Today, our featured career is ‘Author’. An author is someone who writes content – this can be a book (fiction or non-fiction), article (in print, such as a newsletter, or online, such as for a blog) or any other document. There are a huge range of different media types that you can become involved in writing, from children’s storied or novels, to poetry, scripts and screen plays, or web content, and many authors will write for multiple audiences.
As an author, you will typically spend time researching the topic you will write about, selecting the subject matter and creating a narrative for your story, article or other content, visiting key sites or interviewing people, writing, editing and revising your material and marketing your material by talking about it, attending events or running workshops or private seminars. Many writers are self-employed, but writers who earn a high level will often work with businesses, agents and/or accountants to assist them.
Dr Tom Chatfield
Current Role: Author, Education and Tech Philosopher, Self-employed
Undergraduate Degree: English literature BA, University of Oxford
Brief Biography: After his undergraduate degree, Dr Tom Chatfield studied a DPhil (PhD) at St John’s College, Oxford, in Literature and Philosophy. Dr Tom Chatfield has carved a niche for himself as a self-employed Author, Educator and Tech Philosopher. Dr Chatfield has written eight non-fiction books to date, examining how we can utilise technology better, think more creatively and critically, and combine these two aspects. Dr Chatfield’s books have been published in over 30 languages!
Alongside his non-fiction collection, Dr Chatfield’s first novel (This is Gomorrah) was published worldwide in 2019, receiving: Sunday Times thriller of the month, shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger for best thriller of the year; and won France’s 2020 Prix Douglas Kennedy for the year’s best foreign thriller.
Alongside his writing and educating roles, Dr Chatfield also holds the following positions: Advisor on Digital Media and Technology, Agathos Management LLP; Non-Executive Director, Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society Limited; Non-Executive Director, Copyright Licensing Agency; Associate, PERSPECTIVE.
Writing for your audience
As a writer, you will need excellent written communication skills, and to be able to create an excellent narrative for your readers. This is true whether you are writing a fiction novel, or shorter forms of writing, such as an article for a blog or newspaper. For today’s activities, you have a choice of two sets of activities, which each focus on a style of writing.
In activity set (1), you will be guided through the steps to research and write a theatre blog, with the opportunity to watch an online performance of your choice and then write a review, giving your critique.
In activity set (2), join professional writer Ashley Hickson-Lovence for a video writing workshop, exploring how to make your prose shine by incorporating poetic devices.
Want to know more?
To find out more about working as a writer, or related careers such as journalism, take a look at the following explore-a-career pages:
- Oxford University Careers Service: Creative Arts
- National Careers Service
To explore other career options that might interest you, there are lots of tool available! We recommend starting by exploring job sectors and occupations on the following websites:
Talking to people who are currently doing a role you are interested in, organising some work experience where you can shadow someone doing this role, or reading first-hand accounts from people working in the area you are interested in can all help you find out more about a particular job!
To find out more about studying a subject at University, you can also talk to St John’s Undergraduates on The Ambassador Platform (TAP) by clicking here!
Share with us!
We would love to see any examples of work that you do during your Inspire Summer School. This can be a photo of something you have made, a picture you have drawn, some written work (e.g. the start of a speech, or the answer to a question we asked), or some thoughts you have about what you have learnt! Submit your work to us through this form.
All pupils who share their work with us by August 31 2021 will receive a certificate of participation in the summer school and will be entered into a prize draw! A £10 Amazon voucher will be awarded to each winning entry, selected randomly from all submissions. If you give us permission, your entry may be shared on Inspire Digital and our social media alongside your first name.