself lucky to have been guided by two experts) I thoroughly enjoyed the exciting atmosphere of the virtual classroom. The progressively challenging assignments weeded me out of my comfort zone and tapped my versatility helping me experiment with a range of topics.

“With my engineering background, I found my strength in writing science, space and astronomy articles: with more than half a dozen cover stories which received good feedback. I can proudly say I am one among the popular science writers in India now. Also, my penchant for yoga comes across in my column for an Australian monthly. That apart, my contributions are an eclectic mix of health and wellness, eco-friendly living, travel, culture and humour. Also, my contributions have appeared in the reader’s spaces of RD and LPI, India.

“The supplementary income from my part-time writing — which was £1000 this year — helped me fulfil another aspect close to my heart: giving back to society. In the past year, I could support the needs of a few hearing-impaired children. Now I can afford and plan for a seed fund to help the organisation and continue this support for a long time.

“With a website on the anvil, I progress step-by-step and look forward to the promise and thrill of amazing outcomes ahead. I look back in gratitude to WB for steering the course of this journey.”


James AnnanRunner-up – James Annan – Ghana

Comprehensive Creative Writing Course

“Since I enrolled on this writing programme, my writing skills have improved immensely. I can boast of several articles and features published in national, private and online websites, including: The Daily Graphic, Ghana Times, Finder, Weekly Spectator, Telegraph, the Insight, Modern Ghana, Ghana Web, News Ghana, TV3 Network website, Government of Ghana Website, Graphic Online, My Joy Online, Obuasi Today and The Finder Online. In the course of the programme I have earned a total of US$500 as freelance writers are not paid in Ghana.

“In the future I hope to continue towards nation-building by way of producing informative, educational and inspiring write-ups covering a wide range of social issues.

“My writing abilities, with the assistance of my tutors, have won mea  partial scholarship to pursue an MA in Public Relations at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. I will finish this programme in 2018 and I will possibly apply for a PhD. This to me is a great achievement and I share the credit with The Writers Bureau.”


Roz WatkinsRunner-up – Roz Watkins - UK

Writing for Competitions Course


“I hadn’t done any creative writing since school, although I’d always wanted to. I didn’t have any clear ambitions other than to give it a go.

“The course gave me the confidence to think that it might be worth pursuing my writing.

“I have a three-book deal with HQ (Harper Collins) for my detective series set in the Peak District. The first book – The Devil’s Dice – is out in March 2018 for which I got a substantial advance. It’s also been optioned by ITV for 18 months!

“German rights for two books were bought in a six-figure pre-empt by Fischer.”










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To celebrate the success and achievements of our students we are pleased to run our annual Writer of the Year Award. First prize is £250 and there are four equal runners-up prizes of £50 each.

We hope you enjoy reading about all of this year's winners. They each have a unique experience of developing their writing through the course, proving that The Writers Bureau home-study methods really are tailor-made to meet each individual's own ambitions.

If you are a student of The Writers Bureau and would like to enter this competition for 2019 please click here.

You could walk away with the first prize of

Annemarie Munro Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2022

"I have seen my writing journey as an adventure: What can I write? What am I best at? What new aspects of writing can I discover and contribute towards? I have welcomed the wide range of modules covering different types of writing, challenging me to try new aspects in style and content, pushing me gently outside my comfort zone with encouragement.

"I signed up for the course in December 2020 as a Christmas present to myself and I started the first module in January 2021. I have had eight pieces published: three paid earning £1080 and a star letter where I won a £250 hotel voucher."

Annemarie Munro - Writers Bureau Student of the Year 2022

Read Annemarie's full story

Free Creative Writing Course Prospectus

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

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