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Student of The Year 2020

Alice Vinten Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2020

A big thank you to all the students who sent in their stories for this Award. All of them had a unique tale-to-tell which were both inspirational and uplifting. This year there was a recurring theme of change and personal development in people’s lives, with writing acting as a catalyst or a way forward.

So, I’m delighted to announce that our winner is Alice Vinten who studied our Comprehensive Creative Writing Course. Alice was an officer in the London Metropolitan Police and consequently wrote a memoir of her time on the force. This was published last April and her writing career is starting to really take off. Not only has she been interviewed by the BBC she has also been commissioned as a crime and policing consultant by them as well.

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 Alice’s Story


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

Laura Ainsbro

Laura Ansbro

The Comprehensive Creative Writing Course gave Laura the confidence to take her writing and freelance career seriously. Read more...

Lisa Harrison

Lisa Harrison

Lisa struck out on her own after completing the Copywriting Course and now has an improved work-life balance making her, and her young son, much happier. Read more...

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

By following the Comprehensive Creative Writing Course properly Michael has found successes with this writing in just nine months of enrolling. Read more...

Cheryl Russell

Charlotte McFall

Thanks to the Comprehensive Creative Writing Course and her tutor's helpful comments, Charlotte found the confidence to send her work off to publishers and get published. Read more...


Alice Vinten Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2020Winner – Alice Vinten

Comprehensive Creative Writing Course



“All I knew when I joined up with The Writers Bureau is that I'd always wanted to write and never had the nerve to start. I've been an avid reader from an early age, and 'being a published writer' seemed like an unobtainable dream. The Writers Bureau opened my eyes to possibilities that I'd never considered before - writing for magazines, pitching for non-fiction books, and researching the writing industry.

“The tutor feedback and encouragement I received from The Writers Bureau’s course gave me the confidence to start pitching to magazines. I achieved my first published articles, Crafts Beautiful, Juno and Reloved magazines, as well as various online publications, and that spurred me on to create pitches for non-fiction book ideas. Without The Writers Bureau’s course I would never have gained the confidence to approach popular publications and editors. Once I had written for magazines, I created a new goal - to become a published author. My first craft tutorial book was published in March 2015 by New Holland Press, and since then I have gone on to author four more books.

“On the 18th April 2019, my memoir On the Line - Life and Death in the Metropolitan Police was published in paperback by Two Roads Books. It has since received excellent reviews from readers and crime writers alike - including Ian Rankin and Luke Jennings. As a direct result of my memoir I have since been commissioned by the BBC to consult on the production of a new crime drama. I have also been paid to appear at crime writing festivals and have enjoyed some excellent publicity, including appearing on BBC Breakfast and BBC London radio. I have also secured an excellent literary agent and finished my first crime novel. My goals for the future are to become published in crime fiction and to continue the success of my first real crime memoir with a second non-fiction crime book.

“My writing is going from strength to strength and it all started with The Writers Bureau. I am so excited to see what 2020 brings for my writing career.”

Alice's Books on Amazon

Laura Ansbro

Runner-up – Laura Ansbro

Creative Writing Course



“I started the Comprehensive Creative Writing Course to launch my career as a freelance writer. Having been out of employment for two years whilst my son was small, I was looking for a career change but had lost my self-confidence and had no idea what career I should pursue. Discovering The Writers Bureau inspired me to become a write.

“The Writers Bureau’s course gave me a focus that was entirely different from my daily life. As a full-time parent who had suffered from Post Natal Depression, I was feeling the strain of being 'on duty' twenty-four hours a day. Undertaking the Comprehensive Creative Writing Course gave me the opportunity to use a different part of my brain and to put myself first. It allowed me to feel challenged, but helped me to relax and feel refreshed.

“In practical terms, the course has helped me to seek out markets and approach editors. It has taught me that there are more avenues for writing than I had ever realised, and that no area of writing is too intimidating to try. The Writers Bureau has given me confidence in myself and my abilities, and given me skills such as plotting, developing structure, and characterisation. I completed the course just as my son started school; the perfect opportunity for my career to begin in earnest. I now earn from writing, and have the flexibility and joy of being self-employed.

“My total earnings for 2019 have been over £1,400, the majority of this earned since September when my son started school and I have had more time to work. I have been published in Gluten Free Heaven Magazine, several national newspapers, my own blog, the online platform Vocal Media, and on my clients' websites and blogs. My work has also been used on client leaflets and handouts. A charity I wrote about gave me a sack of flour as a thank you for all the enquiries they received as a result of my first article!

“I also attracted the attention of national TV, and was invited to appear live on ITV's This Morning with Holly and Phil in front of an audience of one million. Besides having transport, accommodation, and professional hair and make-up provided, this was a paid opportunity for which I received £100. For me, the icing on the cake was meeting Philip Schofield, whom I loved watching on television when I was younger.

“In October I was shortlisted for the Short Story Prize at my local Literary Festival. The shortlisted stories were judged by an acclaimed short story writer. I was awarded first runner up, winning a place on a short story writing course that begins in January 2020, a prize worth £450. My story was published on the Literary Festival website.

“The Writers Bureau course has given me the confidence to become self-employed - something I never thought I'd be brave enough to do - and I love the freedom, flexibility and variety that this brings to my life.

“The Comprehensive Creative Writing Course was challenging and enjoyable. My tutor was so kind, encouraging and helpful. Thank you, Writers Bureau, it has been an absolute pleasure. You've changed my life.”



Lisa HarrisonRunner-up – Lisa Harrison

Complete Copywriter Course



“As soon as my maternity leave finished, I went straight into a new, fast paced, corporate role. I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. I told myself I could handle this job and my then 10-month old baby. I was wrong.

“I had toyed with the idea of being a copywriter and doing The Writers Bureau’s course for a long time. Moving into that new business and starting that job gave me the kick I needed to enrol.

“I’ve grown in confidence since completing the course. I’ve worked in marketing and internal communication roles for large brands and copywriting was a skill that I had to develop. I loved it. However, I didn’t think I was good enough to go it alone and make it a career.

“The course tutors were so positive when giving me their feedback and seemed pleased with my attempts at the modules. I revelled in coming up with creative concepts then writing, editing and proofreading my own work.

“Imposter syndrome is real and the course made me realise that I do have what it takes to become a freelance copywriter.

“I’ve earned £1940 in just under six months working on a part-time basis. I’ve got three regular clients. I’ll always be grateful to them for taking me on despite being new to this profession.

“I’ve also been attending networking events and I’ve met some great people. I’ve been blown away by some of the supportive and strong women I’ve met. Stories of women setting up businesses that allow them to be a mum and have a career are common. I hope that as I become more established, I’ll be able to support other women to make the leap and be able to offer advice when they need it the most.

“I’d just like to say thanks. If it wasn’t for your lovely tutor giving me some really positive feedback, I wouldn’t have dared to try and become freelance copywriter and leave a full-time job.

“Since I’ve started out on my own, my quality of life has improved dramatically. I’m happier, my little boy is happier and I’m excited to grow my business over the next year.”


Michael SmithRunner-up – Michael Smith

Comprehensive Creative Writing Course



“The course has given me, not only the confidence, but the opportunity to experiment with different writing styles and techniques. The writing assignments have encouraged me to work outside of my comfort zone, and to write about subjects, and for markets, that I would never have considered. Not only has my grammar and sentence construction improved but the course has been instrumental in firing my imagination and getting me to look at things from a different perspective. Although it’s only been nine months since I started the course, I have earned £500 from writing and I’m awaiting further payments.

“My first success came in June when I had a filler article printed in Fortean Times magazine. Although I didn’t get paid it was a real confidence boost - especially as it was part of my second assignment. I first got paid for my writing in September when I was successful not once, but twice. I had an anecdote printed in Reader’s Digest and a letter printed in Take a Break. November and December have certainly been my most profitable months, and not just from a monetary point of view. In November I was amazed to find that I’d had two articles printed in Best of British magazine - one of which was submitted for assignment seven. I then had another article printed in their December issue. An article I submitted as part of assignment four was printed in Real People.

“I’m now looking to build on these achievements in the coming year and I’m already of to a good start with an article due to appear in the autumn edition of This England.”



Charlotte McFallRunner-up – Charlotte McFall

Comprehesive Creative Writing Course



“I considered the course for a while before I took the plunge as I don’t do much just for me. Being a full-time carer for my husband and autistic son had really knocked my confidence.

“The course helped me to fully focus on the sort of writing I wanted to do and the feedback from my tutor has been invaluable. It gave me the confidence to submit my work to publishers and agents.

“I’ve been published by Peoples Friend Pocket Novels with Could It Be Murder? and Ulverscroft Large Print with Second Chance with a Playboy, Could It Be Murder? and Murder in Castle Cove. Plus, I’ve had a short story printed in Woman’s Weekly. So far, I’ve earned £1,200.

“It is a wonderful feeling to see my books in the library and book shop. I never imagined this when I started the course.”













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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 2021 please click here.

You could walk away with the first prize of