The Secret Life of Novels | Free Word

6 June 2019
18:30 20:30-

Presented by:
The Literary Consultancy


Three novelists shine light on the secret life of novels, from first idea to final draft.

The creative process is often presented as mysterious, even alchemical. Novels arrive on bookshelves as if they just appeared whole and perfect. What is kept hidden from view? And what is the effect of keeping that process – the scenes from the cutting room floor, the false starts, the dead ends and failed drafts – hidden? In TLC’s Secret Life of… event series, we aim to part the curtain to reveal writing’s unseen components.

In the third iteration of TLC’s acclaimed event series, initially launched as part of Free Word Centre’s ‘This is Private’ season, we invite three authors at the top of their game to speak about their creative process, creatively. From overarching structures to the minutiae of notebooks, graphs, sketches and scribbles, we lift the lid on creativity itself and get under the skin of the most private part of the writing process.

The theme for our March event is ‘books across disciplines’. Our guest writers will be novelists Will Eaves, Susmita Battacharya, and Joseph Scapellato.

6 June 2019
18:30 - 20:30
£16 / £12 concession (students, under 30s & 65+)

The Literary Consultancy


Will Eaves

Novelist, poet and teacher

Will Eaves was Arts Editor of the Times Literary Supplement from 1995 to 2011 before moving to Warwick, where he is Associate Professor in the Writing Programme. His novel-in-voices The Absent Therapist (CB Editions) was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2014. The Inevitable Gift Shop (CB Editions), a collection of poetry and prose, was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry in 2016. He is the joint winner, with Alex Pheby, of the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize for his latest book, Murmur, also shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize.

Susmita Battacharya


Susmita Bhattacharya is an Indian-born British writer. Her novel, The Normal State of Mind, was published in 2015 by Parthian (UK) and Bee Books (India) in 2016 and was long listed for the Words to Screen Prize, Mumbai Association of Moving Images (MAMI) Film Festival in 2018. Her collection of short stories, Table Manners, was published by Dahlia Publishing in 2018. She teaches contemporary fiction at Winchester University and also facilitates the Mayflower Young Writers workshops, a SO:Write project based in Southampton. She lives in Winchester.

Joseph Scapellato


Joseph Scapellato is the author of the novel, The Made-Up Man (2019), and the short story collection, Big Lonesome (2017). He earned his MFA in Fiction at New Mexico State University and teaches in the creative writing program at Bucknell University. Joseph lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania with his wife, daughter, and dog.



There is step-free access to all areas of Free Word and a number of other facilities available to make the venue accessible. 

  • Our box office, theatre and hall are all on the ground floor with step-free access from the street
  • Meeting rooms and offices are accessible by lift from the ground floor
  • There are two accessible toilets on the ground floor
  • Hearing loops are available at the box office and the theatre (when set up theatre style) and in all meeting rooms
  • If you need to bring someone for assistance, please get in touch with us so we can provide a free ticket for them

Please talk to our team if you have specific access requirements.