Wednesday, 23 March 2016

THEMSELF: Confessions of an Open University Creative Writing student by James Kemp

3 out of 5 stars

Non-fiction, Creative Writing short articles

On Amazon UK HERE
On Goodreads HERE

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber's Review Team

This is a sort of diary, originally produced via James Kemp's blog, of some of his exercises from his course.  It includes some pieces he submitted, and a few other random ones, and poetry.  At the back there is some information on editing, self-publishing and promotion from James's own experience. 

This would be of interest to the absolute beginner, as some of the initial exercises are elementary, the sort of thing one learns at school.  It's nicely written and laid out, and James's manner is honest, pleasant and helpful.

This book skirts the edges of the various subjects it explores, as James's experience in such things as editing and marketing a book via Twitter is limited.  The information is basic, but not unhelpful, though some is incorrect (the minimum price to charge for a book on Amazon UK is 99p, not 77p, for instance). 

To sum up, this is a book for a novice or another creative writing student, and I'd describe it more as an anthology of pieces to dip into, as there are some of practical use and some pieces of fiction.


  1. Hi Terry. Would this book be helpful for a 13 yr old who likes writing stories? But she has no confidence (yet).

    1. Hi Gloria, yes, some parts would, it's got some very good basic exercises for beginners at creative writing, and also some of James's writing to show how he used what he'd learned, which I think would be a confidence builder. There is much in there that probably wouldn't be of use (like the self pub, marketing bits), but for only a couple of quid I'd say that the initial exerises would be worth you taking a punt! Another good one is Back to Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan, my review here: They're both worth the investment if your 13 year old is serious about it!

  2. Thanks Terry. Chloe is my niece and she writes some interesting (scary) stuff! Ha Ha!

  3. Always good to hear about someone starting young! :)